Rosalind Cole, breeder and part owner of Preakness long shot Kandaly, arrived in Baltimore yesterday brandishing a broken wrist and some words of warning.
"Don't make me into a media darling," she said. "I usually run from the press and let Ronnie sing them songs."
"Ronnie" is one of Cole's horse-owning partners, Ron Lamarque, who bought half-interest in Kandaly a couple of months ago along with his trainer, Louie Roussel III.
"Roz," as she likes to be called, is a New York literary agent who said she represents gossip columnist/author Cindy Adams, who writes books about such subjects as Jolie Gabor, mother of the Gabor sisters, and Lee Strasberg. Adams has produced a more serious tome lately, dealing with the life of the late deposed Indonesian dictator, President Sukarno.
It was when she was running late keeping an appointment with Adams at the Russian Tea Room months ago that Cole tripped over her own shoelaces and broke her wrist.
Cole bought her first horse "over lunch in Ireland years ago," she said. She was there on business, representing author Brendan Behan. The horse, "just a baby at the time," Cole said, turned out to be Kanduit, dam of Kandaly.
After racing Kanduit in Ireland and the United States, Cole retired the mare and bred her. She only produced moderate winners until Kandaly came along.
Cole had the horse in New Orleans with trainer Niall O'Callaghan, who also trains Kentucky Derby starter Smilin Singin Sam.
"There was a little bit of a conflict there," Cole said. "I asked him, 'How can you handle both colts?' "
After Kandaly beat one of Roussel's better runners, Clev Er Irish, Roussel expressed interest in buying the horse. Cole sold half-interest in her treasured Alydar-Kanduit colt to Lamarque, the flamboyant New Orleans car dealer and wanna-be rock 'n' roll singer, and Roussel, who won the Preakness in 1988 with Risen Star, right before the horse won the Louisiana Derby.
"I wouldn't have sold half-interest in this horse to anyone but them," Cole said. "Louie is such a sweet man, and Ronnie is great fun. I liked the idea that they had had Risen Star and knew what they were doing in the Triple Crown races."
It was at the Keeneland, Ky., horse sales years ago that Cole first met Roussel.
"I was there with the love of my life, Col. Gene Ryan," she said. "He was the first fighter pilot to fly into Berlin after the war."
She met Ryan after her husband, Carlton Cole -- also a literary agent, whose best-known book, she said, was Diana Barrymore's Too Much Too Soon -- had died.
"We traveled the world together," Cole said about Ryan. "He was soft-spoken with a little bit of an English accent. He liked Louie when we met him at the sales because he is soft-spoken, and a little shy, too."
Ryan, died 1 1/2 years ago, Cole said, "but I feel he's here in spirit, cheering this horse on to win."
Yesterday, Cole posed in the Preakness barn for a picture with Kandaly and said how much she liked being in Baltimore.
"I was here about 30 years ago," she said. "But the only thing I remember are the little white steps."
L She came, she added, traveling light, bringing only one bag.
"It's like the little car in the circus," she said. "In it I have six changes of clothes, including an evening gown.
"I'm a little eccentric," she said, "a little different."
She said she admires Lamarque's singing. It was he who burst into song in the Preakness winner's circle after Risen Star's victory and recorded a new song before the Derby this year, changing the lyrics of Manfred Mann's "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" to "Go Kandaly Go."
Cole said that before she was a literary agent she sang professionally.
On her way back to the hotel after visiting Kandaly yesterday, she burst into the song "A Good Man is Hard To Find."
She might change the words, she thought aloud, to "A Good Horse Is Hard To Find." And wouldn't it be a kick, she added, to sing it tonight at the Triple Crown Ball?
RACE AT A GLANCE
When: Saturday, 5:32 p.m. post time
Where: Pimlico Race Course
Distance: 1 3/16 miles
Weight: 126 pounds
TV: Channels 13, 7, 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m.
Radio: WBAL (1090 AM)
Gates open: 8:30 a.m.
Tickets: Infield -- $15 in advance, $20 at gate; admission to grandstand -- $12 at gate. Reserved seating sold out.