For Coronado's Quest, the pendulum may be swinging toward the Preakness.
Even though his trainer, Shug McGaughey, and owner, Stuart S. Janney III, said yesterday they still haven't decided whether to run the colt Saturday in the second leg of the Triple Crown, signs are pointing Pimlico's way.
One, McGaughey worked the colt six furlongs in the slop Friday at Belmont Park. What could that have been except a Preakness work?
Two, while McGaughey was at Pimlico yesterday to saddle Draw for the Pimlico Special, he checked the lay of the land, perhaps considering saddling options for Coronado's Quest.
At Gulfstream Park, he saddled the colt in the comfort of the tunnel leading from the track to the paddock. Before some races, Coronado's Quest has frozen on the way to the track and resisted his jockey's mount.
"I took a walk and took a look," McGaughey said. "Now I've just got to sort of sleep on it for a night. I mean, we'd love to come. It's just that I don't want to make a mistake. It's really been a hard decision for me to make."
And the decision is his, he said, not Janney's.
"He's left it completely up to me," McGaughey said. "He sure hasn't given me a nudge one way or the other. He never even mentioned it today."
McGaughey said he hoped to have a decision by this morning.
Waiting anxiously for that decision is Elliott Walden, trainer of Kentucky Derby runner-up Victory Gallop.
The day after the Derby, Walden said he would probably skip the Preakness and run in the Belmont. But yesterday, because Victory Gallop is doing so well, Walden said: "We're looking at whether Coronado's Quest decides to run -- and a few other things."
He said they'd probably decide tomorrow.
Assuming Classic Cat's crack in his right rear hoof is OK, he will be sent by van today from Keeneland to Pimlico, joining early arrivals Hot Wells and Halory Hunter.
With an eye toward Pimlico
The horses listed as possible or probable for the May 16 Preakness, with Kentucky Derby finish in parentheses:
Probable ............... Possible
Cape Town (5th) ........ Basic Trainee (15th)
Classic Cat ............ Black Cash
Halory Hunter (4th) .... Chilito (11th)
Hot Wells .............. Coronado's Quest
Indian Charlie (3rd) ... Monk's Falcon
Real Quiet (1st) ....... Spartan Cat
........................ Victory Gallop
Pub Date: 5/10/98