Thomas Jo could be Belmont-bound


Federico Tesio champion Thomas Jo is still a strong possibility to test Real Quiet in the Belmont Stakes after another impressive performance on Preakness Day.

"We're not 100 percent sure yet, but we're taking a good long look at it," said trainer Jim Jerkens. "He came out of his last race OK."

His last race featured a late surge up the rail under jockey Steve Hamilton to capture the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes by a half length over Nick Zito-trained Silver Launch.

Jerkens missed most of the race after "making the mistake of going inside to try to watch on TV. The TV sets were out, and it was hell getting back to the front outside. I couldn't see until Steve got him to the rail late."

Thomas Jo, a gray/roan colt by Strong Performance out of Advancette, has won four straight races and six of his past

seven. He is owned in partnership by Earl I. Mack and Team Valor, the syndicate that had Captain Bodgit.

"Barry [Irwin of Team Valor] wants him to run, but the other owner isn't sure. It goes back and forth," said Jerkens.

The trainer has no misgivings about the 1 1/2 miles Thomas Jo has to go in the final jewel of the Triple Crown.

"There's always concern about the distance," he said. "But it looks like he's got the stamina, and he runs when it counts at the end."

The Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont today will have an impact on non-Preakness starters who are prospective for the Belmont.

Besides Thomas Jo, that list includes Hanuman Highway (seventh in the Kentucky Derby), Limit Out (scheduled for the Peter Pan), Nationalore (ninth in the Derby), Raffie's Majesty (fourth in the Illinois Derby), Rubiyat (also a Peter Pan probable) and Illinois Derby winner Yarrow Brae.

Fair Hill favorite

Trainer Tom Voss, who broke his maiden in the Maryland Hunt Cup with Florida Law this spring, sends out Uncle Albie as the expected favorite in the feature tomorrow at the 30th annual Fair Hill Races.

Post time for an eight-race program is 1 p.m.

In a field of young hurdlers who have never won more than once, Uncle Albie broke through at Atlanta in a maiden race this spring.

Also in the lineup for the $25,000 Miles Valentine Novice Stakes are J. William Boniface-trained Have You Seen John, a half brother to Churchbell Chimes, and Rarity Bay, the lone 4-year-old.

Chilean-bred De Laurentis may also be a factor. He is owned by Augustin Stables, which won this race last year with Dictador.

Preakness bets down

Wagering on the 1998 Preakness dropped nearly $4 million from last year, according to figures released by the Maryland Jockey Club.

The total monies wagered on the Preakness at all sites was $22,802,134, compared with $26,602,245 in 1997.

With many tote machines at Pimlico disabled by the power outage, most of the difference was reflected in the numbers for the in-state pool and the out-of-state separate pool.

The grand total for Preakness day sagged from $41,378,705 in 1997 to $36,741,936.

Halory Hunter improving

No decision has been made on whether Halory Hunter will be retired.

The Blue Grass Stakes winner, who suffered a fracture while working for the Preakness, was scheduled to be shipped from New Bolton Medical Center in Pennsylvania to Zito's barn in New York this weekend.

"He'll spend 30 days here, then we'll decide where to send him," said Zito.

Commission reviews ledger

The regular monthly meeting of the Maryland Racing Commission will be held Tuesday at Pimlico starting at 2 p.m.

Foremost on the agenda is a review of the 1997 financial statements of the state's thoroughbred tracks.

"We're also meeting with them to determine if we can simplify and/or eliminate some regulations," said Ken Schertle, executive secretary of the commission.

Raise appeases harness side

While the Maryland Jockey Club and the state's thoroughbred horsemen and breeders try to hammer out a settlement on intertrack simulcasting, Rosecroft Raceway has been appeased.

A temporary increase in the harness horsemen's share of revenue from televised thoroughbred racing at night has removed their threat to "pull the plug" on simulcasting, as they did for nearly two months last winter.

Pimlico's week

Post times: Today, Tomorrow, Thursday-Sunday, 1 p.m.

Dark: Tuesday

Simulcast: Wednesday

Information: 410-542-9400

RF Out-of-town simulcasts: For results, scratches, call 410-792-7464.

Pub Date: 5/24/98

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