While Smarty Jones will attempt to win the second leg of the Triple Crown in Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), one Triple Crown winner may already have made an appearance at Pimlico. According to Maryland Jockey Club stakes coordinator Wendy Pensivy, Gustav Schickedanz' Wando is expected to run in the Argent Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT).
Wando, winner of the Canadian Triple Crown last year with scores in the Queen's Plate, Prince of Wales Stakes, and Breeders' Stakes, will tackle a probable field of eight in the $200,000 Dixie, run at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. The Dixie is the traditional precursor to the Preakness on the day's card.
Wando, a homebred by Langfuhr
out of the Woodman mare Kathie's Colleen, made his 2004 debut a winning one April 18 at Keeneland, winning an 1 1/16-miles allowance race on the turf in 1:41.84. It marked his first start since a fourth-place finish in the Indiana Derby (gr. III) at Hoosier Park last October.
In all, Wando has a 9-2-1 mark from 14 career starts for trainer Michael Keogh. He has earned $2,413,800.
Figuring to take on Wando are three trainers that have won five of the last six runnings of the Dixie. Last year's winning trainer, H. Graham Motion (Dr. Brendler) is scheduled to send out Better Talk Now. Mark Frostad who won the race in 2000 with Quiet Resolve and 2002 with Strut the Stage, has Shoal Water. William Mott sent out Paradise Creek to win the 1994 running, but has held the hot hand lately with Yagli ('98), and Hap ('01). He conditions Silver Tree for Vegso Racing Stable.
Brushwood Stables' Better Talk Now won last November's Knickerbocker Handicap (gr. IIT) at Aqueduct. Shoal Water, a Sam-Son Farm homebred gelding by Smart Strike
won the Saranac Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Saratoga last September. Silver Tree, a son of Hennessy, won last year's $500,000 Virginia Derby at 1 1/4 miles on the grass at Colonial Downs.
Others slated to run are: Dr. Kashinkow, Herculated, Man Among Men, Millennium Dragoon, and Senor Swinger. Bob and Beverly Lewis' Senor Swinger was a handy winner of a $64,300 turf allowance race at the Dixie distance at Churchill Downs on April 29.