Saturday Morning Line at the Preakness

On-Call Vets Hoping for Safe Day

On Preakness Day 2006, Dr. Larry Bramlage and other members of the on-call veterinary team organized by the American Association of Equine Veterinarians were quick to react to the catastrophic injury to Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner.

As has been well documented, the quick action by the veterinary team played a role in keeping Barbaro stable until he could be transported to the New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

As Bramlage made the rounds of the barn area Saturday morning, he recalled the events of a year ago and was hoping that history did not repeat itself.

“Hopefully we can remember the good that Barbaro did for awareness of equine health but that we do not have a repeat of what happened to Barbaro,” Bramlage said.

The vet said Barbaro’s injury, and the subsequent efforts to save the horse, attracted attention to a problem that veterinary health professionals such as himself face on a weekly basis. While the focus is on saving horses, Bramlage said economics eventually play a role in the effort and that many owners do not have the financial resources that Roy and Gretchen Jackson expended in the effort to save Barbaro.

“It costs a lot more to treat a horse than it does a human, due to their size and economics have to be considered. A lot of owners are not in the position the Jacksons were in because they have to worry about making mortgage payments or sending kids to college.

In the end, Bramlage said there was sufficient medical technology and resources to save Barbaro but that he succumbed to laminitis, pointing out the fragility of the equine athlete.--Ron Mitchell

Walking Horses

The Pimlico track was open for training Saturday morning for only 30 minutes, from 5:30-6. With a first post of 10:30, it was necessary to have the surface open, but only for a short time.

No Preakness starters went to the track, instead walking the shedrow. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas had Flying First Class ready to go with rider up and blinkers on, but then decided to also walk on race day.

Hard Spun didn’t really need to walk because he gets in plenty of walking in his stall. But nonetheless, he was sent out to walk after rivals Street Sense and Curlin had circled in front of him.--Dan Liebman

Ruffian Flick

Journalist Bill Nack was remarking how many young people have never heard of Ruffian, the great filly who was euthanized after breaking down in a match race. Nack was on the backside handing out DVDs of the movie, which debuts the night before the Belmont on ABC.

Nack has a book on Ruffian just out and he is doing book signings at various locations.--Dan Liebman

Weather Time

At the Pimlico stakes barn Saturday morning, everyone was remarking how beautiful the weather was turning out to be. After days of various forecasts for precipitation, it was sunny and gorgeous as Preakness day dawned.

It appeared the front split and went around Baltimore, leaving a forecast for the day of 75 degrees and mostly sunny.

The attendance record was set last year, 118,402, when Barbaro broke down and the race was won by Bernardini.--Dan Liebman

 Pretty Is As Pretty Does

If you want to place a bet solely on looks, you can't go wrong with Einstein, who is being walked under the Pimlico stakes barn's shed row. His coat is officially described as dark bay or brown, but it looks almost black, and it's also sleek and shiny.

Every time Einstein starts to pass through by the middle of the barn, where there is an walkway to the other side, he stops, raises his head regally, pricks his ears, and stares outside at a small group of reporters. His eyes are bright and intelligent-looking.

Einstein is the morning line favorite in the Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT), so he's not just another pretty face. -- Deirdre B. Biles

 Klesaris Concern

Horsemen were concerned about trainer Steve Klesaris, who was involved in a bad car accident Thursday night near Delaware Park. Trainers heard that Klesaris had some plastic surgery because of lacerations on his face. He also complained of back and neck pain.--Dan Liebman

Shopping at Pimlico

One of the best things about a Triple Crown race is the shopping. If you feel the need for greed, there are T-shirts galore, polo shirts, glasses, stuffed animals, and lapel pins at Pimilico.

One of my favorites is the lapel pin with the opening starting gate and a horse behind it. For teen-agers or the teen-agers at heart, there's a tiny black silver spangled Preakness (gr. I) T-shirt. For the collectors of stuffed animals and small children, there's some so-ugly-they're cute horses with big teeth and furry nostrils that look more like warts. There's also quite a few Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) souvenirs if you forgot to stock up at Churchill Downs.

If you feel charitable, there are Barbaro bracelets that will fund equine scientific research.

If you don't clean out your pockets betting, there are plenty of other ways to get rid of your money. I'm starting to run out of cash already, and it's only 8:32 a.m.-- Deirdre B. Biles