Alydar went on to the main track at Pimlico yesterday shortly after 6 a.m. the skies were overcast. A light rain fell occasionally.
"He doesn't mind the slop, or any other kind of footing, but he does have one little quirk - he doesn't like the rain," trainer John Veitch said of the Kentucky Derby runnerup.
So Alydar, preparing to challenge Affirmed in Saturday's Preakness, proceed to get in and out of the rain in a hurry. The Calumet Farm colt worked six furlongs in 1:10 2/5, then continued out seven furlongs in 1:25 and the mile in 1:39 1/5.
The six-furlong time is faster than any posted during the afternoon at Pimlico's present meeting, Veitch, naturally, was pleased.
"I caught him in :12, :24, :35 3/5, :46 3/5 and :59," the young conditioner declared.
"What did you think he worked in?" Veitch asked Jorge Velasquez, the chestnut 3-year-old's regular jockey as the rider began to guide the horse back to the barn.
"I'd say 1:10 and 3," Velasquez, the replied.
"Who told you? You'd make an excellent boy," Veitch wryly suggested.
Affirmed defeated the favored Alydar by 1 1/2 lengths at Churchill Downs in a field of 11. There are only four definite starters for the Preakness.
Affirmed and Believe It arrived in Baltimore yesterday from New York. Believe It, the Derby third, and Noon Time Spender are the only two rivals certain to oppse A&A.
"Iron legend is out," a disappointed owner-trainer-breeder Victor J. Coladonato disclosed yesterday morning. "He wouldn't change leads for me. A stifle is bothering him."
Coladonato was rapidly becoming a Preakness legend. His 1954 Cadillac hearse in which he lives and sleeps already was in place next to the Preakness barn. His colt had won the Wood-lawn Stakes on Derby day and the owner was receiving national attention, because of this lifestyle.
Word also was received yesterday at Pimlico that Sensitive Prince, De Naskra and Forever Casting will not compete in the 1 3/16-mile middle event in the Triple Crown series.
Sensitive Prince, the third choice in Derby betting, faded to sixth place in Louisville. Star De Naskra ran second to Junction Sunday. Sunday in Aqueduct's Withers Mile with Forever Casting was out of the money.
A possible fifth Preakness starter is Indigo Star, trained by King Leatherbury. The owners have indicated Indigo Star will compete if the field is small.