The owners of Gato del Sol, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, have said the horse will not run in the Preakness, but Pimlico General Manager Charles (Chick) Lang said today he's still waiting to hear it officially from co-owner Arthur Hancock III.
"Mr. Hancock told me in Louisville that he would call me after we had exchanged cards," Lang said. "I have called him but there has been no response.
"Sure, we'd love to have Gato del Sol here for the Preakness, but we already have the best 3-year-old in America on the grounds in Linkage . . . I notice that the trainer (Ed Gregson) said that he would run if the Preakness was a 16th of a mile longer, if the field was smaller, if the race was a week later and so on.
"I'm sure that trainer Ed whatshisname wears custom-tailored suits. But the Preakness is at 1 3/16 miles, the field will be made up of all eligible horses who want to run and the date has been fixed as the third Saturday in May for some time now.
"Mr. Hancock's great-grandfather bred a horse named Knight Of Ellerslie that won the Preakness in 1884. If they knew the circumstances of this race, they would turn over in their graves. And as for trainer Eddie whatshisname, if his horse should win the Belmont, there will be many a night when he will stare at the ceiling wondering why he hadn't shot for the Triple Crown. There's only one Triple Crown."
In other Preakness developments, Drop Your Drawers, a 3-year-old with solid credentials who is stabled at Ak-Sar-Ben in Nebraska, is considered a probable entrant for the race.
The names of two other probables from the West surfaced overnight. Trainer John Russell is bringing in Royal Captive from California Wednesday. Royal Captive won the Spotlight Handicap at Hollywood Park on the turf last month.
Another expected at Pimlico is Water Bank, a late-running fourth in the Derby. At the moment, there are 16 possibilities for the May 15 race, nine of them firm.