TRIPLE CROWN RATINGS
REMARKS: The Daily Racing Form, which shocked many of its readers--and the racing Establishment--with a front-page editorial that castigated trainer Woody Stephens for Forty Niner’s improper conduct at the expense of Winning Colors in the Preakness, did something else that was just as rare after the running of the second race in the Triple Crown.
The Form revised the footnotes in its Preakness short, which is considered to be the official record of the race. The changes were in short caller Jack Wilson’s original remarks, which indicated that there was no trouble between Winning Colors and Forty Niner.
In Wilson’s original, the footnotes read this way:
” . . . Winning Colors went right after Forty Niner, raced outside that rival while prompting the pace to the far turn, was still prominent when she ducked to the inside of Risen Star soon after entering the stretch, then wasn’t good enough while continuing to lug in . . . Forty Niner showed speed from the outset, remained well out in the track while making the pace, held on well until near the stretch and gave way.”
This was the version carried by numerous Sunday newspapers that purchased use of the copyrighted short from the Form. It was the same version that the Form itself carried in Monday editions.
But on the Tuesday after the Preakness, the Form carried another Preakness short--without indicating that it had been revised or corrected--and those footnotes read this way:
” . . . Winning Colors, went right after Forty Niner, was carried out slightly by the leader leaving the far turn, brushed several times with Forty Niner while kept outside that rival through the run down the backstretch, and into the far turn, continued to vie for command until near the stretch, ducked to the outside of Risen Star soon after straightening away for the drive, then wasn’t good enough while continuing to lug in . . . Forty Niner, hustled to the front while racing well out into the track to the first turn, came out slightly into Winning Colors nearing the backstretch, brushed several times with that rival while maintaining his position near the middle of the track through the run down the backstretch and into the far turn, remained a factor until leaving the turn and gave way.”
Without the benefit of head-on video replays (which are available to the Pimlico stewards and which were shown to the press later), it was not as obvious in the running of the Preakness that Forty Niner leaned on Winning Colors most of the way. Even Wayne Lukas, Winning Colors’ trainer, was unaware that the filly and Forty Niner had made contact at least five times in the run down the backstretch.
Winning Colors not only finished much better than Forty Niner--running third to his seventh--but she also came out of the Preakness a stronger horse. She will try to add the Belmont Stakes win to her Kentucky Derby victory--and clinch a $1-million bonus for high finishes in the Triple Crown races--in New York on June 11.
There are only five starters for the Belmont, which would make it the smallest field since Affirmed out-gamed Alydar to the wire and also beat three other opponents in 1978.
Winning Colors will be joined in the Belmont by Risen Star, who won the Preakness; Brian’s Time, the second-place finisher at Pimlico; Blue Grass winner Granacus and Dynaformer, who earned a spot in the 1 1/2-mile race by winning Monday’s Jersey Derby at Garden State Park by a half-length over stablemate Tsarbaby.
Both trained by Lukas, Winning Colors and Dynaformer will run as a betting entry in the Belmont. Another possible starter is Kingpost, who ran fourth, beaten by about 3 1/2 lengths in Sunday’s Peter Pan at Belmont Park.
Cefis, Stephens’ last hope to run in the Belmont, ran himself out of consideration when he hung in the stretch of the Jersey Derby and finished third, 4 1/2 lengths behind Dynaformer.
It will almost not seem like a Belmont without Stephens, who won the race five straight times, starting in 1982.
Another Belmont candidate who dropped by the wayside is Once Wild, who was scratched out of the Peter Pan because of a bruised foot.
Once Wild would have been expected to prevent Winning Colors from gaining an easy early lead in the Belmont. His absence leaves no one to run with Winning Colors--a situation that took place in the Kentucky Derby--unless Louie Roussel, the co-owner and trainer of Risen Star, fulfills his promise to put some speed into his colt. That’s a maneuver that would please trainer John Veitch, whose Brian’s Time is a come-from-behind specialist.
Advisory panel for The Times’ Triple Crown Ratings: Lenny Hale, vice president for racing at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga; Frank (Jimmy) Kilroe, vice president for racing at Santa Anita; and Tommy Trotter, racing secretary at Gulfstream Park.
TRIPLE CROWN RATINGS
Career Horse S 1 2 3 Earnings 1.Winning Colors 8 6 1 1 $1,116,350 2.Risen Star 10 7 2 1 726,125 3.Brian’s Time 10 3 2 1 461,619 4.Forty Niner 13 7 4 0 1,021,880 5.Private Terms 9 7 0 0 759,828 6.Dynaformer 11 4 3 1 449,430 7.Digress 7 3 1 3 247,013 8.Proper Reality 7 5 0 0 429,820 9.Granacus 14 3 2 1 296,724 10.Kingpost 15 3 4 4 466,098