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127TH Preakness Stakes

By BRANT JAMES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 12, 2002

WHEN/WHERE: 6:04 p.m. Saturday; Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Md.

TV: Ch. 8.

THE FIELD: A maximum of 14. The top seven colts are determined by earnings in graded stakes, the next four by overall earnings except for restricted races, the last three by overall earnings. The field, as of today, would be Kentucky-Derby winner War Emblem, Harlan's Holiday, Booklet, Proud Citizen, Medaglia d'Oro, Easyfromthegitgo (first criteria); Equality, Sunday Break, Crimson Hero, U S S Tinosa (second criteria); and Magic Weisner, Menacing Dennis and Straight Gin (third criteria). Table Limit and Shah Jehan are being considered but do not qualify.

TOP STORY LINE: Can War Emblem do it again? Yes, the race is shorter (1 3/16 miles to the Kentucky Derby's 1 1/4), which might play into his front-running style, but the field will not let him run off. Plenty of speed horses, like Fountain of Youth-winner and Florida-bred Booklet, will be eager to challenge early.

ALMOST TOP STORY LINE: Will Sunday Break get his chance? Kept out of the Kentucky Derby because of too few graded earnings, Neil Drysdale's late-comer appears a lock for the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

BY THE NUMBERS: 40: The stall reserved for the Kentucky Derby winner in the Preakness stakes barn. 7: Starts for War Emblem's trainer, Bob Baffert, in the Preakness. 3: Wins for Baffert. 1999: Last time the Kentucky Derby winner (Charismatic) won the Preakness.

SIMULCAST OUTLETS: Derby Lane will simulcast and offer wagering. Gates open at 10 a.m.

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