Derby Champ Going To Preakness

Thursday, May 11th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BALTIMORE (AP) — Trainer Neil Drysdale plans to visit Pimlico this weekend, with his Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus expected to follow in the middle of next week.

The colt will have his final workout at Churchill Downs for the Preakness on May 20, and, Drysdale said, ``We plan to ship him on Wednesday.''

As for his visit to Pimlico, Drysdale said Thursday on a conference call that he had not been to the track for a long time and that he wanted to inspect the stable area and racing surface.

``I'm not looking to find fault,'' Drysdale said. ``I just like to know the track where I'm racing.''

Also on the conference call was trainer Joe Orseno, who will saddle Red Bullet for the Preakness after holding him out of the Derby. Red Bullet finished second to Fusaichi Pegasus by 4 1/2 lengths in the Wood Memorial April 15 at Aqueduct.

``In my heart I believe he can win this race,'' Orseno said. ``If he proves me wrong, there's nothing I can do about it.''

Red Bullet was vanned to Pimlico from Belmont Park on Thursday. Also arriving was High Yield, another of what could be from eight to 11 starters for the 1 3-16-mile second race of the Triple Crown.

``He's in excellent shape, but he was excellent before the Derby,'' said trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who was baffled by the Blue Grass Stakes winner's 15th place finish in the Derby. ``I just felt so good about him before the Derby, but it didn't materialize.''

The first Preakness starter to arrive at Pimlico was Hal's Hope, the Florida Derby winner, who finished last in the Blue Grass, then ran 16th in the Derby.

Like Lukas, Harold Rose expected better from his horse in the Derby. Hal's Hope held the lead for nearly half the race before fading.

Hal's Hope sustained cuts on his left foreleg, but his 88-year-old owner-trainer said, ``It's healed, I don't think it's going to bother him,''

``He galloped well this morning, nice and comfortable,'' said jockey Roger Velez, who admitted that he got caught up in the frantic pace of the Derby.