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Baffert embarks on familiar route

Trainer Bob Baffert could be following the path taken by D. Wayne Lukas in winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness three years ago.

Baffert-trained Real Quiet won the Derby on Saturday, while his favored stablemate Indian Charlie finished third.

In 1995, Lukas won the Derby with outsider Thunder Gulch and finished third with favored Timber Country. Then Timber Country won and Thunder Gulch finished third in the Preakness.

Such a switch between Real Quiet and Indian Charlie would not be out of the question, and the two colts appear headed for the Preakness on May 16 at Pimlico in Baltimore.

"Right now I would say yes," Baffert said Sunday morning after his second consecutive Derby victory. He won last year with Silver Charm, and he has a remarkable record of two wins, a second and a third in only three Derbies.

Just like Thunder Gulch, Real Quiet toiled in the shadow of a stablemate _ until Saturday.

Kent Desormeaux put Real Quiet on the lead at the quarter pole, and the colt held on for a half-length win over Victory Gallop, who had been next-to-last in the 15-horse field with a half-mile remaining.

"You want to be in front at the eighth pole and then just stagger home, and that's what he did," Baffert said.

The previously unbeaten Indian Charlie, racing for only the fifth time, was second with an eighth-mile remaining, but he couldn't hold off Victory Gallop, who finished 2\ lengths in front of him.

"I knew Indian Charlie was in trouble at the quarter pole," Baffert said. "His heart got him home. Gary (Stevens, jockey) said any normal horse would have been beaten by 15. He fought to stay third."

Although Indian Charlie won the Santa Anita Derby _ Real Quiet was second _ some thought he might lack the seasoning for the 1\-mile Kentucky Derby. "The seasoning got him," Baffert told reporters. "You guys were right."

Baffert said he plans to ship the two colts to Pimlico the week of the Preakness.

Halory Hunter, fourth in the Derby, and fifth-place Cape Town also are being pointed to the Preakness.

Trainer Elliott Walden said he would "would make a decision about Victory Gallop in a couple of days. If we skip the Preakness, he could make other the two," he said.

The other two for the Canadian-bred colt would be the Belmont Stakes on June 6 at Belmont Park and the Queen's Plate on June 20 at Woodbine near Toronto.

The Preakness "is a very weak possibility," trainer Bill Mott said for Favorite Trick, last year's horse of the year. Second in the betting, Favorite Trick tired in the stretch and finished eighth. It was the second straight defeat for the colt, who had won his first nine starts.

Trainer Neil Howard said he doubted sixth-place Parade Ground would go to the Preakness, but that he was pointing Louisiana Derby winner Comic Strip for the race.

Kathy Walsh, trainer of Hanuman Highway, said the seventh-place finisher would skip the Preakness and be prepared for the Belmont.

None of the other Derby starters are expected to go to the Preakness.

Hot Wells, fourth in the Arkansas Derby, and Thomas Jo, winner of the Federico Tesio at Pimlico, are listed as Preakness probables.

Among a possible starter is the temperamental Coronado's Quest. The colt threw tantrums while being saddled for three races in Florida. He was a model of decorum before winning the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, but he was not entered in the Derby.

Back-to-back at the Derby

Fifteen trainers have won more than one Derby, but only six have won consecutively:

Trainer Year (Horse) Year (Horse)

Bob Baffert 1997 (Silver Charm) 1998 (Real Quiet)

Ben A. Jones 1948 (Citation) 1949 (Ponder)

Jimmy Jones 1957 (Iron Liege) 1958 (Tim Tam)

Lucien Laurin 1972 (Riva Ridge) 1973 (Secretariat)

D. Wayne Lukas 1995 (Thunder Gulch) 1996 (Grindstone)

H.J. Thompson 1932 (Burgoo King) 1933 (Brokers Tip)