- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Psst. There’s a sure thing Friday at Pimlico Race Course. A match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral. Seabiscuit should win easily. After all, he did it once already.

A re-enactment of the 1938 Pimlico Special, considered one of racing’s more historic moments, matches Seabiscuit vs. War Admiral. Fueled by interest surrounding the best-selling “Seabiscuit: An American Legend,” which inspired the forthcoming movie “Seabiscuit,” Pimlico officials decided to recreate the race shortly before the latest running of the $600,000 Special.

“I think the re-enactment is a wonderful idea,” said District author Laura Hillenbrand, whose Seabiscuit book has spent two years on the bestseller list. “Pimlico looks very much as it did in 1938, and it will be a thrill for fans to see the horses recreate what was one of the most spectacular horse races ever run. It will give fans a sense of what it was like to see the epic match in person.”

Seabiscuit beat War Admiral handily, with no one else even daring to enter for third-place purse money. War Admiral was the 1937 Horse of the Year after taking the Triple Crown and the Special, but Seabiscuit won the 1938 title after beating his rival.

Jockey Walter Cullum will ride the Seabiscuit impersonator, while jockey Frank Douglas is aboard the faux War Admiral. Track announcer Dave Rodman will re-enact Clem McCarthy’s famed radio call.

Fans who witnessed the 1938 race will be part of the winner’s circle ceremony. Recently retired jockey Chris McCarron, whose Hall of Fame career began in Maryland, will sign Seabiscuit collectibles in the grandstand.

Blazing saddles

Saturday’s 128th Preakness Stakes figures to be a speed duel after two entrants posted the fastest workouts at their tracks yesterday.

Ten Cents a Shine covered a half-mile in 46 seconds, while stablemate Scrimshaw finished in 48 seconds at Churchill Downs, the first and third fastest of 42 workouts at that distance.

Cherokee’s Boy posted the fastest half-mile work at Bowie Training Center in 47 1/5 seconds.

“He did it easy, and that’s the kind of work we were looking for,” trainer Gary Capuano said. “Everything is a go for Saturday, and everyone involved is gearing up for the big day.”

Foufa’s Warrior delivered the fastest half-mile work on Monday at Laurel Park in 47 1/5 seconds.

“I think I’m probably more excited to be running in the Preakness than I would be to run in the [Kentucky] Derby,” trainer Lawrence Murray said. “I think the horse is feeling it, too. … I don’t usually work horses that fast, but [jockey] Ramon [Dominguez] let him do it all on his own, and he did it very easy.”

Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide worked five-eighths mile in 59 1/5 seconds at Belmont Park, which normally reserved trainer Barclay Tagg labeled “very, very good.” Champali covered five-eighths mile in 1:00 3/5 at Churchill.

Alysweep was withdrawn shortly after covering five-eighths mile in 1:01 at Belmont. Trainer Patrick Reynolds said the colt is suffering from a low blood count.

Mr. Versatile

Four-time Preakness winning trainer Bob Baffert is switching Senor Swinger back to the dirt for the Preakness after winning a Grade 3 grass stakes May 2 at Churchill. Senor Swinger won two dirt races before losing two stakes before the turf victory. He worked five-eighths mile in 1:02 on Monday at Santa Anita Park.

“We know he loves the turf, but we’re also hoping he can deliver a special effort on the dirt,” Baffert said. “Every horse I have brought to Baltimore for the Preakness has had a different style from all the rest, and this individual is also distinct. A number of them have found their own way to win, and with a little racing luck this horse has the ability to do the same.”

Baffert is also weighing the Preakness or Sir Barton Stakes for During.

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