BALTIMORE -- No one in the Preakness is openly conceding the race to overwhelming favorite Fusaichi Pegasus. Still, there's a feeling the rest of the field is merely competing for second place.
"If my horse ran his best race and finished second, I'd at least know that he did his best and ran his heart out. What more can you ask?" Joe Orseno, trainer of Red Bullet, said Thursday. "But if he does all that, I think he'll come out on top."
Red Bullet is the second choice in the early line, well ahead of Hugh Hefner, the long shot in the field at 20-1.
"I would be delighted if my horse ran second," owner Ed Nahem said. "I own the mother and the father, so for me the pot is bigger than the purse."
In other words, a strong showing by Hugh Hefner would prove more beneficial than the first prize of $650,000 or the $200,000 runner-up share.
"The dollar value of the sire goes up tremendously," said Nahem, who is enjoying his role as an underdog.
"You don't get much respect and nobody thinks you can do anything," he said. "Everyone pretty much leaves you alone."
D. Wayne Lukas, the trainer of High Yield, was made honorary postmaster of the 125th Preakness during the annual Alibi Breakfast Thursday.
"Well, it finally happened. My mother said if you don't straighten up, you'll end up on the post office wall," he said.
Lukas was asked by master of ceremonies Jim McKay to explain the 15th-place finish of High Yield in the Kentucky Derby.
"In 21 years of coming to this event, you'd think I'd pick up an alibi. But I don't have one," he said.
He expects a better performance from his horse Saturday, but conceded that winning the race will require more than just a little luck.
"We're hoping for the best. We know the odds probably are stacked against us, that this is a tough race to win," he said. "But we've come here before with less of a favorite and did all right."
Seven of the nation's top 3-year-old fillies will compete today at Pimlico in the $200,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.
Rings A Chime figures to be the favorite in the Grade 2 event, which covers 1 1/8 miles. The filly, trained by Lonnie Arterburn, won the Grade I Ashland Stakes and Keeneland in April and was second behind Secret Status in the Kentucky Oaks two weeks ago.
Rings A Chime will likely be tested by Cash Run, who won the Breeder's Cup Juvenile Fillies in November before capturing the Davona Dale and Bonnie Miss during the Gulfstream winter meeting. But she finished 13th among 14 horses in the Kentucky Oaks.
Impending Bear, unbeaten after three starts, and Case of the Blues, who has won three straight, are also considered to be contenders among the seven-horse field.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux, who won the Kentucky Derby and Pimlico Special, will ride Jostle.