04/29/2005 12:00AM

Preakness draw changed


The Maryland Jockey Club has tweaked the manner in which the post-position draw is conducted for the Preakness Stakes, hoping to add some suspense.

While the draw will still be conducted in two parts, connections of the horses running in the Preakness will not have advance notice of their selection order.

After entries are made on the morning of May 18, Pimlico's racing secretary, Georganne Hale, will randomly draw an identification number for each horse, but she will not reveal that number until the draw is held at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore at 5 p.m. Eastern. The draw is shown live by ESPN.

At the televised draw, Hale will draw a number, and at that time the name of the horse that corresponds to that number will be revealed. The trainer, or authorized agent, then will have 60 seconds to select a post position.

In the past two years, the selection order for picking posts was done and announced in the press box before the televised show.

"The last two years when we did the draw at noon time, to me [the draw] was basically anticlimactic," said Lou Raffetto, the COO of the Maryland Jockey Club. "We talked about this with TV and thought this was the way to create suspense."