05/09/2008 11:00PM

Recapturetheglory out due to fever

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Kentucky Bear, Jamie Theriot riding, breezes five furlongs in 1:01 in the slop at Pimlico Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - There is no way to pinpoint a time that the Triple Crown scene shifts unambiguously from Churchill Downs to Pimlico. But with all that was happening on the Saturday morning between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, it was clear that the newsmakers were still hanging back in Louisville.

Most notably, Recapturetheglory spiked a fever Friday night at Churchill, and by the next afternoon, owner Ronnie Lamarque had declared him out of the Preakness, which will be run Saturday for the 133rd time at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Big Brown galloped for the first time since his crushing Derby victory on a picture-postcard morning. Macho Again, declared out of the Preakness only the day before, was back in again after breezing a half-mile in 50.80 seconds. And Racecar Rhapsody put in serious work as one of maybe a dozen would-be challengers to Big Brown by breezing five furlongs in 1:01.

Recapturetheglory, the fifth-place finisher in the Derby for Lamarque and trainer Louie Roussel, was treated with an anti-inflammatory analgesic shortly after Lara Van Deren, Roussel's assistant, came to work early Saturday and found the colt had a 102 temperature. The setback precluded the colt from training and forced cancellation of plans to van to Baltimore later that day.

"He just wasn't acting quite right," Friday night, Van Deren said early Saturday. "He's not coughing, and his lungs are clear."

Several hours later, however, Lamarque officially informed Pimlico that the colt was being withdrawn.

With Recapturetheglory out of the Preakness lineup, it looks as if this will be the first time since Citation swept the 1948 Triple Crown that only one Derby starter has run back in the Preakness.

Meanwhile, that one remaining Derby runner - Big Brown, the undefeated winner - galloped about 1 1/4 miles shortly after 8:30 a.m. Eastern, when the Churchill track reopened following the scheduled renovation break. With Michelle Nevin aboard, and with trainer Rick Dutrow looking on intently, the colt went effortlessly, leaving trackside observers as awed as ever with his majestic presence.

"God is good," said Dutrow, who was being tracked all morning by an NBC Sports camera crew gathering footage for their Preakness broadcast. "I was looking for what I saw."

Saturday was the first day since Big Brown won the 134th Derby by 4o3/4 lengths under Kent Desormeaux that Dutrow felt comfortable enough with the track surface to allow the colt to do anything more than jog in the company of a pony. Big Brown was given three days off after the Derby, then jogged the next three days because of wet track conditions.

Big Brown will continue to gallop daily through Wednesday morning, after which a charter flight will transport him and other horses to Baltimore.

Macho Again, the Derby Trial winner owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, is not definite for the Preakness, said trainer Dallas Stewart, but far more likely than when he and Terry Finley of West Point all but ruled the colt out Friday.

"We are seriously considering it," said Stewart. "It's a once in a lifetime chance, and Terry has left the decision up to me."

Racecar Rhapsody, fourth in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes in his last start, worked behind another horse when finishing strongly under exercise rider Jose Castanon. Robby Albarado, who won the Preakness last year on Curlin, has the call on Racecar Rhapsody, a Tale of the Cat colt trained by Ken McPeek.

"He's a nice horse, but he's a horse that comes from behind and needs a clean trip," said McPeek.

The only news Saturday morning at Pimlico was a breeze in the slop by Kentucky Bear, the third-place finisher in the April 12 Blue Grass Stakes. Kentucky Bear, one of four exclusions from the Derby when the 20-horse limit had to be enforced, went five furlongs in 1:01 under Jamie Theriot, who will ride him in the Preakness.

From Belmont Park in New York, where Withers Stakes winner Harlem Rocker is widely considered the most viable threat to upset Big Brown, trainer Todd Pletcher said the gray colt would work Sunday. Pletcher also said he would work his other Preakness prospect, Lexington winner Behindatthebar, on Sunday morning.

From south Florida, trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. confirmed that Chuck Lopez will retain the mount on Hey Byrn. Lopez rode Hey Byrn for the first time when the colt drew clear to win his last start, the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes on April 12 at Gulfstream Park.

The $1 million Preakness will be televised by NBC, with post time set for approximately 6:15 p.m., Eastern. Entries will be drawn Wednesday evening at the ESPN Sports Zone in downtown Baltimore.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman, David Grening, and Mike Welsch

Preakness contenders

Horse, Trainer, Jockey

Behindatthebar,T. PletcherD. Flores

Big Brown, R. Dutrow Jr., K. Desormeaux

Giant Moon, R. Schosberg, R. Dominguez

Harlem Rocker, T. Pletcher, E. Coa

Hey Byrn, E. Plesa Jr., C. Lopez

Icabad Crane, G. Motion. J. Rose

Kentucky Bear, R. Bake, J. Theriot

Macho Again, D. Stewart, undecided

Racecar Rhapsody, K. McPeek, R. Albarado

Riley Tucker, W. Mott, E. Prado

Stevil, N. Zito, J. Velazquez

Tres Borrachos, B. Greely, T. Baze

Yankee Bravo, P. Gallagher, A. Solis