05/09/2009 12:00AM

Tone It Down to carry the Maryland banner


It wouldn't be a Preakness without a locally based horse, and on Saturday trainer William Komlo confirmed that there will be one when he informed Pimlico officials that Tone It Down would run in the second leg of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown next Saturday.

Komlo has named former Maryland kingpin Kent Desormeaux to ride Tone It Down. Desormeaux has twice won the Preakness, including last year aboard Big Brown.

The Preakness field lost one potential starter when trainer Shug McGaughey confirmed that Conservative, the runner-up in the April 18 Lexington Stakes, would not run. Instead, Conservative will be pointed to the $100,000 Hill Prince on turf at Belmont on June 5, McGaughey said.

Thus, as of Saturday, there were 13 horses being considered for the Preakness, which can have a maximum of 14 starters. That includes Rachel Alexandra, the Kentucky Oaks winner, who is scheduled to work on Sunday or Monday, at which time her connections will confirm her status. Rachel Alexandra is not nominated to the Triple Crown and could be excluded from the Preakness field if more than 14 are entered, according to Pimlico officials, though the language in their race conditions is ambiguous.

Tone It Down, who undoubtedly will be the longest shot in the field, comes off a third-place finish in the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico on May 2. Overall, the son of Medaglia d'Oro has won 2 of 6 starts.

"Frankly, we didn't feel he gave his best effort in the Tesio because I don't think he belongs in the front, but that's where we were," the 73-year-old Komlo said from Maryland, where he won Saturday's second race at Pimlico. "This horse has always been trained to come from off the pace. What we get from his training and what we've seen in his races is the further he goes, the better he should be."

Komlo trains Tone It Down for his son-in-law Michael Francis and daughter Deborah, who race under the name M and D Stable. They purchased Tone It Down for $100,000 out of last May's auction of 2-year-olds in training at Timonium.

Komlo said he didn't take any inspiration from Mine That Bird's Derby win at odds of

50-1, which could very well be Tone It Down's price on Saturday.

"No, we go one day at a time," Komlo said. "We don't have any great aspirations, we just train and see how the horses are every day. We hope for the best and we go in prepared, like any athletic endeavor."

Komlo played college football at the University of Maryland in the 1950s. His son Jeff Komlo played quarterback in the NFL for three teams from 1979-83. Jeff Komlo was killed in an automobile accident in Greece in March while on the lam from U.S. authorities for failing to appear for sentencing on two drunken driving convictions in 2005. Another son, Drew Komlo, also played college football.

* Wet weather in New York and Kentucky forced the connections of Take the Points, Hull, and Terrain to postpone workouts scheduled for Saturday. All three were scheduled to work on Sunday.


Preakness probables

Horse Jockey Trainer Last race Finish
Big Drama J. Velazquez D. Fawkes Swale S. 2nd
Flying Private D.W. Lukas A. Garcia Kentucky Derby 19th
Friesan Fire G. Saez L. Jones Kentucky Derby 18th
General Quarters T. McCarthy J. Leparoux Kentucky Derby 10th
Hull D. Romans M. Mena Derby Trial 1st
Mine That Bird B. Woolley undecided Kentucky Derby 1st
Musket Man D. Ryan E. Coa Kentucky Derby 3rd
Papa Clem G. Stute R. Bejarano Kentucky Derby 4th
Pioneerof the Nile B. Baffert G. Gomez Kentucky Derby 2nd
Rachel Alexandra S. Asmussen C. Borel Kentucky Oaks 1st
Take the Points T. Pletcher E. Prado Santa Anita Derby 4th
Terrain A. Stall Jr. undecided Blue Grass S. 4th
Tone It Down W. Komlo K. Desormeaux Tesio S. 3rd