Playing the role of Alydar this year is Bet Twice, who is owned by the Levy family of Philadelphia. Bet Twice lost the Derby by three-quarters of a length, and the Preakness by a half-length.
Warren A. "Jimmy" Croll, who trains Bet Twice, only smiled yesterday when he was asked whether he planned to call John Veitch, Alydar's trainer, for advice on how to handle being second-best.
But Bet Twice, purchased by the Levys as a $50,000 yearling, had no reason to hang his head in shame.
"I thought it was a good race. Again, the better horse won," said Croll, a native of Devon in Chester County. "They're both nice horses. Maybe now it's a question of who is the more durable."
Alysheba, who was disqualified for interference after finishing first in Keeneland Race Course's Blue Grass Stakes 10 days before the Derby, has had a slightly heavier campaign.
Saturday's Preakness at Pimlico Race Course was only Bet Twice's third race since April 4, when he ran a surprisingly dull fifth in the Florida Derby.
Croll and Levy, who decided to pass up both the Blue Grass and the Derby Trial a week before the Run for the Roses, may have a bit of an advantage going into the Belmont, a 1 1/2-mile run around Belmont Park that is known as the "Test of Champions."
"My horse is as fresh as any horse running," said Croll, who was especially pleased with the way Bet Twice cooled out from the Preakness. "He ate every oat, and that's a tremendous sign," he said.
Bet Twice went by van yesterday to Monmouth Park, Croll's base of operations through the summer and early fall. Croll said he would train Bet Twice at the Oceanport, N.J., track and perhaps ship him up to Belmont Park, on Long Island, for a workout.
After two strenuous races, Bet Twice will not need any heavy workouts in the 19 days before the Belmont. "If he isn't fit now, he isn't going to be fit," Croll said.
Croll said he believed that Bet Twice had taken his best shot at Alysheba in the Preakness, which was a tea party compared with the barroom brawling of the Derby.
At Churchill Downs, many horses were bumped - War almost was tossed over the inside rail before the first turn - and the first two finishers almost
went down at the top of the stretch when Alysheba clipped Bet Twice's heels. They also bumped twice before the finish.
But of the Preakness, Croll said, "We had no excuses in the world. We had a clean trip all the way. I thought I had a good shot of beating (Alysheba), but we didn't."
Even when Alysheba put a head in front near the 16th pole, Bet Twice and jockey Craig Perret did not call it a day. "When he headed me, Craig got into him, and he got a head in front," Croll said. "It was only in the last 50 or 60 yards that he got away."
Alysheba, the $500,000 purchase of Texas residents Dorothy and Pamela Scharbauer who is trained by Jack Van Berg, is scheduled to be shipped to New York tomorrow to prepare for his run at the Triple Crown and a $5 million payment - including purses and a bonus.
Scotty Schulhofer, trainer of third-place Preakness finisher Cryptoclearance, shipped Philip Teinowitz's colt to New York before 7 a.m. yesterday. He said the Florida Derby winner would run in the Belmont Stakes.
He also said that he expected Jose Santos to ride the colt, although he and the jockey had argued after the race about Santos' decision to take the horse to the rail at the top of the stretch.
The plans of Gulch, fourth-place finisher in the Preakness, were uncertain, but owner Peter Brant told acquaintances that he suspected that the regally bred Mr. Prospector colt was not suited to a race as long as the Belmont.
Avies Copy, third in the Derby and fifth in the Preakness, will be shipped to Garden State Park this morning to prepare for the Jersey Derby next Monday.