LAUREL -- Fields for the upcoming International Turf Festival will be full of proven winners, but none will bring a record to Laurel Race Course to match Timeless Times'.
The 2-year-old has won 16 races in England this year, a remarkable feat for any horse -- and virtually unheard of for a juvenile.
The colt is a probable starter in Saturday's Laurel Futurity, which is part of the five-race Festival to be conducted this weekend.
Looks like he's definitely going to come," trainer William O'Gorman said yesterday from England. The colt is scheduled to arrive Wednesday with about 18 other European runners scheduled to compete in the Turf Festival.
Horses in Europe generally are raced more lightly than their American counterparts, so Timeless Times' record of 16 victories from 20 starts is especially astounding. He has finished second three times and third once.
Gorman, who has gained a sizable following in England for his unconventional methods, said the colt "has tremendous constitution and great enthusiasm. When he has a very hard race, which he has had on numerous occasions, he bounces back very quickly. He's been able to run on consecutive days and doesn't get perturbed about what happens to him."
Timeless Times, a Kentucky-bred, was a $15,000 September yearling purchase at Keeneland. He was sired by Timeless Moment, a son of Damascus.
There are no comprehensive racing statistics in categories such as "Most wins, 2-year-olds, one year, the world," although the American Racing Manual lists Citation's 19 wins in 1948 as the most by a horse in one year in North America. Timeless Times' victory total is believed to be among the best in history by a 2-year-old.
Timeless Times figures to have difficulty with the classier opposition in the Futurity for these reasons: The colt never has run in a graded stakes, and he never has run as far as the 1 1/16-mile Futurity distance.
The 17 wins, that's what we're trying to do," O'Gorman said. "I know this would be a fairy story if he would go there [Laurel] and do it."
There was a peculiar designation on the Laurel program for yesterday's sixth race: "Change Of Equipment -- Friendly Pete -- No Whip."
sulks from the whip," said owner and trainer Robert Beall after the race. "He doesn't like it at all."
CAfter riding Friendly Pete to an easy victory, Mike Luzzi said: "It feels kind of funny. You're used to slamming and hitting on them, but he ran up to them pretty easily on his own today. If I had !! gotten desperate, I don't know what I'd have done."
The triumph was bittersweet for Beall, who had bred, owned and trained the 7-year-old gelding -- Friendly Pete was claimed for $20,000 by Jim Casey.
Luzzi won three races on the 12-race program, including the co-featured 10th aboard Gallant Linda. Through 20 days, he has 21 victories, second-best in the standings and two more than Joe Rocco, who booted in two yesterday.
Leading rider Edgar Prado, who has 31 winners, rode one winner from seven mounts.