LAUREL -- Wide Country surged to the front entering the stretch at Laurel Race Course yesterday and went on to win by 4 1/2 lengths over the rallying Ritchie Trail.
In winning the $150,000 Maryland Juvenile Fillies Championship in an upset of heavily favored Gala Goldilocks, Wide Country probably wrapped up the 1990 championship for Maryland-bred 2-year-old fillies.
The title will come after year-end voting, but considering her triumph yesterday, experts could offer no other contenders.
Wide Country also provided profit for the first time for owner Tommy Tanner of Wilmington, Del., who paid $50,000 for the filly last winter.
Before yesterday, the chestnut daughter of Magesterial had earned $47,340 in five races including one stakes victory. She picked up $90,000 yesterday in the1 1/16-mile Championship race and made everyone connected with her happy.
Even Diana Carlson said she was happy. Carlson, who bred Wide Country, had sold her for $8,500 as a yearling.
The filly then went through a process called "pinhooking," meaning she was bought for the purpose of resale.
The pinhooking was performed by Shanbally Acres, which named her Wide Country, then sent her through the 2-year-old in-training sale at Ocala, Fla., where she was sold again for $50,000.
"I gave her away," Carlson said yesterday referring to the sale at Timonium.
"The market is so bad these days that you can't get your money on these horses. I'm just glad when any one of them wins."
It was the first time Wide Country had run farther than seven furlongs. She was timed yesterday in 1 minute, 44 seconds and paid $15.40 as second choice in the field of seven fillies.
She had been fourth when Gala Goldilocks won the seven-furlong What A Summer Stakes by seven lengths here Nov. 6.
Wide Country seemed to have no excuse in that loss, but trainer Bobby Camac said yesterday in the winner's circle, "She was rank and she wasn't ready for a deep track the last time she came down here."
But with the What A Summer to get her accustomed to Laurel and her recent move here with the rest of Camac's stable as more or less permanent, Wide Country was well-prepared for the longer race.
With Santos Chavez aboard, Wide Country waited in third place while Gala Goldilocks and Nicki battled it out on the front end. Gala Goldilocks won that battle but lost the war.
Following the winner and Ritchie Trail came Gala Goldilocks, The Knight's Queen, Indian Anthem, Miss Alethia and Nicki.
Gregg McCarron, rider of the favorite, offered no excuse. "That filly ran by us," he said.
But Danny Wright, aboard Nicki, was disappointed. "She didn't relax and she got caught up in a speed duel [with Gala Goldilocks]," he said. "It was just exactly what we didn't want to happen."
Chavez, who is Wide Country's regular rider, said: "My filly ran well off the pace. I followed the pace and went outside. Turning for home, she exploded."
Chavez is one of the smaller jockeys campaigning on the Eastern Seaboard. Tanner said that his silks were so large that they didn't fit the rider and he was given a set of unfamiliar colors.
"They've got some green and white in them," Tanner said, "but mine are nothing like that."