LAUREL -- Buy the Firm boosted her career bankroll to $440,178 with a three-quarter-length victory in the $75,000 Carousel Handicap at Laurel Race Course yesterday.
The daughter of Affirmed has earned virtually all of the money against fillies and mares. However, owner Thomas Mara said that if she recovers well from the Carousel, he and trainer Carlos Martin are considering another race, possibly the $100,000 Gallant Fox next weekend at Aqueduct, where she would have to run 1 5/8 miles against males.
"We claimed her for $32,500 off George Steinbrenner," said Mara, who lives in Marco Island, Fla. Mara and his wife were here to watch Buy the Firm wear down front-running Seattle Dawn in mid-stretch, then begin to draw away in the final strides.
Thirty Eight Go Go closed for second, followed by Tia Juanita, Sweet Alex, Seattle Dawn and Double Bunctious. Starfield was pulled up in mid-stretch.
"She lost her action," jockey Andrea Seefeldt said of Starfield's trip.
Jerry Bailey, who came in from New York with Martin to ride Buy the Firm, said he "made her lay closer than normal because the speed was laying closer in the previous races. She made the lead earlier than normal, and I had to keep after her."
Bailey is the hottest jockey in New York. He rode 24 stakes winners in 12 weeks ending in mid-November. Two of the stakes, the Athenia at Belmont Park and the Long Look at the Meadowlands, were with Buy the Firm.
"She's been running against the best," Martin said. "She was second to Colonial Waters in the [Grade II] Ladies Handicap and she was third to Go for Wand in the [Grade I] Beldame."
Buy the Firm, timed in 1 minute, 50 4/5 seconds for 1 1/8 miles, paid $3.80 as favorite. She is a 4-year-old.
The colt Good Scout, perhaps the best newcomer among the 2-year-olds in Maryland, made his first appearance yesterday and won the second race.
After his first start, it seemed obvious that he might be considered a Kentucky Derby prospect, and there seems little doubt that he will be nominated next month for the Triple Crown series.
Good Scout ran fast early to get the lead, then held on impressively to win by nine lengths in a fast six-furlong time of 1:10 1/5.
The colt, trained by Ben Perkins Jr., is headed for Gulfstream Park with a small Florida division of the stable.
"We'd like to get one more race into him," Perkins said, "then run him in the opening-day stakes at Gulfstream, the Spectacular Bid, for 3-year-olds.
"This colt has shown some ability. He fooled around out there in the stretch and didn't change leads," Perkins said, referring to the sequence in which a horse puts his feet down. They usually change leads, or switch the sequence of steps, when they enter the stretch.
"He didn't change leads," the trainer said. "But he's got a little bit of a shin problem that we'll have to work with."
Good Scout, a son of At the Threshold, paid $4 to win. He was ridden by Rick Wilson, who had four winners on the card.