LAUREL -- Robert Sangster's colt Haymaker, a $150,000 purchase two months ago, won the $150,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship at Laurel Race Course yesterday.
Trainer Carlos Garcia said he hadn't planned to run the horse, but changed his mind when Colonel Hill, a strong pre-race favorite, worked out in preparation for the race.
"We watched him work seven-eighths [of a mile]," Garcia said. "He was drunk [tiring badly] the last part of it, and I said we had to try him."
Haymaker, with Marco Castaneda aboard, won over Colonel Hill, the 7-10 choice, by 7 3/4 lengths. Third was A Call to Rise, trailed by Pretty Amusing, Valley Crossing, Axial Rift, A Step to Go, One Two Punch, North Round Table and Murray's Ruler.
Haymaker paid $12.60 for a 1 1/16-mile trip in 1 minute, 45 seconds.
Sangster, who is from the Isle of Man off the east coast of England, and his Irish partners have spent millions in the world yearling markets in the past decade. Most of the purchases have vTC been in quest of top offspring of the late Maryland stallion Northern Dancer, whose sons and daughters have excelled in European racing.
So it was unusual that Sangster won yesterday's race with a Maryland-bred bought privately as a 2-year-old.
Haymaker started his career for the Ross Valley Farm of Mr. and Mrs. Eleanor Sparenberg, but two months ago, David Lambert, Sangster's manager in charge of buying horses in the United States, bought Haymaker.
"It's by coincidence that we're a part of Maryland racing," Lambert said. "Robert is always in the market for a good horse. I came here to look at this colt and liked the way he was being taken care of, so we decided to keep the horse here."
Lambert was encouraged to buy Haymaker by Joe Brocklebank, a former Maryland jockey working as a bloodstock agent in New York.
Haymaker is by Sparenberg's stallion Two Punch, who is by Mr. Prospector.
Haymaker scored easily over Colonel Hill, who rallied slightly but finished a dull second in his first start at a distance such as the Maryland Juvenile Championship.
Jockey Mike Luzzi could offer no excuse for Colonel Hill, Victor Divivo's colt.
Howard Wolfendale, trainer of Colonel Hill, sent out Special Ruler to win the fourth race, extending what is believed to be one of the most unusual winning streaks in racing history. Special Ruler is owned by Rocco J. DeMilio, whose four-horse stable has won 10 consecutive starts.
"It's a record of some sort, I guess," DeMilio said. "We just don't know to what extent. A guy from the Racing Form called after the ninth in a row and said they don't keep records of consecutive winners by an owner."