LAUREL -- For Give Her A Hand, the 8-5 favorite in yesterday's Marshua Stakes at Laurel Race Course, running down the leader was no picnic.
Her rally fell a nose short, as Picnic Island held on to win the $43,925 race.
Picnic Island was an 18-1 outsider in the six-furlong Marshua. "I thought she was better than that," said trainer Charlie Peoples, "because she had finished right there with some of these other fillies."
The filly gained the lead from Traveling Treat in the early stretch, then drew off to an open lead with about 100 yards to go. Then, Give Her A Hand came flying, but just missed.
"My filly wasn't getting a hold of the track too well," said Matt Vigliotti, who rode Give Her A Hand. "I still thought I had a shot at the sixteenth pole. The next jump, I win."
Picnic Island, a daughter of Cure the Blues, returned $39.40 as sixth choice in a field of eight. The victory, her second in six career starts, was worth $26,355 to owner Bayard Sharp.
Joe Rocco rode the winner. "This filly is still green," he said. "She needs something to run with her. Once she got the lead by herself, her head went up and didn't know what to do. I think she'll get even better stretching out [in distance]."
Meanwhile, Peoples said Baron de Vaux, Sharp's stable star, will return to the races in April or May. "He's on the farm now, playing," he said.
* The stewards have recommended to the Maryland Racing Commission that jockey Jim Wallace be fined $1,000 "for failure to ride out his mount" in the last race Thursday.
Fines in excess of $500 must be approved by the commission.
Wallace was aboard Roger K., an 8-1 shot, in the 1 1/8 -mile race. The horse had a big lead in the late stretch; in the final yards, Wallace was not riding especially vigorously. He said he did not see late-charging Infirmative Action until it was too late, and Infirmative Action passed him in the last strides.
"The race was my worst nightmare ever," said Wallace, 28. "I looked back, saw nothing coming, and thought I'd give the horse a break.
"I guess I deserved the fine, but I sure don't make $20,000 a week."
Wallace rides almost exclusively for his father, Roy, a trainer who operates a small stable.
Last summer, Mark Johnston was fined $1,000 for a similar incident in which his mount was defeated in the final yards.