LAUREL -- For all he had done since shipping his stable of
well-bred runners to Maryland last year, trainer Ben Perkins Jr. had not won a stakes race in the state.
Until yesterday, that is, when Hero's Hurrah defeated Molly Bolt by a length in the $45,000 Francis Scott Key Handicap at Laurel Race Course.
With a .34 winning percentage last year, Perkins was the leader in that category among Maryland trainers.
"But we didn't run many horses in stakes, and when we did they didn't run too well," he said.
Hero's Hurrah is Perkins' top candidate -- and probably the chief local threat -- for the $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap, to be run at Laurel Feb. 16. Victory in the Key Handicap was the sixth in her past seven starts.