LAUREL -- Wide Country put another thumping on Maryland-breds at Laurel Race Course yesterday, and afterward owner Tommy Tanner said he is eager to try open company.
"I want to run against good ones," said Tanner, a Baltimore native who lives in Wilmington, Del. "That way we'd find how good she is. And I think she's real good."
The 3-year-old filly won the $54,850 Genuine Risk Stakes by 9 1/2 lengths, marking her fifth straight victory and increasing her record to 7-for-10 and her earnings to $276,035.
There were only five rivals willing to face Wide Country in the 1 1/16-mile test. All Told and Red Tape led early, with Wide Country positioned comfortably outside them.
In the final turn, Wide Country spurted away. In the stretch, jockey Santos Chavez whipped her intermittently, but only because he "wanted her to kick off better. She wasn't fit for her last race."
Red Tape held on for second, 1 3/4 lengths in front of All Told. Probably Gone, who made a mild move in the final turn before suddenly pulling up, apparently was not injured.
Wide Country, a daughter of Magesterial (by Northern Dancer), paid $2.60 to win as the prohibitive favorite. She finished in 1 minute, 45 4/5 seconds on a fast track.
Of her seven victories, six have come in stakes -- but five have been in restricted races, most of them for Maryland-breds.
Tanner, a bowling center owner, referred future plans for his star to trainer Bob Camac, who was in Florida on business. But he alluded to such big races as the Pimlico Oaks (March 30) and the Kentucky Oaks (May 3), both open to all 3-year-old fillies.
"She's already done so much for us," Tanner said. "She's been super."
* The stewards have not made a decision on how, or whether, to penalize jockey Mark Johnston for his ride on Aw Hoss in Friday's third race. Johnston failed to put the horse to a hard drive until late in the race, in which Aw Hoss was caught in the final yards. Chief stewards Clinton P. Pitts Jr. said a decision would be made today.
Meanwhile, the stewards yesterday suspended Johnston seven days for his ride in the first race Friday. The 20-year-old Kentucky native allowed Peaceful Laughter to drift through the stretch, warranting a disqualification from first. That suspension begins today.
NOTES: McKilts is the 119-pound topweight in today's Conniver Handicap at Laurel. The 12-race program incluses the simulcast of the $200,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes from Gulfstream Park.