LAUREL -- Special Kell held off rallies from Token Dance and Super Style to win the $49,150 Very Subtle Breeders' Cup Handicap at Laurel Race Course yesterday.
The 4-year-old filly, fifth choice in a field of seven, posted the second upset in as many stakes during the weekend at Laurel. On Saturday, Wide Country's eight-race winning streak ended when John's Decision passed her for a half-length victory in the $75,000 Pearl Necklace Stakes.
Mike Luzzi, aboard Special Kell, was unsure his mount had won the six-furlong turf race. But when someone suggested he should dismount and not await results of a photo, he scowled.
"It was real close," he said.
The print showed Special Kell, who led all the way before Token Dance drew even with a sixteenth-mile left, winning by about two inches over Token Dance, a New York invader. Super Style was a neck behind them in third.
Special Kell won for a $50,000 claiming price in her last start, but several factors convinced her Laurel-based trainer, Ron Cartwright, to try her in stakes company. Most notable was her willingness to win -- she is now 5-for-7 lifetime -- and a preference for grass in her pedigree.
Special Kell paid $19.80 to win after finishing in 1 minute, 9 2/5 seconds over a firm turf course.
Burt Bacharach, noted songwriter and composer, attended the races yesterday. He presented the winning trophy to owner Larry Johnson.
NOTES: Little Bold John registered his 34th career victory when winning a $27,000 allowance race at Laurel yesterday. . . . Saturday's $300,000 Frank De Francis Memorial Dash is down to 6 horses. Zig n' Zag, 1 of 7 pre-entered horses, finished third in the Long Branch Stakes yesterday at Monmouth Park. And Diablo, scratched from the Tom Fool Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday, was not pre-entered. Supplementary nominations to the race are not permitted. . . . Super Cholo, the Maryland-bred champion 2-year-old of 1989, has been retired because of nagging injuries.