LAUREL -- Worldly Possession is one of the 15 horses Jim McGreevy trains at the Fair Hill Training Center, where the wood-chip training track invariably produces slow workout times.
Yesterday, the filly proved that slow in the a.m. doesn't mean slow in the p.m. She set a course record at Laurel Race Course when winning the seventh race, a six-furlong turf event.
"We were hoping she would like the turf," McGreevy said of Worldly Possession, who was making her initial attempt on the grass.
Worldly Possession, a 3-year-old daughter of Valid Appeal, finished in 1 minute, 8 1/5 seconds, shaving one-fifth of a second off the mark set in 1987 by Tropical Whip.
"Fair Hill is an ideal place to train," said McGreevy, 46. "Research on surfaces throughout the world found that wood chips are among the safest for training, and horses that train legitimately on them tend to run well on turf. I can also pick my spots from five or six tracks in the East, and there's no racing secretary urging me to stay at my home track."
Worldly Possession never had been worse than second in five prior starts, but virtually no one, including McGreevy, expected a record in the $18,000 allowance race. But when the filly held a big lead past the "first" finish line -- six-furlong turf races at Laurel go an extra 1/16-mile past the regular wire to a second wire -- en route to a 6 1/2 -length triumph, McGreevy said, he told a friend, "Now watch this."
"She was just gliding over it," said jockey Rick Wilson.
One race after her victory, Surely Six improved his record to 2-for-2. The 2-year-old colt went off at 1-10 odds, making him the heaviest favorite at a Maryland thoroughbred track since Private Terms won the Damascus Handicap at Laurel on Aug. 13, 1989, and paid $2.20.
NOTES: Weekend simulcasts from Saratoga to Laurel/Pimlico: The A Phenomenon today, the Whitney tomorrow and the Ballerina on Sunday. . . . Baron de Vaux makes his first start since Oct. 27 in tomorrow's Find Handicap at Laurel. The 4-year-old colt heads a field of eight in the 1 1/8 -mile turf race. . . . With 4 winners yesterday, Wilson moved to within 2 of Mario Pino, who through 21 racing days leads a crowded jockeys' race. Pino, with 19 winners, leads Jo Jo Ladner (18), Mike Luzzi (18), Wilson (17) and Edgar Prado (15). . . . Pino is just 3 winners away from the 2,500-victory mark. . . . Laurel has released nominations for the 5-race Turf Festival on Oct. 19-20. A total of 989 are eligible to the races, including 136 to the Budweiser International. . . . Coin Collector, Goldminer's Dream and Reputed Testamony have all been sidelined with various injuries. . . . The Timonium Fairgrounds track opened for training yesterday. GM Max Mosner said the track surface has been renovated in preparation for the 10-day meet that begins Aug. 24.