LAUREL -- Getting anything right nine times out of 10 can be tough, especially when it comes to winning horse races. So when Wide Country thumped her rival Maryland-breds again yesterday, marking her ninth victory in her last 10 starts, her connections set their sights on greater feats.
The filly dominated the restricted Twixt Stakes at Laurel Race Course, winning the $100,000 race by nearly eight lengths. Afterward, trainer Bob Camac said the $1 million Breeders' Cup Distaff might be on the agenda for Wide Country.
"I've always thought she was No. 2 [among 3-year-old fillies] in the country, behind Lite Light," Camac said.
The Twixt victory vindicated the last start for Wide Country, who had an eight-race win streak snapped when John's Decision passed her in the final yards of the Pearl Necklace Stakes, Wide Country's only race on turf.
"The workout before that race kind of got screwed up," said Camac. "She was one notch short. She wasn't short today."
John's Decision was one of her five victims yesterday. She rallied from last place before falling a nose short of catching Gala Goldilocks for second.
Gala Goldilocks set a slow pace, but Wide Country, ridden by Santos Chavez, was in no mood for dawdling. She quickly seized command midway through the 1 1/8 -mile race, then steadily lengthened her advantage.
"I felt good at the half-mile pole," said Chavez.
Wide Country, owned by Tommy Tanner, paid $3.60 after finishing in 1 minute, 50 1/5 seconds. The $60,000 winner's purse increased her bankroll to $667,035.
Wide Country has only one graded stakes win, that coming in the Black Eyed Susan Stakes in May. Camac said he wants another one for her, and that's why the $125,000 Cotillion Stakes (Grade II) at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 21 is a likely next start. Then, it could be back on turf, and later, possibly the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2.
Lite Light, by consensus the top 3-year-old filly in the nation, is pointing for the Breeders' Cup, as are the best older fillies and mares. Meadow Star, who scratched from the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga yesterday because of an off track, also has the 1 1/8 -mile Distaff as a goal.
When asked whether Wide Country may be better than Meadow Star, last year's national champion 2-year-old filly, Camac said: "I honestly believe that. I think she's very vulnerable at 1 1/16 miles."
NOTES: The Bernard Baruch simulcast from Saratoga is sandwiched between 2 stakes events on today's 12-race card at Laurel/Pimlico. The Rollicking Stakes precedes and the Groovy Handicap follows. . . . Mario Pino continues to lead the riders' standings. Through 28 racing days, Pino has 27 winners, 3 more than Mike Luzzi and Jo Jo Ladner. . . . With his 13th winner yesterday, Dale Capuano gained a tie with Vinnie Blengs atop the trainers' standings. King Leatherbury is one winner behind. . . . Trainer Jerry Robb and jockey Greg Hutton teamed to win 3 races yesterday, all coming for Arnold and Sylvia Heft.