Lucky Virginian drew off from six rivals turning for home and posted a 2 1/2 -length victory in the $44,675 Jet Pilot Stakes at Pimlico Race Course yesterday.
Mike Luzzi rode the 2-year-old colt for owner Buckland Farm and trainer Ross Pearce.
"He just cruised home," Luzzi said.
Lucky Virginian led from the start of the 5-furlong turf event, with Older But Smarter in closest pursuit. Into the stretch, Lucky Virginian pulled away while Coin Collector, the 9-10 favorite, rallied inside of Older But Smarter.
While Lucky Virginian continued unabated on the lead, Coin Collector gained slightly -- but before finishing second, he drifted out badly on Older But Smarter. After a stewards' inquiry and an objection by Andrea Seefeldt, who rode Older But Smarter, Coin Collector was disqualified to fourth.
"He was all over the place," said Joe Rocco, who rode Coin Collector, a Charles Town-based colt who had won two of three previous starts. "He ran a good race considering he didn't handle [the turf]."
The stewards' decision gave second place to Skinman and third place to Older But Smarter. Rounding out the field were Runaway Apache, Speakerphone and Preferred Status. The last two finishers were the only first-time starters in the field.
The Jet Pilot serves as a preview of the $300,000 Laurel Futurity, which is scheduled for Oct. 19 on the Laurel Race Course turf.
Buckland Farm, a reputable Virginia stable that has owned and bred many standout horses such as 1981 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Pleasant Colony, also bred Lucky Virginian.
"What I'm really pointing for is the Laurel Futurity," said Pearce.
The triumph was the second in four career starts for Lucky Virginian, a son of Saratoga Six. His prior win came in a maiden race at Delaware Park, so the $26,805 winner's share was easily a career best.
NOTES: Thirty Eight Carat, scratched as a likely favorite from the Jet Pilot, is entered in today's Maryland Nursery but may not run because an approved regulation permitting the bleeder medication, Lasix, for 2-year-olds is still not in effect. The colt is 2-for-2 when receiving Lasix elsewhere. . . . The Jet Pilot victory ended a riding triple for Luzzi and puts him in a tie for the lead atop the riders' standings. Luzzi, Rocco and Seefeldt have ridden 4 winners apiece in the first 3 days of the current meet. . . . Exotic wagering on today's Maryland Million card: Triples on races 1, 6, 7, 9, 11; daily doubles on races 3-4 and 10-11; double triple on races 4 and 6; and pick three on races 5-6-7. . . . Valay Maid, the top Maryland-bred 3-year-old filly last year and a graded stakes winner this year, has been retired because of injury.