While horseplayers try to solve a familiar puzzle today at Pimlico Race Course, 2-year-olds will begin aiming for unforeseen riches.
The Double Triple is spiraling toward another bonanza payday. Although yesterday's third race produced 118 live tickets, the gimmick failed to fall when the 4-8-5 combination trodded home in the fifth, lifting the jackpot to nearly $150,000 for today's program.
Later today, 2-year-olds pointing for berths in the Oct. 19 Laurel Futurity will run in the $50,000-added Vanlandingham Stakes. As a one-mile turf race, the Vanlandingham was tailored to prepare juvenile colts and geldings for the tasks of two-turn grass racing; the Laurel Futurity is a 1 1/16-mile turf event.
The likely favorites in the Vanlandingham are Lucky Virginian and Saint Edward, but the race appears to be balanced.
One of eight entrants is Sweep of Daylight, a son of Broad Brush. The colt has competed just twice, barely losing once and winning once. In a field with four prior winners on grass, he will be making his turf debut.
Broad Brush, the all-time leading Maryland-bred earnings leader, has another familial connection to today's card. Patchiano, his half-sister, makes her career debut in the ninth race. Although Patchiano -- she's by Fappiano out of Hay Patcher -- had no published workouts in yesterday's Daily Racing Form, the filly could well be favored, simply because of her fashionable breeding.
NOTES: The Vanlandingham is named for the winner of the 1985 International. . . . Dick Small, who trained Broad Brush, also trains Sweep of Daylight and Patchiano. . . . To be a half-sister or half-brother to another horse, the siblings must have the same dam (mother). Horses only with the same sire (father) are not considered brother or sister. . . . The simulcast of today's Ruffian Handicap from Belmont Park shapes up as a serious test for Meadow Star, last year's 2-year-old filly champion. Meadow Star enters the Ruffian on a 2-race losing streak and may go off only as third favorite. . . . Business continues to lag at Pimlico and
inter-track partner Laurel. Despite the lure of yesterday's Double Triple carry-over, the gimmick attracted just $48,645, and the combined handle of $1,169,328 was well below the $1,456,561 posted on the corresponding 1990 date. Through 12 racing days, handle is down over 5 percent from last year. . . . The last time the Double Triple reached such heights in Maryland was last April, not July 1990, as reported here yesterday. On April 4, a total of 5 Pimlico bettors split a jackpot that had built to $414,243.