LAUREL -- A racing adage says there are horses for courses. For that, chalk players at Laurel Race Course yesterday were not especially thankful.
Serape, ridden by Rick Wilson, lifted her record at Laurel to 3-for-3 with a rallying win in the Straight Deal Handicap, the ninth race, feature event on the 10-race Thanksgiving Day program. Left in her wake was Devilish Touch, the 7-10 favorite in a field of seven fillies and mares.
"She broke well over this track before," said Henrietta Alexander, trainer of the 3-year-old filly. "My mother wanted to see just what kind of horse we had, so I brought her down here [from Delaware Park] to run."
The trainer is the daughter of owner Helen Alexander Groves, heiress to the King Ranch fortune. King was a powerhouse stable in the 1940s through 1950s and even won the Triple Crown with Assault in 1946.
Serape, which means "outer garment worn by Spanish Americans," stalked all the pace set by Capp the Power, then Devilish Touch, before surging to the front with less than a furlong remaining.
"She wanted to go a little earlier than I wanted," said Wilson, who had her tucked in on the rail, just behind the leaders. "I waited for Marco [Castaneda, on Devilish Touch] to go on and create an opening for me, but his filly never really got away from us. But things worked out all right."
Wilson guided Serape inside a tiring Devilish Touch, and the daughter of Fappiano edged away to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Wait For the Lady, who rallied outside after angling off the rail. Devilish Touch was another 1 1/2 lengths behind in third.
In two previous Laurel starts, both allowance races, Serape drew off to easy victories. In the Straight Deal, which marked her first stakes attempt, she paid $11.60 to win after completing seven furlongs in 1 minute, 23 2/5 seconds over a fast track.
In supporting races, three horses added to records of varying incredulity.
Rollodka won the seventh race, marking the 29th victory of a 120-race career. The 11-year-old gelding defeated $8,500 claimers with his usual stretch surge.
In the eighth race, Memorable Sal finished fourth, marking the 10th time he has not finished in the money. In his other 10 career starts, Memorable Sal won.
And after winning the 10th race, Miracle Wood is just $4,148 from hitting the $500,000 career earnings mark. The 8-year-old gelding posted a workmanlike score over $5,000 claiming company.
A combined crowd of 11,590 at Laurel and the Pimlico intertrack outlet bet $1,671,578, well below the $1,897,898 wagered on the 1990 Thanksgiving program.
NOTES: Through 38 racing days, Edgar Prado leads Mike Luzzi, 44-42, atop the jockeys' standings. . . . Allen Stacy and Marco Castaneda, former Maryland regulars, were back to ride in the Straight Deal. Stacy, in Kentucky, and Castaneda, in Northern California, both said they are satisfied in their new surroundings.