LAUREL -- Fortunate Lance, making his first start in nearly eight months, splashed to a 5 1/2 -length victory in yesterday's Laurel Race Course feature.
The colt contended for the early lead from his No. 2 post, then repulsed a challenge from favored Survival before pulling away through the stretch. Direct Approach rallied outside to nip Survival for second.
Fortunate Lance evidently runs well fresh: He won his first career start, then went 1-for-12 in subsequent outings, the last a distant fifth-place finish at Pimlico on April 9.
Trained by Dale Capuano, Fortunate Lance gave Edgar Prado his third winner of the 10-race program, permitting Prado to remain even with Mike Luzzi in their battle atop the Laurel jockey standings. Through 42 racing days, each has ridden 53 winners.
Yesterday's sloppy track resulted in 13 scratches from the program. It was the second straight Laurel card run in the slop.
NOTES: Survival's third-place finish marked the Maryland debut of apprentice J. R. Parsley, a new arrival from Kentucky. . . . William Furey, former chairman of the Maryland Racing Commission and horseplayer extraordinaire, was the only winner of the Double Triple yesterday. Before 20 percent federal taxes were subtracted, the bet was worth $19,996.80 to Furey. . . . Jockey Michael Hunter remained sidelined yesterday with a bruised shoulder suffered Sunday but said he hopes to return to action tomorrow. . . . Trainer Jocelyn McKeever has been fined $500 after Color Jack tested positive for an overage of Butazolidin, an anti-inflammatory analgesic, after finishing second in the third race Nov. 24.