Flay Time's win no photo finish

December 06, 1991|By Marty McGee | Marty McGee,Sun Staff Correspondent

LAUREL -- Flay Time stopped in the middle of the winner's circle, ready for a photo session. The filly had just finished a wire-to-wire victory in yesterday's third race at Laurel Race Course, but something was amiss.

"All the way back to the wall!" track photographer Jim McCue instructed Talbot J. Albert III.

Albert, 63, had to be forgiven for his unfamiliarity with the surroundings. "I haven't trained horses since 1984," said Albert, a stockbroker by trade. Flay Time is the first winner for the owner/trainer at a major Maryland track "since at least that long," he said.

But not as long as for jockey Jimmy Thornton, who rode the filly.

"Last time I won at a major track was 1979, right here," said Thornton, 51. "I quit riding in 1980. This felt good."

The return to the saddle has hardly resulted in glory for Thornton, a Baltimore native who rode regularly at Charles Town in the 1970s. Into yesterday's card, he was 0-for-48 this year at Laurel and Pimlico, although he did win one race each at Timonium and Marlboro.

Three races later, a jockey more acclimated to the winner's circle rode in. Mike Luzzi, aboard Izata Fact, had his picture taken for the 54th time at the 43-day-old meeting, allowing him to keep pace with Edgar Prado atop the jockey standings. By day's end, after winning twice more, Luzzi had a 56-54 lead.

Izata Fact, a 2-year-old making his career debut, won the six-furlong maiden race despite some trouble. He was away a bit slowly, and then Luzzi had to check him at the quarter pole as they rushed to the leaders along the rail. After angling between horses for the drive, Izata Fact surged to a 2 1/4 -length victory.

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