LAUREL -- Richard Small usually doesn't waste his time recalling the good ol' days. Then again, it's hard for him to forget what he once had.
"It's hard to get a horse as good as Broad Brush," he said, invoking the name of the all-time Maryland-bred earner. "There may be no such thing because he was just such a great horse."
From 1985 to 1987, Small trained Broad Brush to win $2,656,793 and such important races as the Wood Memorial and Santa Anita Handicap. Whether Broad Brush, now an 8-year-old stallion in Kentucky, has passed his talent to his offspring remains an unknown, but a fraction of the answer should come today in the 10th race, $150,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship at Laurel Race Course.
Sticks and Bricks, a colt from Broad Brush's first crop, is the likely favorite in the 1 1/16-mile race, one that should prove decisive in year-end honors among state-bred juveniles. Small trains Sticks and Bricks -- and Sweep of Daylight, the probable second choice. The horses run uncoupled in the betting because of the state statute that allows horses of separate ownership to do so in stakes events.
"You don't know what to expect from a good racehorse as a stallion," said Small, a former Green Beret. "People said about Secretariat, 'Well, he's a bad stallion compared to how he was as a racehorse.' Well, yeah -- what horse wouldn't be?"
Sticks and Bricks, who has the undesirable No. 9 post in a 10-horse field, "is a quick little horse, real tough, a real muscular little fellow," said Small. "I don't think he'll have much trouble from there."
Sticks and Bricks won the seven-furlong Devil's Bag Stakes on Nov. 17; today's race marks his first try at a distance. Sweep of Daylight has already become a seasoned router, with his last race, a 1/16-mile allowance at Belmont Park, resulting in a seven-length victory.
"I was going to run Sweep of Daylight in New York again [in the $100,000 Nashua Stakes], but he got a bad post and that race was a little stronger," said Small. "Plus, the purse is smaller and it's 200 miles away."
After today, only six stakes remain in Maryland for the year. Yesterday, the track released the stakes schedule for the Jan. 1-March 22 segment of its winter meet, with the Feb. 17 Winter SprintFest highlighting the season.
NOTES: Robert E. Meyerhoff, Small's principal client and still part-owner of Broad Brush, owns Sticks and Bricks. Sally M. Gibson owns Sweep of Daylight. . . . Small won the Maryland Juvenile Championship in 1986 with Hay Halo, Broad Brush's half-brother. Bug Eyed Betty, a filly also trained by Small, lost the 1985 renewal by the narrowest of margins to Miracle Wood. . . . Heir Apparent, ridden by Helman Pulido, led throughout in beating 4 others in yesterday's $25,000 Laurel feature. Temper Time, the odds-on favorite, settled for second. . . . Apprentice James Parsley wasted little time in getting his first win in Maryland. Parsley won yesterday's fifth race aboard Panchan, just his fifth mount since arriving from Kentucky early this week. . . . Mike Luzzi rode 2 winners yesterday, giving him a 58-55 edge over Edgar Prado atop the jockey standings. . . . The Heavenly Cause Stakes, highlight of tomorrow's card, drew just 5 Maryland-bred 2-year-old fillies.