LAUREL -- If pace truly makes the race, things could not have worked out better for Mymet in the Carousel Handicap yesterday.
Over a Laurel Race Course surface that tends to become tiring in its drying-out process, a field of 10 fillies and mares zipped through quick early fractions. "I wanted to lay closer, but she couldn't keep up," said Joe Rocco, who rode Mymet for owner Oliver Goldsmith and trainer Ron Cartwright.
While Capp the Power, part of a Goldsmith stable entry, helped push Gala Goldilocks, Mymet labored nearly 20 lengths behind after a half-mile on a track officially rated sloppy.
"Turning for home, I knew Mark [Johnston, on John's Decision] had plenty of horse," said Rocco. "The others were staggering."
Mymet and John's Decision roared past the field in mid-stretch, with Mymet winning by a half-length. John's Decision had nearly four lengths on favored Wait For the Lady, who stalked the early pace but was helpless to fend off the top two.
Mymet paid $27.40 after completing 1 1/8 miles in a slow 1 minute, 54 3/5 seconds. After early splits of 22 4/5 seconds and 46 2/5, it took a dawdling 1:08 1/5 to finish the final five furlongs.
A racetrack maxim holds that if front-runners run too fast in the early stages, they will inevitably tire, setting things up for come-from-behind horses. Some trainers will even use a early-going "rabbit" for a stronger, late-running stablemate. Greg Hutton was asked whether such was the case yesterday when he was given instructions before mounting Capp the Power. "No," he said.
The Carousel was the fifth victory in a Maryland stakes for Cartwright this year, tying him for second with three others on the circuit. Bob Camac, who trains multiple winner Wide Country, leads with seven. All of Cartwright's wins have come with different runners.
NOTES: Graceful Lil broke down at the quarter-pole while leading the sixth race. Trainer Howard Wolfendale said the 3-year-old shattered her left front sesamoid bone (ankle), "but we're going to try to save her [life]," he told a track official. No jockeys or other horses were injured. . . . Edgar Prado rode 2 winners, giving him a 64-63 lead over Mike Luzzi in their seesaw battle atop the jockey standings. . . . Nine 3-year-olds are set for today's Annapolis Handicap.