LAUREL -- Albert Delgado kept looking over his shoulder yesterday during the Squan Song Handicap.
But he didn't see much coming.
He tried to slow his mount, the speedy stakes mare Wait For The Lady, as much as he could.
"She was getting away from me, but I didn't want to choke her. I tried to relax her as much as I could," he said.
The 5-year-old chestnut mare with the big white blaze ran from the opposition, leading at every call and winning by 1 3/4 lengths over Etiquette. She slowed a bit in the stretch, but Delgado kept after her with the whip.
It was the first stakes win this year for both Delgado and trainer King Leatherbury.
"The fractions were too fast," Leatherbury said. But he wasn't complaining. The mare was rank early, running the first half-mile in 46 4/5 seconds and the six furlongs in 1 minute, 11 2/5 seconds. She was timed in the nine furlongs in 1:51, a second slower than the stakes record she set when she won the race last year.
"This is a very impressive mare when she works in the morning," Leatherbury said. "You'd think the way she trains, she was one of the best horses in the country. She's that impressive. Really, she should have more money by her name."
The victory yesterday increased her career earnings to $344,915, not bad for a $25,000 claim.
Leatherbury said he believes two of his recent claims, Ameri Valay and Makin' Money, also might develop into stakes runners.
NOTES: Services for owner-trainer Joseph D. McCaffrey will be at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the Eline funeral establishment in Reisterstown. McCaffrey owned the Windy Valley restaurant and pony ride concession at Greenspring Station. Among his winning racehorses was Tri-State Futurity winner J.D. May. . . . Rollicking, a former Maryland-leading sire, has been pensioned at age 25 at Glade Valley Farm near Frederick. . . . Laurel conducts its first ever "Town Meeting" at 11 a.m. today in the clubhouse theater. Fans are invited to tell track operator Joe De Francis and his staff how customer service can be improved. . . . Gregg McCarron, recovering from an injured ankle, hopes to ride Gala Spinaway next weekend in the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Handicap.