LAUREL -- The notification that North Carroll would be tough in the Mister Diz Stakes came Friday morning. Mrs. Frank Wright's charge went three furlongs in a blazing 35 2/5 seconds over the Laurel surface, a perfect primer for the $50,000 race for Maryland-bred 3-year-olds.
Yesterday, North Carroll finished his task as the even-money favorite, scoring his first stakes victory by a length over the speedy Rainbow Prospect, who held on for second by a head over Cruel Cavalier.
With Rick Wilson, the regular rider for the Benjamin Perkins Jr.-trained stable, in Florida, Michael Luzzi took North Carroll over the 6 furlongs in 1 minute, 11 seconds, equaling the stakes record set by Fighting Notion two years ago.
"He relaxed the first part of the race and when called upon at the top of the lane, finished real strong," said Luzzi, who had the only double on the card, also winning with Patient Diplomacy in the first.
"Outside post, nice easy pace. Then he fired like a good horse should."
Luzzi had ridden North Carroll once before -- to his maiden victory last August at Laurel. The son of Baederwood is 3-for-6 lifetime and never has been off the board.
Benjamin Perkins Sr., an adviser to the stable, said the group is mulling the next start for North Carroll and that it may not come in a sprint.
"We've got him nominated for the Hirsh Jacobs [six furlongs], Deputed Testamony [1 1/8 miles] and the Federico Tesio [a Grade III stakes at 1 1/8 miles]," he said. "We'll see."
NOTES: Francois Bountin, trainer of early Kentucky Derby favorite Arazi, said an announcement regarding the horse's seasonal debut will be made tomorrow. Allen Paulson, one of the horse's owners, had said Arazi's next outing would be in the one-mile Prix Omnium II at Saint Cloud in France on April 7. Bountin said: "So far we have had no problems with Arazi's schedule. He has grown during the winter and his knees [operated on in November] have given no trouble at all." Steve Cauthen will ride the horse outside America, Pat Valenzuela in this country. . . . The Laurel handle was up for the third straight day, the $1,965,145 bet exceeding the corresponding day of 1991 by nearly $130,000.