LAUREL -- Not to be upstaged by fellow jockey Mark Johnston, Joe Rocco rode the winners of Laurel's last two races yesterday to give him three on the card for the second time in three racing days.
Rocco, who also had a triple score St. Patrick's Day, has ridden to three straight feature triumphs at the track, including yesterday's wire-to-wire victory aboard Forgotten Miss.
The multiple tone was set early on the program when Johnston captured three of the first five events over a dried-out track that produced some good times.
Johnston and Mike Luzzi were up on two winners each Tuesday and Frank Douglas and leading rider Edgar Prado both had two victories Thursday.
In yesterday's feature, a $16,000 allowance test at six furlongs, trainer Richard Hales decided to go with Rocco on Forgotten Miss, rather than Douglas, the usual jockey. Forgotten Miss responded by getting out on top and widening her margin all the way around to win by 5 1/2 lengths in 1 minute, 10 seconds.
It was her second career win in 10 starts. She broke her maiden Oct. 14 over the same track.
Rocco then took Gentle Is The Nite to the winner's circle in the ninth to complete the late daily double.
* A rumor that the opening of Pimlico Race Course's spring meet will be delayed was hot at Laurel yesterday.
But Pimlico will open as scheduled Thursday, said Damon Thayer, director of media relations.
"Some minor repair work is being done [at one of the entrances] and apparently this escalated into something much more than it was," said Thayer. "The rumor is absolutely unfounded."
The gossip had the Laurel meet being extended by some 10 days until the repairs could be completed.
Opening day at Pimlico will feature the $50,000 Politely Stakes for Maryland-bred fillies at six furlongs.
NOTES: Entries have been drawn for the one-furlong Laurel trainer/pony sprint championship, which will bring some levity to tomorrow's card. Conditioners, including former jockeys Ben Feliciano and Luigi Gino, will race the ponies between the eighth and ninth races. Chewey, with Lawrence Murray, has been established by the participants as an 8-5 favorite, followed by Jay Bar, 5-2 with Reggie Vardon, and Pal, 3-1 with William Streaker. The first three trainers across the finish line will receive a steak dinner at a local restaurant. . . . No one hit the Double Triple again yesterday and the pool carried over for the 12th time. The pool is up to $217,212.70 since last being hit March 3. . . . Horsemen were again allowed to claim 10- and 7-pound apprentice allowances for today's card. The Maryland Racing Commission recently reinstated the allowances at the request of trainers, who felt a 5-pound allowance was not enough incentive to put inexperienced jockeys on their horses.