On a day when maidens were running six furlongs in 1 minute, 16 3/5 seconds, Brilliant Brass made the dull track sparkle at Pimlico Race Course.
The 5-year-old gray mare swept from mid-pack at the top of the stretch, rallied in the middle of the stretch and won the $100,000 Snow Goose Handicap in near stakes-record time.
Brilliant Brass ran the nine furlongs in 1 minute, 50 1/5 seconds, a fifth of a second off the stakes record set by Thirty Eight Go Go in 1989.
Edgar Prado, who passed up Pie In Your Eye in the Cherry Hill Mile to ride Brilliant Brass, said he committed himself to the mare 10 days ago. "If I took off, I was afraid [winning trainer] Carlos Garcia would be mad at me. So I decided to stay here. I hope I can get the mount back sometime on Pie In Your Eye [who won the Cherry Hill Mile]."
Brilliant Brass, who upset Wood So in the Conniver Handicap in her previous start, is the first graded stakes winner this year for Nick and Elaine Bassford. Otherwise, they have been on a roll, winning five 1992 Maryland stakes with four different horses.
Their mare, Wait For The Lady, who won the Snow Goose a year ago, finished second this year after a smart ride by Albert Delgado. Delgado let Greg Hutton on Spanish Dior set the pace and rated Wait For The Lady. He seemed to have plenty of horse left when he overtook Spanish Dior on the turn. But then Wait For The Lady was overhauled by Brilliant Brass.
Nick Bassford said that although Brilliant Brass has spent most of her career in sprints, he had urged Garcia to stretch her out to a distance. "I also think she'll love the grass," Bassford said.
The Bassfords will be back on Saturday when Ameri Valay runs in the Deputed Testamony Stakes.
NOTES: The House of Delegates is expected to pass its version of the off-track betting bill tomorrow night. The House has changed the Senate version, adding new taxes only to wagers made at OTB facilities. The Senate Finance Committee also is considering the measure. . . . A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Queen Anne's Marina in Stevensonville for exercise rider Glenn Murray. The 31-year-old backstretch worker died in his room at Pimlico last week of a brain aneurysm. His ashes will be spread on the Chesapeake Bay. . . . INA Farms, the Japanese owners who assumed control of Bert Firestone's Catoctin Stud in Waterford, Va., auctioned off everything from a starting gate to tack room drapes at the farm yesterday. The barns have been boarded up and cattle now roam the fields which were once home to Kentucky Derby winner Genuine Risk. The Firestones have relocated to the former Newstead Farm near Upperville.