Friendly rivals go to post for 10th time

HORSE RACING NOTEBOOK

April 05, 1992|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Mention a great racehorse rivalry and immediately you think of Affirmed and Alydar or Easy Goer and Sunday Silence.

But there is a kind of homespun rivalry going on at opposite sides of the track at Pimlico Race Course.

It involves two local horses -- Gala Spinaway, stabled in Barn on the "new barn" side of the backstretch with the 20-horse string of his trainer, Bernie Bond; and Valley Crossing, in the familiar Barn L of his trainer, Dick Small, on the "old barn" side.

The two 4-year-olds meet for the 10th time Sunday in th $100,000 John B. Campbell Handicap. However, it won't be a match race. Sunny Sunrise is also in the expected lineup and worked well (five-eighths in 59 3/5 seconds) at Pimlico on Friday.

So far, Valley Crossing has beaten Gala Spinaway in five of thei previous nine starts, although Gala Spinaway has earned more money and won more stakes.

Don't expect this rivalry to get too heated.

For one thing, Small says Bond "is one of my favorite people."

Small regularly gives Gala Spinaway a lift in his van, even whe the two horses are competing away from Pimlico in the same race.

Even though the horses compete for thousands of dollars i prize money, Small says the big loser so far is Matt McCarron, son of Gala Spinaway's regular jockey, Gregg McCarron.

"Matt's lost a lot of breakfasts betting on Gala Spinaway," Smal said.

Gala Spinaway won the Harrison E. Johnson Handicap Annapolis, Northern Dancer and Humphrey Finney stakes, beating Valley Crossing each time.

Valley Crossing beat Gala Spinaway in their last start, in th Jennings Handicap at Laurel, plus in the Native Dancer Handicap and Pennsylvania Derby. He finished ahead of Gala Spinaway in their first meeting last summer in the Governor's Cup at Pimlico and in an overnight handicap at Laurel Oct. 19. But in those two races, neither horse finished first or second.

The horses are opposites.

Gala Spinaway is smaller with tactical speed and is tough t work around.

"I don't go in his stall to look at his legs unless he's tied to th wall," said Graham Motion, Bond's assistant trainer.

Valley Crossing is a larger, rangier horse, a classic staying typ with a kinder disposition.

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Hall of Famer: Bill Passmore, a steward at Pimlico, has been inducted into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame. Passmore won more than 3,000 races as a jockey.

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Hopefuls: An additional 17 3-year-olds were nominated to the Triple Crown at the late closing date of April 1, bringing the number of 1992 nominees to 406, 29 more than in 1991.

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Disappointing: The big loser last weekend on the Kentucky Derby trail was Alydeed, who bled and finished third in the What a Pleasure Stakes at Calder Race Course.

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Vet news: About 20 percent of the large animals treated at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa., come from Maryland.

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