Harbour Club brings Krone to Distaff

June 19, 1992|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Instead, bet on it.

That could be wagering advice for some of the big races of 1992.

Dr Devious was a $2 million birthday present from Jenny Craig to her husband, Sidney, and won the English Derby.

Harbour Club, third choice in tomorrow's $250,000 Pimlico Distaff at Pimlico Race Course, was a wedding present to Marilyn

Seltzer, from her husband, Ed.

But it's taken some time for Mrs. Seltzer's gift to increase in value.

Now a 5-year-old, the daughter of leading stallion Danzig, sire of this year's Preakness winner, Pine Bluff, is just now having her best year on the racetrack.

"She's been plagued with bad feet and bad ankles and until now her career has kind of been on hold," trainer Tommy Skiffington said yesterday from his stable headquarters at Belmont Park. "I've thought all along she was a better horse on the dirt. But I've kept her on the grass until this year, because I didn't think she'd stay sound running hard on the dirt."

In her last two starts, Harbour Club has finished second in two Grade I races, the Shuvee and Hempstead handicaps, to Missy's Mirage at Belmont Park.

Missy's Mirage, as well as other current distaff stars such as Paseana and Dance Smartly, have skipped Pimlico's race, which leaves it without a big name in the eight-horse lineup.

But Skiffington has got his big-name jockey, Julie Krone, giving up a day of riding at Belmont Park, to come to Pimlico.

Krone is the leading rider at Belmont and could become the first woman jockey to top the standings at a race meet at a New York track. Last Saturday, she rode four winners at Belmont, including Plenty of Grace in the New York Handicap.

"Julie's on the verge of taking her career to another level," Skiffington said. "She's becoming a money rider and a factor in big stakes. She suits my style. I hate to see one of my horses on the lead. I like a sit-still jockey who rides with a long rein."

That's only natural since Skiffington was that kind of rider when he was a three-time national steeplechase jockey champion during the 1970s.

He rarely comes to Maryland to race "because I know how tough it is there. I have great respect for Maryland horsemen. I hate to run against Carlos Garcia [trainer of Brilliant Brass] in the Pimlico Distaff. He knows where to place his horses and what they're worth."

Skiffington has won two runnings of the Dixie Handicap at Pimlico with Akabir in 1987 and Kadial in 1988.

NOTES: Pimlico management is expected to hold a news conference either today or tomorrow to announce purse increases for the upcoming Laurel meet, which starts July 2. Management also is expected to announce they will begin paying purse money to every starter in every race, excluding stakes. . . . Wilderness Song, the Pimlico Distaff favorite, arrived from Canada yesterday.

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