Top sprinters dash to De Francis race

July 15, 1992|By James H. Jackson | James H. Jackson,Staff Writer

LAUREL -- Saturday's Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash, a $300,000 Grade III handicap for 3-year-olds and up over 1 1/4 miles, has attracted some of the top sprinters in the nation.

The race, which will be the feature of a 12-race card, will bcarried on ABC's Wide World of Sports and is scheduled for a 4:11 p.m. start at Laurel Race Course.

A field of 13 -- including three from California and two from Canada -- is expected to pass the entry box tomorrow.

Sunny Sunrise, who passed up the Suburban Handicap at Belmont to run here, is top-weighted with 123 pounds. Key Spirit, a Canadian sprinter, who was a $15,000 supplemental entry yesterday, is next with 119 pounds.

Sunny Sunrise, who will be ridden by Mike Luzzi on Saturday, will work out at 8:30 a.m. today.

"I'd like to see him [Sunny Sunrise] go in 35 or 36," said trainer Bud Delp. "I'm real pleased to have Luzzi riding him. Mike fits him well and he's been working him. Mike's riding well right now and he's 2-for-2 on Sunny Sunrise."

Rocco rides feature winner

Jockey Joe Rocco rode two winners at Laurel yesterday, including Pelican Pass in the featured War Censor Purse, an $18,500 allowance race at 1 1/8 miles on the turf course.

Shortstop was first out of the gate and set most of the pace into the stretch, where several horses, who were back in the pack, began to rally.

Prado is ill

Edgar Prado, the second leading jockey at Laurel, called in sick yesterday and had to be replaced on eight mounts. Luzzi, the leading rider, rode one winner yesterday -- Cullen ($4.80) in the third -- and has 13 wins for the meeting. Prado has 11 victories.

Pair top-weighted

Strike The Gold and Pleasant Tap have been assigned top weight of 119 pounds each for Saturday's $500,000 Suburban Handicap, which will be run over 1 1/4 miles at Belmont Park and simulcast to Laurel and Pimlico.

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