STANTON, Del. -- No big-name horses or jockeys were attracted to this year's Delaware Handicap.
But there was still enough of a mystique connected to the grand old race at Delaware Park yesterday to lure Maryland's best older filly or mare into the lineup.
Brilliant Brass, second choice to Midwest invader Bungalow, merely galloped along behind a slow pace set by long shot Train Robbery in the 10-furlong stakes.
Then, when called on in the stretch by Edgar Prado, she scored a 1 3/4 -length win over Train Robbery, a D. Wayne Lukas-trained daughter of Alydar who had not won a stakes in more than a year. The winning time was 2 minutes, 3 seconds, more than three seconds off the track record.
Risen Colony finished third, followed by Bungalow, who was outrun in the six-horse field and could only muster enough of a rally to finish fourth.
Trainer Carlos Garcia opted for the more prestigious Delaware race over the Davona Dale Handicap yesterday at Laurel Race Course when the Delaware Handicap came up so light. Stakes coordinator John Curran had hoped to attract Pimlico Distaff winner Wilderness Song as well as Allen Paulson's West Coast-based filly, Fowda. But neither started.
"It's a Grade II stakes at three times the money [of the Davona Dale] and some of the great mares of all time have won it," Garcia said, explaining why he chose the Delaware Handicap, which has been won by such illustrious racing mares as Susan's Girl, Flower Bowl, Parlo and Relaxing.
Prado rode in three of the first six races at Laurel. He hopped off second-place finisher Woodsy in the sixth race, and his agent, Steve Rushing, "drove 80 miles an hour to get me here," Prado said.
Brilliant Brass earned $93,780, the biggest payday in her three-year career, and increased her total earnings to $447,051.
Brilliant Brass had won four Maryland stakes this year. It was the eighth 1992 stakes win for her owners, Nick and Elaine Bassford of Davidsonville, who have also won added-money races with Festive Feathers, Ameri Valay and Wait For The Lady.
"This was a much better result than last year," Elaine Bassford said. "We ran Wait For the Lady in the Delaware Handicap, and she finished last."
Delaware officials moved the race from a Saturday to a Sunday to attract more simulcast outlets.
On-track handle and attendance suffered, dropping from 10,811 fans betting $1,124,161 in 1991 to 7,867 patrons wagering $781,855.
However, the number of simulcast outlets doubled. Officials estimate $1.7 million was bet on the race at a dozen tracks from Hollywood Park to Woodbine Race Course, representing about a $700,000 increase from last year.
Delaware Park itself is becoming something of a major simulcast center. The track stays open seven days a week, offering live racing on five days. Complete Laurel cards are available, and the track plans to start simulcasting entire Belmont Park cards this week.
Post times are not staggered. The races are shown simultaneously on different television screens.
"That way, our fans can pick and choose which race they want to bet on," said John E. Mooney, the track's general manager.
Yesterday, Delaware fans bet $134,029 on Laurel's races.
"It cuts into the betting on our live races about 15 to 20 percent, but it's still too early to see what the long-term effect will be," Mooney said.