For 7th straight year, In the Curl runs, loses Perfect attendance at Million earns 4th

September 27, 1992|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

The seventh try was not the charm.

In the Curl, the only horse to compete on every Maryland Million card, settled for a dead heat for fourth place with stablemate Rollicking Dolly yesterday in the in the $100,000 State of Maryland Distaff Handicap.

The 8-year-old mare has never finished lower than fourth during her Million efforts, but she was no match for Brilliant Brass, long shot Hail Jody and Silver Tango after setting the pace for a half mile in the six-furlong --.

It was a tough go after a year's layoff for In the Curl, who ran a smashing second to Eclipse Award-winner Safely Kept in the same race last September, losing by only a half-length.

That she was running at all was a testimony to her grit. After a dull 11th in a turf stakes a week after the 1991 Million, In the Curl was injured, retired and sold by Nick Rinaldi to Milton P. Higgins III of Boston as a broodmare prospect. She is co-owned by Tom Brown.

Bred to Criminal Type, a son of Alydar and a Pimlico Special winner, she conceived twins, which she aborted.

Not in foal and healthy again, she was returned to training at Bowie under Donald Barr and returned to the races on the day that has made her a local legend.

Jockey Joe Rocco said In the Curl "ran as good as she could for a horse

off as long as she was. If she had another race under her, you've got me to beat.

"But for a horse off 10 months, it's hard to beat horses at the top of their game."

Still, In the Curl earned her seventh check, a peerless Million record, while running for her third different connection.

Brilliant Brass was shortened to six furlongs after six months of competition in route races, but it made little difference.

She came flying from next to last at the head of the stretch and went on to a length score over Hail Jody, a 14-1 shot who held on gamely for second.

"I trained her for this race like a quarter horse," Carlos Garcia said of Brilliant Brass. "And she took it in stride. I decided not to put stickers on her, because of the way she's built."

Garcia said he wants to bring Brilliant Brass back in a 1 1/8 -mile stakes races in about three weeks. "I want her to be a Maryland champion," he said.

Brilliant Brass' rider, Edgar Prado, said she "grabbed her quarter-right front" shortly after leaving the gate "and I thought maybe we had no chance. But when I asked her to run, she fired and came on strong."

The victory was the first in a Maryland Million race for owner Elaine Bassford.

Wood So, a half-length victim of Brilliant Brass at Laurel March 8, flattened out after a six-month layoff and wound up sixth.

"She didn't fire," said jockey Mario Pino. "She always needs a race, always runs better in her second start. She ran right to their heads at the quarter pole, but had nothing for the finish."

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