Turf-loving Red Ice takes on the big guys

October 24, 1992|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

LAUREL -- She looks like a female David running against a bunch of Goliaths.

So why is Red Ice, a diminutive filly, competing against colts today in the $50,000 Japan Racing Association Handicap at Laurel Race Course?

"Where else can I go?" asked Chuck Stancer, manager of the horse and husband of the filly's owner-trainer, Sandy Stancer. "There is a spot for her tonight at the Meadowlands in a $35,000 3-year-old filly stakes. But she'd be running against Logan's Mist. Besides, I hate to ship. This is a nervous filly and I don't know how she would handle running under the lights."

Grass season is just about wrapped up on the Maryland circuit, but it is has been particularly beneficial for Red Ice.

The Stancers claimed the filly late last year in her 2-year-old season for $16,000. "I thought she'd be a cinch to win for $12,000," Stancer said. "But when I ran her back, she got buried."

Once, however, Stancer switched her to turf, Red Ice began to glow. She has made about $50,000 for the Stancers this year and runs in stakes races.

Red Ice is a noted front-runner, and her jockey, Greg Hutton, looks like he is being folded in half when he tries to slow her down going into the first turn.

Sometimes she steals away and has enough left to win. Other times, she is engulfed by the closers.

"That's the problem. She is very one-dimensional," Stancer said. "Next year, I hope she settles down and relaxes and we can get her to rate" -- slow down for the jockey.

Stancer added that it takes no mental giant to figure out that Red Ice is going to be setting the pace today.

"It's not going to help that our jockey [Greg Hutton] will be carrying four pounds overweight," Stancer said. "That means she's not getting much of a weight break from the colts."

The horses that could tire her out with their own brand of early speed, he figures, are Majesty's Turn, a big, long-striding colt, and Land Grant, who could show speed going long.

But they are going to have to be swift to match strides early with the nimble filly.

Stancer and his wife, who have made their reputation racing such stakes horses as Chieftains Miss and Real Tough, as well as scoring big last season with the sale of Hippomenes, are pragmatists when it comes to their horses.

Stancer harbors no illusions about sending Red Ice south for the winter to try the turf in Florida.

"She's not good enough," Stancer said.

Instead, he will turn her out over the winter and wait for the return of next year's turf season.

"This game is never easy," he said.

NOTES: Laurel will race Wednesday, Nov. 11, which is Veterans Day, track management announced yesterday. The track was to be dark that day. . . . Track operator Joe De Francis will meet informally with Laurel horsemen this morning in the track kitchen. It is his first of several "Backstretch Breakfasts" he has planned. "There is no set agenda," De Francis said. "I'm just going over to the kitchen to have breakfast, and hope to talk to as many people as I can." . . . De Francis was honored at a dinner last night at Morgan State University for Laurel's contributions to the school's athletic fund.

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