Ameri Valay takes 8-length Laurel win Dekova comes in second

Maryland Moon third

November 15, 1992|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

King Leatherbury said he looked at the early fractions of the Northern Dancer Stakes at Laurel Race Course yesterday, and was ready to blame his jockey Larry Reynolds for defeat.

"I saw 46 [seconds] for the half, six furlongs in 1:10 3/5," BTC Leatherbury said. "He was going too fast, too early and I thought, 'if we get beat, it's Reynolds' fault.' "

Instead, the Leatherbury-trained runner, Ameri Valay, responded with the best race of his career, drew off in the stretch after leading the entire nine furlongs and won the race in a romp.

Reynolds later told Leatherbury he knew he had "a ton of horse."

The 3-year-old grandson of Northern Dancer, by current 'hot' sire Carnivalay, equaled Fappavalley's stakes record of 1:48 4/5 and beat runner-up Dekova by 8 3/4 lengths.

Maryland Moon, a stakes winner on grass and the 3-1 favorite over Frottage in the 13-horse field, finished third.

Leatherbury originally claimed the horse last spring for $35,000 from owners Nick and Elaine Bassford of Davidsonville.

Ameri Valay immediately made the claim look good by winning the Private Terms Stakes. But he subsequently failed in four other stakes attempts, "and Ithought we just had a claimer," Leatherbury said.

"At one point he tailed off so badly I was ready to send him to the farm. But then I ran him and he turned in an encouraging race and now he's cycled back into top form."

Chick Borden, Leatherbury's chief assistant, said the horse "is hard to settle down. We found out now it's best to gallop him the morning of a race."

It has been a year to remember for the Bassfords.

They have now won 11 stakes with four different horses trained by three different trainers.

2l Their best horse, Brilliant Brass, is trained by Carlos Garcia and is considered the likely candidate to be named Maryland-bred Horse of the Year. The mare recently won her seventh 1992 stakes in the Long Look Handicap at The Meadowlands and is expected to run next in the $250,000 Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct.

Ameri Valay is now a double stakes winner. Leatherbury-trained Wait For The Lady and Festive Feathers, conditioned by Ricky Sillaman, have each won one stakes.

NOTES: Sykesville resident Rick Wilson was the riding star on yesterday's program. He won three races as well as finishing third in the Northern Dancer Stakes. . . .The $60,000 winner's share in the stakes was the biggest purse ever won by Reynolds. . . .Trainer Howard Wolfendale claimed back his old runner, Colonel Hill, for $35,000 from the Bassfords and Leatherbury in the sixth race. Leatherbury only had the horse for one race. Colonel Hill finished third. . . .Today's Devil's Bag Stakes could be a determining factor in year-end championship honors for state-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings. Secret Odds is pitted against rising newcomer Olney. It could be the last race for both horses this year. . . .Heavy rains last Thursday night officially ended grass racing at Laurel for 1992. Turf races scheduled through the weekend were switched to the main track.

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