No one has bred more Maryland stakes winners this year than Robert Meyerhoff.
The number reached five yesterday when Meyerhoff's Broad Brush filly, Broad Gains, came from 18 lengths off the pace and won the $125,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship at Laurel Race Course.
It was the second straight win in the state-bred filly race for Meyerhoff. His Star Minister won last year. Previously, in 1986, a Meyerhoff colt, Hay Halo, won the division for colts and geldings.
Both of those other Meyerhoff runners were named Maryland-bred champions, but the verdict could still be out on Broad Gains.
Carnirainbow, the favorite yesterday, had won four straight sprint stakes, but couldn't withstand the explosive late charge of Meyerhoff's horse. Still, she ran a game race, finishing second, 2 1/4 lengths behind Broad Gains and a head in front of Winka.
The outcome might have been different without the speedy presence of Cormorant's Flight. That filly dominated the pace, setting rapid enough early fractions. Greg Hutton on Carnirainbow could not take the lead away from her until the deep stretch.
Carnirainbow won that confrontation. But she was too tired in her first start at 1 1/16th miles, Hutton said, to thwart the dynamic rally by Broad Gains.
Clarence "Jo Jo" Ladner, who rode Speakerphone in the Preakness this year (finishing last), rode Broad Gains. He had not won a stakes since Speakerphone's victory in the Colin Stakes at Belmont Park in early June.
"With a closer like Broad Gains, you just have to sit and wait and hope the speed horses come back [tire]," Ladner said. "You have to hope the race sets up for you, and that's what happened."
Ladner picked up the mount on Broad Gains in a curious way.
He had gone to Philadelphia Park to ride a horse for trainer Rocco Belmonte. Dick Small, trainer of Broad Gains, had entered the filly there for her first career start at 1 mile, 70 yards. Small had named Tony Black, a Philadelphia jockey, to ride her. But when Black couldn't ride, Small gave the mount to Ladner simply because he was there.
Broad Gains won and Small kept Ladner on her when he ran her back in a prep for the Juvenile Championship a couple of weeks ago at Laurel. Ladner also won that race.
Neither Meyerhoff nor Small were at Laurel yesterday. Both men were in New York, watching the performance of Valley Crossing, who finished third, but was moved up to second after the ZTC disqualification of Lost Mountain, in the Grade I Brooklyn Handicap at Aqueduct Race Course.
Ladner said Small had left no specific instructions "except to keep riding her the same way I always do."
Meyerhoff's other 1992 Maryland-bred stakes winners are Sticks And Bricks, Frottage, Star Minister and Valley Crossing.
NOTES: The Pimlico Special might have gotten a boost with the recent arrival in this country of European classics winner St. Jovite. The 3-year-old son of Pleasant Colony, owned by Virginia Kraft Payson, arrived from Ireland last week and is headquartered at Payson Park in Florida. St. Jovite might return to race in Europe, but if he stays in this country, Mrs. Payson said she will point him for the Pimlico Special. . . .Christopher Grove, 23-year-old son of veteran jockey Phil Grove, won the Amateur Flat Riders race at Laurel yesterday. The younger Grove is a student at Frederick Community College. . . .Maryland breeder Howard Bender, owner of Secret Odds, purchased a mare out of the Paul Mellon Dispersal last weekend at Keeneland. Bender purchased the 8-year-old In Reality mare, Christmas Cove, for $87,000.