Shorter distance suits Murphy's Stem The Tide Christiana filly gives trainer 2nd stakes win in five days

November 27, 1992|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Long distance runner Stem The Tide overtook sprinters Wood So and Mixed Appeal yesterday and won the seven-furlong Straight Deal Handicap at Laurel Race Course.

It was the second stakes victory in five days for trainer Jimmy Murphy, who had won the Anne Arundel Handicap on Sunday with Avian Assembly.

The Virginia horseman said he wasn't all that concerned about dropping Stem The Tide to a shorter distance after she had been regularly competing at 1 1/8 miles.

"She's got natural speed and she runs well on a wet track," he said. Even though the strip was upgraded from "muddy" to "good" during the day, it was raining by the time the $75,000 stakes was run.

Mixed Appeal took the early lead and held onto it into the stretch. She was then caught by Wood So, who finished gamely, but couldn't withstand the late rush of Stem The Tide, who beat her by 3 1/4 lengths.

Stem The Tide is owned by Jane du Pont Lunger's Christiana Stable and was ridden by Edgar Prado. The 4-year-old daughter of Maryland stallion Proud Truth ran seven-eighths of a mile in 1 minute, 23 3/5 seconds.

Lunger said she had missed Stem The Tide's last Laurel race when the filly upset Brilliant Brass. "So I was a little superstitious about coming today," she said.

Murphy said that Stem The Tide will probably have a rematch with Brilliant Brass in the Dec. 12 Carousel Handicap. "Then after that," he said, "we'll put her away for the winter."

Lunger, who lives in Wilmington, Del., owns about 50 horses, including broodmares that she boards at farms in Pennsylvania and Kentucky. She has about 10 runners, either in training in New York with Bill Badgett or in Maryland with Henry Clark or Murphy. Christiana has been one of the state's most powerful stables for about 40 years.

"I very rarely buy fillies," she said. "But last week at Keeneland I bought the weanling half sister to Stem The Tide [for $23,000]. I had previously sold her dam [Temper The Wind] because I had problems getting her in foal."

NOTES: Laurel operator Joe De Francis stood in a tent handing out Thanksgiving pies after the last race. "It's one of the most popular things we do all year," said marketing director Lois Webster. About 10,000 pies, ordered from a Silver Spring bakery, were distributed to fans at Laurel and the Pimlico simulcast center. . . . In The Curl, the only horse to compete in all seven runnings of the Maryland Million, made it back into the winner's circle yesterday. The 8-year-old mare won the eighth race, running for a $35,000 claiming tag. "She just can't compete anymore with the likes of Mixed Appeal and Wood So," said trainer Donald Barr. Barr said owners Milton Higgins III and veterinarian Tom Bowman plan to keep racing the mare. "Who knows if she wants to be a broodmare?" Barr said. When bred, the mare has either lost her foal or failed to conceive. . . . Maryland-based 2-year-olds Secret Odds, Woods of Windsor, Departing Cloud and Come On Brian are among the 96 Early Bird nominations for the March 20 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.

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