Smart'N Tough makes his first win look easy

February 01, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Smart'N Tough is carrying on the legacy of his late breeder, John Merryman, and the winning bloodlines of Twixt, the colt's championship dam who is now retired.

Just a week after Merryman died, the last foal from Twixt brok his maiden at Laurel Race Course yesterday and could be heading into stakes competition.

The 3-year-old colt drew off from a field of eight other maiden and won Laurel's fifth race by five lengths.

Two races later, his stablemate, the first-time starter, Vagu Notion, won the second half of the split maiden race in almost identical time. Vague Notion, bought back for about $40,000 as a yearling at the 1991 Timonium sales, ran the seven furlongs in 1 minute, 26 1/5 seconds, a fifth of a second slower than Smart'N Tough. He is owned jointly by Merryman's daughter, Katy Voss and her partners, Bob Manfuso and Baltimore shipping executive Michael Cataneo.

"If the race comes up light, there is the possibility we will ru both colts in the Goss L. Stryker Stakes in three weeks [on Feb. 21]," Voss said. The Stryker is carded at seven furlongs for Maryland-bred 3-year-olds. Such runners as Quicken and Jest Punching could be in the lineup.

Voss said Smart'N Tough's winning race carried special meanin for her family. "It gave my mother a real boost. She was there to see the race as well as my father's sister, Josephine, and one of my sisters, Francie, who lives in Arizona."

Voss said that Smart'N Tough was so big at birth that Twixt "ha a tough time foaling. She was 21 at the time and mom decided that she wouldn't put her through that sort of agony again. So, she retired her. She's now 24 and living the life of a pensioner."

Twixt won 18 stakes and earned $619,141 before she was retire in 1975.

Five of the Merryman horses, including Smart'N Tough' 5-year-old sister, Twirlabout, will be sold Sunday at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Winter Mixed Sale at the Timonium Fairgrounds as a first step in settling Merryman's estate.

Voss watched yesterday's races from a unique vantage point She trains both Smart'N Tough and Vague Notion, but is serving a 15-day suspension because of a medication infraction.

Under a recently issued ruling by the Maryland Racin Commission, suspended trainers can attend the races, although they are banned from the backstretch and paddock.

In Voss' absence, her 30-horse string is being saddled by he assistant, Chrissy Jenkins.

"Chrissy's doing such a great job, she might end up leadin trainer while I'm gone," Voss said.

Voss has been keeping close tabs on her horses, but leaves today for a week-long California vacation to play golf and attend the Eclipse Awards dinner in Los Angeles. Her suspension is over next Monday.


Laurel general manager Jim Mango said the Super Bowl probably cost the track between $150,000 and $200,000 in handle. A crowd of 9,699 fans at Laurel and the Pimlico simulcast outlet yesterday bet $1,489,560. . . . Mango added that now that the Spectrum 2000 system is installed and operating smoothly, attention can be shifted to making final arrangements to open the state's first off-track betting parlor at the Cracked Claw restaurant near Frederick.

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