Laurel cancels for strip's sake Decision to re-card saves 7 of 9 races

February 13, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Although the cancellation of yesterday's card at Laurel Race Course had some horsemen grumbling, track operator Joe De Francis said the program was called off partly to ensure "that we'd have some semblance of a good racing surface for this weekend's Sprintfest.

"It's our most important weekend of the winter," De Francis said. "After all the rain, we wanted to seal the track and have it in good shape for the Barbara Fritchie Handicap [today] and the General George Stakes on Monday.

"Besides that, the weather at 8 a.m. was awful. We re-carded yesterday's races, and seven of nine of them are back on for tomorrow and Monday. That should placate the horsemen."

No matter what shape the track is in -- whether it dries out and is fast or remains wet -- it shouldn't bother the principal runners in the Barbara Fritchie, which drew one of the strongest fields in recent years.

"My mare [Laramie Moon] can run on anything," said trainer Neil Drysdale when reached by phone in California. "She goes well in the slop. Her sire, Laramie Trail, is by Buckpasser, so a wet track won't bother her. We didn't run her in the Santa Monica Handicap [Jan. 18] not because the track was sloppy, but because it was unsafe."

Drysdale added that stomach ulcers had compromised the mare's form last summer at Del Mar. "But we treated them and now she's back in good shape," he said.

Her main opponents are the two highweights at 119 pounds -- Devil's Orchid, winner of 10 races and $592,521, and Quick Mischief, who has won 12 races and $608,544.

"Devil's Orchid is very serious, a game mare," Drysdale said.

Richard Baltas, assistant for trainer Dick Mandella, said yesterday that hind-end and feet problems had slowed Devil's Orchid last year but that she had worked well before shipping East from California.

"Depending on how she runs, she might stay here and keep running or go to Kentucky to be bred," he said.

The same applies to Quick Mischief, who arrived by van from New York yesterday afternoon.

The Glencrest Farm of the John Greathouse family in Kentucky purchased the mare about a month ago at the Keeneland Winter Sales for $197,000.

"They bought her principally to breed, but I thought she had some racing left in her," said trainer Bruce Levine. "Her former trainer, Charles Carlesimo, owned part of her. She was his main meal ticket, and he babied her. She is a multiple Grade I stakes winner, and I thought Glencrest got a bargain."

Levine immediately won the Berlo Handicap with Quick Mischief at Aqueduct and earned back $40,000 of her purchase price. She could almost pay for herself completely with a Fritchie win.

The Barbara Fritchie is her second start in the colors of Glencrest Farm, which has won two previous runnings of the race -- a division of the Barbara Fritchie in 1982 with The Wheel Turns and a victory with Spring Beauty in 1987.

Local trainer Katy Voss is trying for her fourth win in the Barbara Fritchie. She won twice with Twixt (1974-75) and last year with Wood So, who tries again today.

"It's a lot tougher race this year," Voss said. "Maybe I should have skipped it and gone in the General George on Monday."

That race, made up of male sprinters, came up light, with only seven entries and no standouts although the 1992 winner, Senor Speedy, is in the lineup.

Other entries include Ameri Valay, Mineral Wells, Flaming Emperor, Majesty's Turn, Lost Dutchman and Fast Turn, Senor Speedy's stablemate that ran at Laurel six days ago and finished third in an overnight allowance race.


Laurel Race Course wasn't the only track to cancel its card yesterday because of bad weather.

Charles Town Races called off a scheduled night card because the National Weather Service predicted evening snow showers.

Penn National got in four races, then shut down.

Aqueduct and the Meadowlands also decided not to run.

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