Sunny Sunrise is uncontested Pace-setter wins Campbell Handicap

March 29, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Sunny Sunrise got the lead.

Click.

Track announcer Dave Rodman might as well have shut off his microphone yesterday when no one challenged the Bud Delp-trained pace-setter in the early running of the John B. Campbell Handicap.

The horse led wire-to-wire at Pimlico Race Course, winning the 39th renewal of the historic handicap by four lengths over 8-5 favorite Ibex.

Anyone expecting a repeat of the Sunny Sunrise-Ameri Valay speed duel that developed last month in the Harrison Johnson Memorial at Laurel was fooled.

In that race, the two speed horses cooked each other after running rapid early fractions and set the race up for Ibex.

"[Trainer] King Leatherbury told me in the paddock before the race he was going to try to take Ameri Valay off the pace," Delp said. "His horse is eligible for a $100,000 Maryland-bred race [the Jennings Handicap] in three weeks and he didn't want to kill him today fighting for the lead."

Instead, jockey Rick Wilson was able to slow down Sunny Sunrise on the uncontested pace and get him to relax. "I didn't have to fight him, and because of the slow pace, he was able to kick in in the stretch," Wilson said.

Sunny Sunrise ran the 9 furlongs in 1 minute, 49 4/5 seconds on a muddy track. He sulks when hit by the whip, so Wilson vigorously hand-rode him to the wire.

It was the first victory for the 6-year-old gelding since he won the Campbell last spring. He is the first repeat winner of the race, which has been won in the past by such horses as Kelso, In Reality, Tosmah and Broad Brush. Sunny Sunrise is owned by Harry and Tom Meyerhoff of Spectacular Bid fame and increased his career earnings to more than $880,000.

Ameri Valay finished third, followed by Forry Cow How, Frottage, Upon My Soul and Jacksonport.

Wilson, who has been riding Sunny Sunrise all winter in morning workouts, was not able to ride him when the horse returned after a four-month layoff in the Johnson Memorial. He had a commitment to ride Storm Tower that day at Gulfstream Park in the Fountain of Youth Stakes.

Mark Johnston filled in for Wilson, who then re-claimed the mount for the Campbell.

"Mark [Johnston] rode him well," Delp said. "The horse was ready for that race, but even Bill Shoemaker or Eddie Arcaro in their prime couldn't have gotten him to win that day after he and Ameri Valay went a half-mile in 45 [seconds] and 6 furlongs in 1:10 3/5."

Delp said he was confident in the horse yesterday "after we drew the zone-hole."

Sunny Sunrise is nominated to the Pimlico Special. Delp said he might run the horse at Keeneland in the Ben Ali Handicap next month and then look for spots for him in other Midwest stakes.

NOTES: Laurel track record-setter Fighting Notion returned to the races after four months on the shelf and defeated Sticks and Bricks in a $25,000 allowance sprint. Trainer Nancy Heil said she is pointing the horse for the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Preakness Day. . . . Trainer Zeke Rolon has been suspended for 15 days after his horse, Enrico Roberto, tested positive for caffeine after winning the fifth race at Laurel on March 19. . . . Up-and-coming 3-year-old Mr. Tooth, trained by former Maryland blacksmith Bunky Schultz, was missing from the lineup yesterday in the Tampa Bay Derby. The horse ran a temperature and was not entered according to Butch Gore, Daily Racing Form chart caller at Tampa. Schultz is expected to ship his 14-horse string to Pimlico to race in Maryland this summer. . . . Officials of Local 27 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union will count ballots tomorrow at the UFCW headquarters in Baltimore to see if the membership has agreed to contract modifications concerning the start of multiple-signal simulcasts from out-of-state tracks. About 400 employees -- mutuels workers as well as security and admissions personnel -- are expected to vote.

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