Actor hopes his filly has right stuff Shepard debuts with Lila Wanblee

April 17, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

There will a bit of a Hollywood presence today at Old Hilltop.

Sam Shepard, a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and actor who has had roles in such movies as "Crimes of the Heart," "The Right Stuff," "Steel Magnolias" and "Country" is making his debut as a Maryland racehorse owner.

Shepard's 3-year-old filly, Lila Wanblee, makes her first start in the third race, an event for maiden fillies and mares that carries a $15,500 purse.

Charlie Hadry, Shepard's trainer, said he has had the daughter of Capote in his barn for about two months and expects the filly to run well.

"She acts like she can run, although she might need a race [to gain experience]. She looks things over pretty good. But she should run good," Hadry said. "There are quite a few other first-time starters in the race and they all seem to have some ability."

Hadry said Shepard lives in Scottsville, Va., (near Charlottesville) and contacted him initially by telephone.

"I think I was recommended by Felix Neusch," he said. Neusch operates a training center in the Charlottesville area where Lila Wanblee received her early conditioning.

Hadry said Shepard personally delivered the horse to his barn at Laurel Race Course in a trailer and expects the actor to attend today's race.

"He's just an ordinary guy," Hadry said. "He'll probably be here wearing his cowboy boots."

Pimlico's leading jockey, Edgar Prado, has the mount on Lila Wanblee.

Jockey juggling

There have been a few riding realignments in today's $100,000 Jennings Handicap for older Maryland-bred horses.

Edgar Prado rides the favorite, Ameri Valay, for the first time, replacing Larry Reynolds.

Trainer King Leatherbury said the switch came at the request of the horse's owners, Nick and Elaine Bassford.

"They had good luck with Prado when he rode their mare Brilliant Brass last year and wanted the change," Leatherbury said.

Reynolds replaces Mike Luzzi on Jennings contender, Forry Cow How.

Luzzi took off the Ron Cartwright-trained gelding to ride Timely Warning for his grandfather, Buddy Raines.

Miscellaneous

Voting on revisions to their contract by employees at Pimlico/Laurel starts at 8:30 a.m and continues today through 12:30 p.m. Track workers that are members of Local 27 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union are re-voting on provisions concerning taking bets on full-card simulcasts from out-of-state tracks. The first vote two weeks ago was declared invalid. . . . Alan Foreman, attorney for S. Bonsal White, said that his client has accepted settlement from Pimlico management after the electrocution of his horse, Fox Brush, in the starting gate on April 1. White was compensated $25,000 for the value of the horse. The track paid White an additional $2,500 for purses that the horse might have won, but White is donating that money to the Backstretch Assistance Fund. Foreman said he is also donating his legal fee to the same fund, which assists backstretch workers who are dealing with drug and alcohol abuse.

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