Encouraged by Valley Crossing's recent performances in the American Championship Racing Series, trainer Dick Small is considering two more big races for the horse.
Both are at 1 1/4 miles, which may be the preferred distance for Valley Crossing, a fast-closing second in both the shorter Pimlico Special on Preakness Day and the Nassau County Handicap Saturday on Belmont Day.
"I'm tickled to death," said Small. "For a while through the stretch it looked like he was going to win both times. A little farther yesterday might have done it. Ten furlongs could be right for him."
Under consideration are the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup, the next event in the nine-race ARCS series on July 3, and the $500,000 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park on July 4.
"A lot is going to depend on the weight assignments," said Small. "A pound or two can make a big difference, not necessarily in the next race, but the one after that."
A 2-for-2 weekend
It was a banner weekend for the team of owner Israel Cohen, trainer Dean Gaudet and jockey Clarence Ladner.
After a front-running victory in the $100,000-added Riva Ridge Stakes with Montbrook at Belmont on Saturday, they teamed up for a stakes victory with Mixed Appeal at Pimlico yesterday.
Mixed Appeal, unbeaten this year, out-dueled a game Clever Mary in a tough stretch run and won the $35,000 Grecian Flight Stakes by a nose.
It was the fourth 1993 victory for Mixed Appeal, who completed the six furlongs in one minute, 12 seconds.
Moving to Monmouth
Trainer Ben Perkins Jr. has shipped the majority of his powerful stable to Monmouth Park, including Storm Tower, who ran in the Kentucky Derby, and Woods of Windsor, a Preakness horse.
Except for a few horses he transferred to assistant Brad MacKinnon at Bowie, the entire Perkins force (40 horses trained by Ben Jr. and 24 by Ben Sr. for New Farm) is now based in New Jersey.
Laurel will offer free admission and a free program at its opening day Thursday. . . . Despite the addition of commingling and two off-track betting parlors, the handle on Maryland races was off about $68,000 yesterday from the corresponding date last year. But the local card included 12 races in 1992 compared with 10 yesterday.