Social Retiree captures Fort McHenry Handicap

Laurel notebook

July 12, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

Six weeks ago when Social Retiree ran in the 1 1/2 -mile Riggs Handicap at Pimlico, he led at the eighth pole, then tired down the lane and finished sixth.

Yesterday, in the $75,000 Fort McHenry Handicap at Laurel, the 6-year-old gelding had plenty of energy left at the finish.

With jockey Walter Guerra rating him just off a blistering pace, Social Retiree overtook Square Cut to win by 1 1/2 lengths in 1 minute, 58 4/5 seconds, track record time for 1 1/4 miles over the turf course.

The clocking eclipsed by three-fifths of a second the record time run by Storm On The Loose in 1986.

While carrying 119 pounds, 3 fewer than in the Riggs, Social Retiree was a 9-5 favorite in the field of 10, and returned $5.60 to win.

"Mr. Tagg [trainer Barclay Tagg] said to keep him off the pace, but not too far back," said Guerra, who was never worse than fourth. "He ran real big when I asked him."

Social Retiree has competed in graded stakes against such runners as Roman Envoy and Stagecraft with mixed results. He is 10-for-28 lifetime with 21 in-the-money finishes and more than $470,000 in career earnings.

"We take it a step at a time with this horse," said owner-trainer Tagg. "Actually, we had him entered in a race at Belmont Park Saturday, but the race didn't go.

"I wasn't crazy about the weight, but he likes the turf to be nice and firm like it is here."

Square Cut ripped through the first six furlongs in 1:11 and still was ahead after a mile in 1:34 4/5, setting fractions conducive to a track record.

"Those times were something," said jockey Joe Rocco. "I'm going along and wondering what's happening. You can't take anything away from him [Social Retiree], but I thought my horse ran great. He was relaxed as he could be and still ran that well."

Square Cut held off Logaritmo by a neck for second.

Commingled simulcasts on tap

Full-card commingled simulcasts will start Wednesday at the Maryland tracks, which will remain dark for live racing. The schedule will include Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park and Hollywood Park.

Miscellaneous

Jockey Mario Pino will begin a seven-day suspension today for his ride aboard Restless Judge in the seventh race April 22. . . . Jockey Mike Luzzi had two winners yesterday, four days after returning from a rib-cage injury. One was long shot No Sneaker ($33) in a distance event for maidens on grass. . . . Apprentice Lonnie Meche made his Laurel debut in the second race, finishing out of the money on Wages. He switched his tack from Louisiana. . . . Furiously, a nominal to the Washington, D.C., International Mile, set a Monmouth track record of 1:39 3/5 for 1 1/16 miles in the Grade III Oceanport Handicap on Saturday. . . . Laurel track operator Joe De Francis entertained Gov. William Donald Schaefer at breakfast yesterday but said "nothing special" came out of the meeting.

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