Smart Alec's latest break is win 10 months after fracture, horse takes Challedon Stakes Laurel notebook

November 03, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

The miracles of veterinary surgery, often taken for granted, were on display at Laurel Race Course yesterday when Smart Alec won the $60,000 Challedon Stakes.

Within 10 months of breaking his right front cannon bone after finishing second in the Gravesend Handicap at Aqueduct last winter, the 5-year-old horse is back in the winner's circle.

"Just a nice simple condylar [joint] fracture" is the way veterinarian Jimmy Stewart described the break which he operated on by inserting a metal screw. "Something plumbers like me can take of."

The horse, who had earned more than $400,000, added $36,000 to his bankroll for owners Janet and Wylie Tuttle of Rock Hall.

Smart Alec had returned to training in May but didn't race until September. It took him four races to get back in the win column, and he was running on Lasix for the first time yesterday after bleeding in his last start, which he narrowly lost to Apparitiontofollow.

The Challedon set up for his trademark stretch run. Speed horses One Tuff Oop and Apparitiontofollow tired by mid-stretch, at which point Smart Alec was beginning to rally along with Military Look, who finished second.

The victory was a boost for the Tuttles, who have had a traumatic last couple of months. Their daughter, Alexandra, was killed in a plane crash over Soviet Georgia while on assignment covering the war there for the Wall Street Journal. Then Wylie Tuttle underwent open heart surgery for the third time early last month.

But Tuttle was at the races yesterday and said Monday he is on his way to Keeneland, Ky., where he hopes to buy a couple of new broodmares.

Smart Alec is trained by Dick Delp and is ridden by Mario Pino.

Devereux is California-bound

Several Maryland outfits, such as Vinnie Blengs, Bill Donovan and Barclay Tagg, are going to Florida for the winter.

But Joe Devereux is packing up his stable and flying to California.

The 41-year-old trainer from West Friendship said he has booked a flight for eight horses that leaves Nov. 17 and will race them at Santa Anita this winter.

Among the runners that are California-bound: Laurel Turf Cup winner Square Cut; stakes mare Dior's Angel; useful grass runner Robber Ramble and a new purchase, the 3-year-old stakes winner Jericho's Prospect. Ed Wachtel, owner of Square Cut, recently bought the colt from Philip Torsney and Jim Murphy.

"Of course, the main reason I'm going is Square Cut," Devereux said. "He made over $225,000 this year and loves the grass. So does Dior's Angel, who has won twice on firm turf footing."

Devereux wintered at Santa Anita three years ago, won two races and had 14 seconds. "The purses are so high that finishing second is like winning a race," he said. "That trip was a financial success, and I'm looking forward to going back."

Horsemen table inter-track costs

The board of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association met with track operator Joe De Francis for nearly three hours last night but failed to reach a settlement on how much horsemen will contribute to costs of running the cross-breed simulcasting program between the state's thoroughbred and harness tracks.

Horsemen currently pay no part of the expenses, but under an agreement with management, they are scheduled to kick in 3 percent of their share of the Rosecroft handle toward costs. However, the horsemen view that part of the program as a failure, and there wasn't much sentiment last night to help pay for the expenses.

MTHA president Richard Hoffberger said the board will study the issue and take it up later this month.

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