Phyllis and Bill Dixon of Annapolis ended 1993 at Laurel Race Course the same way they started it: by winning a stakes race.
The Dixons' Mea Culpa Stables, Inc. won the Northern Wolf Stakes on Jan. 1, 1993 with Little Casino. Yesterday, their 4 year-old filly, Mz. Zill Bear, defeated Gammy's Alden by a head and won the $75,000 All Brandy Stakes.
All in all, it was the best year ever for the couple who keep about a half dozen horses in training and own about 30 more, including broodmares and young stock.
Mz. Zill Bear lost her footing at the start and stumbled badly. Expected to be near the front end, she was outrun early because of her misstep and instead came from off the pace.
"She recovered and then settled in behind horses," said Steve Hamilton, who regained the mount on the filly after her most recent jockey, Edgar Prado, left Maryland to ride in New York.
Buffels and Say It's Gold found themselves unexpectedly in front, but could not maintain their early lead.
"The race set up for us," Hamilton said. He rallied wide on the final turn with Mz. Zill Bear and narrowly held off a late bid by Gammy's Alden, who closed with a rush along the rail under Larry Reynolds. The favorite, Tennis Lady, also launched a late bid, but finished third.
Bill Dixon said that Mz. Zill Bear will now get the winter off and be freshened for the spring grass races. It was the third stakes victory in 1993 for the daughter of Salutely. She also won the Violet Handicap at The Meadowlands and the Maryland Million Ladies Turf Stakes at Laurel.
In addition to Mz. Zill Bear and Little Casino, the Dixons also won a Maryland stakes this year with Gayquare, now resting on the farm.
Robert Meyerhoff won more stakes in Maryland in 1993 than any other owner. Although his best runner, Valley Crossing, won stakes out of state, Meyerhoff won six stakes in Maryland with four horses, all homebreds -- Frottage, Star Minister, Tennis Lady and Broad Gains.
Mrs. Jane du Pont Lunger's Christiana Stable won five stakes with a quartet of fillies and mares -- Stem The Tide, Bezelle, Open Toe and Lily of the North -- and Israel Cohen won five stakes, three with Mixed Appeal and two with Montbrook.
The Dixons' trainer, Ron Cartwright, led all trainers in number of Maryland stakes victories. In addition to winning four stakes for the Dixons, he won three stakes with Forry Cow How for the Buckingham Farm of Eddie and Binnie Houghton and three stakes for Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who raced Cormorant's
Flight in his Marathon Farms silks.
'93 STAKES STATISTICS
Based on number of wins
Robert Meyerhoff .. .. .. 6
Christiana Stable .. .. ..5
Israel Cohen.. .. .. .. ..5
Mea Culpa Stables, Inc. ..4
Three wins each: Sondra Bender, Buckingham Farm, Hal C.B. Clagett, Paul Fowler, Gertrude Leviton, Marathon Farms, Inc., Nickle Stable, Charles Reed, Ryehill Farm, Guy Snowden, Philip J. Torsney, Walleye Stable, Mrs. Orme Wilson, Jr.
Ron Cartwright .. .. .. .. 10
Jimmy Murphy .. .. .. .. .. 9
Six wins each: Francis Campitelli, Gary Capuano, Charles Hadry, Richard Small
Mike Luzzi .. .. .. .. .. .. 20
Edgar Prado .. .. .. .. .. ..18
Mario Pino .. .. .. .. .. .. 11
Larry Reynolds .. .. .. .. ..11
Rick Wilson ..... .. .. .. .. 8
Three wins each: Chip's Dancer; Cormorant's Flight; Forry Cow How; Gala Spinaway; Jest Punching; Logan's Mist; Mixed Appeal; Smart 'N Noble.