Croll running north and south

February 19, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

Jimmy Croll is busy today on two fronts.

The 73-year-old trainer is running horses in a pair of $200,000 stakes in Maryland and Florida.

One of Croll's runners, the 4-year-old filly Tenacious Tiffany, owned by a partnership headed by Maryland breeder Bob Levy, starts from the 6-post in the 12-horse Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Race Course.

Then Croll's 3-year-old colt, the undefeated Holy Bull, is expected to go off the favorite at Gulfstream Park in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, the first key prep for the 1994 Triple Crown.

Yesterday, Croll said he is confident about the chances of both horses.

He is returning to Maryland with Tenacious Tiffany, a 12-1 shot on the program who has yet to win a stakes. But by post time, she should go off at considerably shorter odds. The filly has been facing horses like Santa Catalina and Classy Mirage on the Florida circuit and suits the seven-furlong Fritchie distance perfectly.

Croll said the horse is "at the top of her game, and we thought it was time to take a shot at winning a race like the Fritchie."

Croll won his first stakes in 1951 with War Phar in the W. P. Burch Stakes at Bowie Race Course, now used as a training center. Since then, he has won runnings of the Laurel Turf Cup (Parka, 1963), Laurel Futurity (Bet Twice, 1986), Pimlico Special (Bet Twice, 1988) Frank De Francis Dash (Housebuster, 1991) and finished second to Alysheba with Bet Twice in the 1987 Preakness.

He is no stranger to Maryland, although he divides his time between the New Jersey and Florida circuits.

Tenacious Tiffany is his first Barbara Fritchie starter, but he won't be here to watch her.

Croll is staying in Florida to saddle Holy Bull. Debbie Ferguson, who helps break yearlings at Levy's Muirfield Farm in Chesapeake City, will officiate at Laurel.

"Tenacious Tiffany should have won a stakes by now," Croll said. "But she had a lung infection last year that stayed with her quite awhile.

"She has been a little bit of disappointment in that regard, and I XTC almost stopped on her this year and bred her. But she's been doing good all winter, and we fully expect she'll give a good account of herself. I'm a little bit blind going into the race. I haven't seen a [Daily Racing] Form and don't know who is in the race. My horse takes back a little off the pace and then makes her run."

Croll lined up veteran Rick Wilson to ride Tenacious Tiffany. "He's ridden a lot of winners for me over the years, and I've got a lot of confidence in him," Croll said.

The favorite, Daimon, breaks from the 11-hole and will have to use her speed early to get position. Closers such as Tenacious Tiffany, Sentimentaldiamond and Buffels are given a good shot to run her down.

The weather could be nicer in Maryland today than in Florida, where it has been raining.

But whether the track is fast or sloppy for the Fountain of Youth doesn't matter to Holy Bull, Croll said.

"I expect him to be on the lead, although he doesn't have to be," Croll said. He said there will probably be two scratches, Crary and You And I, who has changed ownership.

Other stakes doubles

Three Maryland trainers -- Donald Barr, Charlie Hadry and King Leatherbury -- have aspirations of winning their own stakes double. Each has a horse in both of Laurel's Sprint Fest stakes.

Barr starts Sentimentaldiamond in the Fritchie and Who Wouldn't in the General George Stakes on Monday. Hadry is represented by Winka in the Fritchie and Military Look in the General George Leatherbury sends out Buffels in the Fritchie followed by Ameri Valay in the General George.

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