'Alden' scores in 4-way photo finish

February 21, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

Preakness-age runners grabbed center stage during the winter sprintfest at Laurel Race Course yesterday when the Horatius Stakes resulted in a four-horse photo-finish.

The winner, Run Alden, re-bounded from his loss to Can't Be Denied two weeks ago and defeated a trio of 3-year-old geldings that were only noses apart for second.

Triple Crown nominee Takeitlikeaman, who has been wintering in the Carolinas with owner-trainer John Myers, finished second, a nose in front of another Triple Crown prospect, Justalittleshower, who in turn was a nose ahead of Whiz Pass.

There was some unexpected pre-race drama when Greg Hutton, the regular jockey for Run Alden, took a bad spill during the second race and was hospitalized.

Allen Stacy substituted for Hutton and pulled down the $21,000 winner's prize on a horse he had never ridden before.

Hutton has compressed vertebrae in his back after he was thrown from his mount, Instant Impact, in the earlier race. The horse dropped dead of a ruptured aorta and fractured a cannon bone in a foreleg near the three-eighths pole during the race.

Track veterinarian Pat Brackett said she didn't know which happened first, the heart attack or the broken leg. Hutton seemed to think the horse broke his leg first. "Bang. Then down he went," Hutton said.

Stacy showed plenty of finesse when he allowed Run Alden to drop back on the rail and not get involved in an early speed duel with front-runner Whiz Pass.

Then Stacy stayed near the rail and got through a narrow opening at the top of the stretch when he asked the horse to run. Run Alden ran the six furlongs in a rapid 1 minute, 10 3/5 seconds.

Both Run Alden and Takeitlikeaman will make their next start in the Cherry Hill Mile on March 4 at Garden State Park, meeting such runners as Can't Be Denied.

Jerry Robb, trainer of Run Alden, said he is taking it "one race at a time" and is not making any Preakness plans. The horse has not yet been nominated to any of the Triple Crown races.

Albert Delgado, jockey on Takeitlikeaman, was brimming with confidence after the race and said he regards his mount as "a Preakness contender."

Katy Voss, who trains Justalittleshower, said she is looking for an allowance race around two turns for her horse's next start. James Casey,who owns and trains Whiz Pass, said his horse will stay in sprints.

Gen. George a "hornet's nest"

Donald Barr, who trains Who Wouldn't, one of the 14 horses entered in today's $200,000 General George Stakes at Laurel, said he regards the race as "a hornet's nest. It's such a tough field. Everything is in there, speed horses, horses who close. Whoever gets the [good] trip, is the winner."

All 14 horses are stakes winners. Six of the starters are out-of-town shippers from Aqueduct and Philadelphia and Garden State parks.

Barr said he scratched out of the Coaltown Stakes at Aqueduct on Saturday to run in the General George. "Don't ask me why," Barr said. "What a stupid move. The Coaltown only drew a five-horse field. I don't know why anyone would ship in from out of town to run against this group [of hard-bitten Maryland sprinters]. I'm stabled at Bowie and I don't even want to ship over."

If it rains, as predicted, Barr said he might scratch his horse "if the track is muddy." There are indications a couple of other starters would be scratched, too.

The 3-1 program favorite for the race is Chief Desire, winner of the Sporting Plate Handicap in his most recent start at Aqueduct.

Last year's winner, Majesty's Turn, who won his last start on an off track by 9 1/2 lengths, is listed at 8-1 odds.

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