Meyerhoff testing trio's mettle

February 26, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

Robert Meyerhoff led all Maryland breeders last month when he nominated three homebreds -- Looming, Concern and Barge In -- to the 1994 Triple Crown.

Now his trainer, Dick Small, is starting to test the horses in minor stakes to see if they belong in major preps for the classics.

Looming is the solid favorite today in the six-horse Herat Stakes at Laurel Race Course. Because of bad weather and a quarantine prompted by an outbreak of an equine herpes virus, the horse missed the recent Count Fleet and Whirlaway stakes at Aqueduct. His Laurel race today will be his first start since he won the Silano Stakes on Jan. 2.

Concern, who is at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., along with many of the Meyerhoff stable stars, drew the outside post tomorrow in an eight-horse field in the Old Rosebud Stakes.

Andrea Seefeldt is to ride both horses, as well as the Small-trained Bless Me Twice in the Notches Trace Stakes tomorrow at Laurel.

Yesterday, Small said he isn't sure if Concern will be scratched from the Old Rosebud or if Bless Me Twice will face the undefeated filly Lady Reiko at Laurel.

"My gut feeling is that I should run Concern in an allowance race. But that kind of race hasn't been filling here [at Oaklawn]. So, I might have to go in the stakes," Small said.

But he feels that Looming will run well at Laurel. Small split his stable this winter, leaving his assistant Brenda Jordan at Pimlico Race Course with the main string. He took a half-dozen horses, including Maryland-bred Horse of the Year Valley Crossing to Oaklawn as well as Concern and Barge In.

"She [Jordan] took Looming over to Laurel last Sunday to work him and says he is doing well." The horse worked a mile in 1 minute, 45 seconds.

Looming will stay on the East Coast to run in 3-year-old stakes, depending on how well he fares today.

Concern could go in a series of 3-year-old stakes at Remington Park in Oklahoma City or stay at Oaklawn and run in its 3-year-old series leading up to the April 23 Arkansas Derby.

Small said Barge In recently arrived at Hot Springs from his training center in Camden, S.C., and "is just beginning to breeze. behind the other colts."

Small has won two races at Oaklawn, an allowance race on opening day with Concern and the King Cotton Stakes with Sticks And Bricks.

Small said he still plans to run Valley Crossing in the Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn on March 26.

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