N.J. long shot wins Laurel stakes

February 28, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

Out-of-town shippers continued their recent domination of stakes events at Laurel Race Course yesterday when lightly regarded New Jersey invader Our Royal Blue led from start to finish and won the $31,750 Notches Trace Stakes.

The 21.60-1 long shot, ridden by Rick Wilson, turned back challenges from a pair of heavily favored fillies, Pleasant Dilemma and Lady Reiko.

Pleasant Dilemma, winner of the Marshua Stakes at Laurel last month, finished second, followed by the previously unbeaten Lady Reiko, who faltered in the stretch after racing into contention going into the turn.

"Normally she gets stronger as the race progresses, but she just didn't have it," said Lady Reiko's jockey, Mario Pino. He thought she struggled a bit with the track which he described as "cuppy."

Wilson said he had received succinct instructions before the race from Willard Thompson, trainer of Our Lady Blue. "Don't mess up," Thompson told him.

"I was surprised there was not a lot more speed and that I got the lead so easily," Wilson said. "My filly seems to prefer a mile. But she's fresh and hadn't run in awhile, which could account for it."

Our Royal Blue, who had not raced in nearly three months, is owned jointly by Thompson and Chuck and Linda Stewart of Frisco, Texas. She ran the six furlongs in 1 minute, 11 4/5 seconds and returned $45.20 for a $2 win bet. The filly was purchased for $20,000 at the 1992 Keeneland (Ky.) Fall Yearling Sales and comes from the immediate family of such stakes stars as Dancing Brave and Jolypha.

Three of the past four Laurel stakes have been won by shippers from Philadelphia or Garden State parks -- the General George Stakes (Blushing Julian, winner), Landaura Stakes (Ask Shananie) and the Notches Trace Stakes.

The victory yesterday marked Wilson's third Maryland stakes score this year. He previously won Laurel stakes on Can't Be Denied and Prospective Joy.

NOTES: Robert Meyerhoff's Concern finished third in the Old Rosebud Stakes at Oaklawn Park yesterday, beaten a length by Finder's Wish and Dish It Out. "I am pleased with his race. A mile is just too short for him," said trainer Dick Small. The Maryland-bred colt is nominated to the Triple Crown. . . . In addition to fracturing four vertebrae, jockey Greg Hutton broke his shoulder in a spill at Laurel last week. Hutton is out of the hospital and attended the races yesterday. . . . Neither Paul Nicol nor his mount, Two Yellow Ribbons, was seriously injured when they fell during yesterday's third race.

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