Handicap pace suits Smart Alec

June 12, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

Pace often makes a race, and Smart Alec found it to his liking yesterday in the $53,900 Housebuster Handicap at Pimlico Race Course.

While three front-runners burned through a 45 1/5-second half-mile, jockey Mario Pino kept Smart Alec a leisurely last in the six-horse field.

But when the time came, Smart Alec unleashed a determined rush and he went on to draw off to a 3 1/4 -length victory over favored Secret Odds in the six-furlong sprint.

"He went real easy," said Pino. "I never went to the whip."

In their last meeting on Preakness Day, victorious Secret Odds was five lengths better than fifth-place Smart Alec in the Grade III Maryland Budweiser Breeders' Cup Handicap.

"We had an outside post and there wasn't much pace in that race," said Pino. "Smart Alec kicked in, but we lost too much ground being outside. Today, Mr. [trainer Richard] Delp had this horse real sharp."

Delp said Smart Alec's next start may be in the Grade II, $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash July 16 at Laurel. Nominations for that race closed yesterday.

Meanwhile, jockey Edgar Prado said of Secret Odds: "I don't think he really liked the track today."

The surface was still rated fast during the feature, but was downgraded to good several races later after a steady drizzle.

Belmont big in Maryland

Maryland enjoyed a banner day at the mutuel windows on Belmont Day, handling $2,055,078 on its live program and $3,708,807, including the co-mingled pools.

A total of $589,357 was wagered on the Belmont, not a co-mingled event, accounting for almost 29 percent of the Maryland handle.

At Pimlico and the state's simulcast outlets, Tabasco Cat returned a slightly higher payoff ($8.60 to $8) for winning the Belmont, but the exotic payoffs were lower.

The exacta with Go For Gin returned $16.60 in Maryland, $19.20 in New York and the triple was $26.80 here and $30 at Belmont.

Miscellaneous

Pimlico's racing analyst, Kim Goodwin, correctly picked 10 exactas and three triples on yesterday's card. . . . Two steeplechase events went off without a spill, but included two objections. Favored Cold Beauty survived the first claim to win the second race and South Of Java ($9.40) took the fourth race after an objection was disallowed. . . . Pimlico's spring meeting concludes today with action shifting to Laurel on Tuesday. Laurel's opening program includes the $35,000 Bold Queen Stakes on turf and a "three for all" promotion that includes free admissions, programs and coupon books. . . . The stewards have fined trainers Janet Elliot and Donald Townsend $500 for violations in the use of medications. . . . No one picked all seven winners in the National Best Seven wager. Tickets with six of seven winners returned $1,813.10 for a 50-cent bet.

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