'Abigail' stages rally, wins stakes

June 20, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

Abigailthewife is a daughter of the last Triple Crown winner, Affirmed. Yesterday at Laurel she showed a lot of her sire's moxie.

The chestnut mare came flying from off the pace and scored an impressive five-length victory over P J Floral in the $35,000 April Run Stakes.

It was the second straight score on the turf for Abigailthewife in her only starts this year. She covered a mile and a half in 2 minutes, 30 3/5 seconds.

Trainer Barclay Tagg was at Penn National yesterday with Highland Crystal, whom Edgar Prado guided to a third-place finish in the $75,000 Pennsylvania Budweiser Breeders' Cup.

Beforehand, Tagg had said Abigailthewife was working well for the April Run, but "I don't know if she's good enough."

"She did everything I asked her," said jockey Mark Johnston. "She kicked in when I asked and went right past the leader."

Omar Klinger had an adventurous trip on P J Floral, who stumbled in close quarters shortly after the start and nearly threw the jockey.

But Klinger wheeled himself back into the saddle from the side, trick rider style, and came from last to briefly take the lead before Abigailthewife closed quickly.

30 aiming for De Francis Dash

Nominations for the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash closed this weekend, pending mail-in entries.

The Grade II, $300,000 event July 9 is the centerpiece of Laurel's summer meeting.

Among the 30 nominations are the cream of local sprinters, including Secret Odds, Birdonthewire, Smart Alec and Montbrook.

The race is limited to 14 starters.

Four stakes top $100,000

The stakes schedule for Pimlico's summer meeting features four $100,000 races, including two Grade III events.

Topping the meet, which opens July 26, are the Grade III Polynesian Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf Sept. 10 and the Grade III Columbia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs Sept. 24. Other $100,000 events are the Twixt Handicap for Maryland-bred fillies Aug. 20 and the Damascus Handicap for older males Sept. 17.

Miscellaneous

Two more steeplechase races were conducted yesterday with only one incident, a fall by a relatively inexperienced jumper, Show Of Heart. The horse and rider Brooks Durkee were OK. . . . The card also featured a thrilling victory by Karl Korte, 60, aboard Clever Mary in the ninth race. Korte edged Salute The Girl at the wire while riding for Charlie Dewald, the second oldest trainer on the Maryland circuit. He is 85.

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