Fields are larger since Md. racing shifted to Laurel

June 25, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

Horse shortages and small fields have been primary topics around the Maryland racing circuit in recent years, but neither is a problem at the moment.

Maryland Jockey Club vice president of racing Lenny Hale said that the Laurel Race Course barn area "is packed solid for the first time in about 10 years" and that Pimlico and Bowie are "close to capacity."

As a result, there has been a noticeable increase in the size of fields since racing shifted to Laurel last week.

Hale said two factors are responsible. The viruses that strike 2-year-olds each spring and are carried to the barn areas off the farms have run their courses. And the switch to Laurel means trainers stabled at Laurel and Bowie are running their horses again. They are sometimes reluctant to van to Pimlico during the hotter weather.

"We're getting better and better cards, especially on weekends," said Hale. "And we're still trying to upgrade them."

The horse population was further enhanced this week when Neil Howard, trainer of 1990 Preakness winner Summer Squall, shipped in an 18-horse string from Sam Houston Park in Texas.

Jadeeda, My Marchesa head field

With Oops I Am missing from the field, high-weighted Jadeeda and My Marchesa figure to draw the most play in today's feature, the $53,900 Very Subtle Breeders' Cup for older fillies and mares.

The six-furlong sprint on the turf would have been a logical follow-up race for Oops I Am, who set a grass course record for 5 1/2 furlongs on opening day, running to victory in 1 minute, 2 2/5 seconds.

But that effort caught her connections off guard, and Oops I Am was not nominated for this stakes.

Jadeeda won the Gold Digger two starts ago, with My Marchesa second. "She always goes super when we breeze her on the grass, trainer James Simpson said of Jadeeda, who ran a snappy :46 over four furlongs in her workout. My Marchesa, a late runner, could benefit from the extra half-furlong and has a one-point shift in the weights to her advantage.

Miscellaneous

Today's Best Seven wager, with a jackpot pool of $62,799, includes four turf races, one of them the Very Subtle at Laurel. . . . Bob Leavitt, former general manager of Charles Town and Shenandoah Downs, was buried yesterday in Venice, Fla. He died Monday at age 82.

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