How About Becky pulls upset

September 04, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

How About Becky entered the 1994 racing season as a 4-year-old maiden but showed yesterday that there is hope for late developers.

Under savvy handling by jockey Joe Rocco, the lightly raced filly caught pacesetter Vaulted in the short stretch at Timonium Race Course and upset a field of veteran race mares in the $40,000 Alma North Handicap.

Unraced until a few months ago, How About Becky got the Labor Day weekend off to a promising start for trainer Donald Barr and Milton Higgins III, who owns the horse in partnership with Tom Bowman.

Tomorrow Barr and Higgins send out one of the favorites, Richie The Coach, against Preakness starters Looming and Kandaly and recent Broad Brush Stakes winner Brass Scale in the $200,000 Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park.

Omar Klinger was scheduled to ride the horse but has been detained in Panama with passport problems, Higgins said. It seems likely that Rocco will pick up the mount.

From the start, not much unfolded according to plans in the Alma North Handicap.

Expected pacesetter Stars Knockout, a recent winner at Saratoga, broke flat-footed and was outrun early by Vaulted.

"We beat her at the start and I decided pretty quickly I better take advantage of it," said Andrea Seefeldt, who gave up the mount on How About Becky to ride Vaulted.

Alberto Delgado, aboard Stars Knockout, was shocked that his horse broke so slowly. "I thought I'd be in front, coasting. But instead, I had to be content to lay second behind Andrea," Delgado said.

When Delgado called on Stars Knockout to run, "there was just nothing there. She was really flat," Delgado said. Instead of charging to the front, Stars Knockout began backing up and finished last in the six-horse field, beaten 13 1/2 lengths as the 3-2 favorite. Her performance was so bad that the stewards ordered her sent to the detention barn for a post-race drug test.

Second choice Buffels didn't fare much better. She, too, was outrun and finished a well-beaten fourth.

Rocco said that How About Becky, who was making her sixth career and first stakes start, was resisting him a bit when she ran behind horses and was being pelted with dirt in her face. "But once I got her clear, she started to run," he said. "I don't think it would have mattered who was in the race. She was so good [yesterday] that she still would have won."

It was Rocco's third Alma North victory. He won two runnings with now-retired Local Thriller.

Horsemen vow fight

Richard Hoffberger, president of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, said that he and his organization will do "everything we can" to keep the Pimlico stable area open for training this winter.

Track president Joe De Francis said yesterday in the Washington Post that he intends to shut down the track and barn area at Pimlico from late November through mid-February unless there are enough horses to merit keeping it open.

Hoffberger said that no one had discussed the Pimlico closing with him. However, a member of Pimlico's backstretch committee said he was told by management six weeks ago that First National Bank, which holds the mortgage on Pimlico and Laurel, is ordering De Francis to make cost-saving measures after record 1993 losses.

"I guess the bank, and not De Francis, is running the tracks," the horseman, who did not want his name disclosed, said.

De Francis tried to close the Pimlico barn area in the winter two years ago, but he bowed to pressure from horsemen and kept the track and half of the stables open for training.

Miscellaneous

In My Power, the filly who fought her way out of a burning stall in the Bowling Brook Farm fire two years ago, broke her maiden yesterday in the third race at Timonium. The horse was so severely burned and had suffered so much damage from smoke inhalation that veterinarians thought she might not live, much less race. . . . John Ottaviano is the new agent for Rocco.

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