Patience wins out at Pimlico

September 12, 1994|By Pete Bielski | Pete Bielski,Special to The Sun

Forget speed and fast action. Yesterday's double stakes menu at Pimlico Race Course was a testament to patience.

In the initial running of the $75,000 Ben Cohen Stakes, a 5-year-old horse with a mere 12 career starts cashed in thanks to cautious care from his handlers. And in the $35,000 Debby's Turn Stakes for 2-year-olds, a filly with a jinxed mother finally made good for its owners some five years after a costly claim.

In the Ben Cohen, named for the former owner of Pimlico who died earlier this year, the race went to frequently injured (P Goldminer's Dream. Despite his obvious sprinting skills (eight of 11 previous starts in the money and $70,000 in earnings), his lack of soundness has prevented him from ever getting in gear.

"You have to take this horse one race at a time," trainer Ann Merryman said. "He's had some injuries, but they've always been patient with him. He's a classy horse, and I'm glad he finally got the chance to show it."

Yesterday, Goldminer's Dream had his day. With Jeff Carle aboard, he sprinted six furlongs in 1 minute, 10 1/5 seconds, besting Higher Strata by 5 1/2 lengths and Storm Street by 6. He paid $21.60 to win and keyed a $77 exacta. Carle also won Saturday's stakes, taking the $100,000 Polynesian with Sunny Sunrise.

It was the fifth start in four months for Goldminer, who finally may be cured of his ailments.

Meanwhile, for owner Raymond Wennik of Winbound Farms, the return on investment on a particular $50,000 has been slow, but is paying off.

Winbound Farms owns the 2-year-old filly Miss Claratius, who yesterday made it two victories in a row and the third in a five-race career by winning the $35,000 Debby's Turn Stakes.

Miss Claratius is the daughter of a New York-bred mare named Clara Drive that was claimed by Wennik five years ago. As the breaks go in racing's claiming game, Wennik never got to race Clara Drive because of physical problems (eight bone chips in a back knee).

Her broodmare career was hardly inspiring, either, and it looked like a $50,000 loss for Wennik. But finally, Clara Drive produced a daughter to the stallion Horatius, a fast filly eventually named Miss Claratius, though Clara Drive died during delivery.

"I've had claims that didn't work out before, but never for $50,000," said Hennik, 71, who lives in Marco Island, Fla., but attended yesterday's race. "I looked at it as a lost $50,000. We tried to get her in foal, but not even that was working."

Patience is a virtue, especially in racing. With yesterday's $21,000 winner's share, Miss Claratius has earned $47,565. She trailed the field by more than 10 lengths entering the stretch, but the filly was rushed to victory by jockey Mary Wiley. She paid $10.60 to win, edging long-shot Special Bound by a neck and 2-to-1 favorite Prospector's Fuel by a length. She ran six furlongs

in 1:11 1/5.

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