Angelos not horsing around with favored Million entry

October 01, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

Peter Angelos might hand himself his own trophy today in the Maryland Million winner's circle.

For the first time, the Orioles are sponsoring one of the Maryland Million events, and team owner Angelos, who also operates a modest horse racing stable, is running the favored entry.

In the fifth race, named the Baltimore Orioles Maryland Million Lassie, Angelos owns 30 percent of 8-5 favorite Prospector's Fuel as well as the whole interest in the filly's entry mate, Georgia K.

The horses have different trainers, but are linked in the betting because of Angelos' ownership interest in both animals.

"I'd like to be able to devote more time to racing and I plan to buy more horses," Angelos said. "I'll be at the yearling sale at Timonium on Monday looking for more. Owning horses is a lot less work than owning a ball team, and there's a lot less controversy.

"If you change trainers, you don't get castigated by the thoroughbred racing press. But it's a little different with some of the baseball writers. Fire a coach and you'd think you had gotten rid of their uncle."

The Orioles' sponsorship of a Maryland horse racing event is a first for the team, but it's a natural, Angelos said yesterday.

Not only is Maryland Million founder Jim McKay an investor in the Orioles, but "I feel there are three key institutions in the state," Angelos said. "There's the Orioles, the Baltimore Symphony and the state's thoroughbred racing and breeding industry. We sponsored a gala for the symphony and also wanted to be a part of the Maryland Million. It's not just any old horse race, but an industry-wide event."

Angelos, who has owned horses for about a dozen years, was named to the Maryland Million board of directors this spring.

Tim Capps, vice president of communications at Laurel and Pimlico race courses, said the tracks have had joint promotional efforts with other area sports teams in the past, including the Washington Redskins, Bullets and Capitals.

"But never the Orioles, which are the most prominent sports franchise in the region," Capps said. "It's nice to have their name on something. In the past Major League Baseball didn't want to be associated with gaming, but I'm glad to see some of the sport's self-imposed barriers come down. I hope we can do more cross-promotion with them in the future."

Angelos' horses in today's race don't have a lot in common. "Prospector's Fuel is a speed filly," Angelos said, "and Georgia K. comes from off the pace. She might have more potential in longer races."

Angelos bought into Prospector's Fuel after the daughter of Allen's Prospect won her first start at Pimlico in mid-August by 14 1/2 lengths. The filly is trained by Bill Donovan, whose wife Donna picked her out of a yearling sale at Timonium last year.

Prospector's Fuel is one of four Lassie entrants with stakes experience, finishing third in her last start in the Debby's Turn Stakes. Since then Donovan has equipped the filly with blinkers in her morning workouts and she responded with a sharp seven-furlong time of 1 minute, 26 3/5 seconds at Pimlico last weekend. Donovan, who stables his horses at Pimlico, shipped Prospector's Fuel to Laurel this week to gallop over the track and familiarize herself with the racing surface.

Angelos named his other filly, Georgia K., after his wife, whose maiden name is Kousouris. He purchased the daughter of Horatius as a yearling at Timonium last year after her brother, Forry Cow How, won the Maryland Million Classic.

"I named one other horse after my wife," Angelos said. "That was Georgia's Embrace, and she turned out to be pretty good, too. She won about $100,000."

Tom Caviness trains Georgia K. He thinks it is going to be hard for the filly to catch Prospector's Fuel. "That other horse's work out of the gate at Pimlico was awesome," he said. "Few horses work as far as seven furlongs and I think that's just about the fastest or second-fastest workout logged at that distance at Pimlico this year."

Caviness added that Georgia K. will have a difficult time breaking today from the No. 1 post position. "I wish we had drawn No. 8," he said about the filly who is likely to be outrun early. "I also wish we had more time between races. She just broke her maiden nine days ago and it's a little soon to be running her back. But, heck, it's the Maryland Million and you don't get many chances to run for a purse this big [$100,000]."

Angelos owns about 20 horses, including breeding stock that he keeps at Rolling Mill Farm near Hunt Valley. His longtime racing adviser is Harry Strovel, who represents him at most of the races.

NOTES: Of the 118 runners expected to start in today's Maryland Million, the bulk is stabled locally. But 22 of the horses are shipping to Laurel from out-of-state tracks or training centers, including nine horses from New York. . . . Five of the jockeys regularly compete at Belmont Park. They are Mike Smith, Jose Santos, Mike Luzzi, Richard Migliore and Eddie Maple.

FACTS AND FIGURES

When: Today, post time 12:30 p.m.

Where: Laurel Race Course

Program: Eleven flat races -- nine on dirt, two on turf -- and one steeplechase.

Feature: Maryland Million Classic, 11th race, post time 5:43 p.m.

Total purses: $1 million

Horses: Only offspring of Maryland stallions are

eligible. A total of 144 are entered, including Grade I winners Taking Risks and Prenup.

TV: HTS, 4-6 p.m.; ESPN, 3:30-4:30 p.m. (including Md. Million Sprint live at 3:45 p.m.); ESPN2, 5-6 p.m. (live telecast of Md. Million Ladies and Md. Million Classic)

Tickets: Reserved seating can be obtained by calling Laurel, (301) 725-0400.

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