Who Wouldn't plays Smart Alec role

November 12, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

With one deft move in the upper stretch, Who Wouldn't spoiled Smart Alec's chances for an early retirement yesterday.

Jockeys on both horses took aim at the same spot near the three-sixteenths pole, trying to overtake front-runners Goldminer's Dream and Mr. Moby Dick in the Challedon Stakes.

Who Wouldn't got there first.

At stake: the $36,000 winner's share in the Veterans Day feature at Laurel Park.

It was also the race meant to be Smart Alec's swan song. The intention was he'd repeat his Challedon victory of a year ago and trot off to stud at Elberton Hill Farm in Harford County on a winning note.

But the best-laid plans of his owners, the Wylie Tuttles of Rock Hall, and trainer Dick Delp, went awry.

By the time Smart Alec's jockey, Mario Pino, got the horse in the clear on the outside, Joe Rocco had seized the advantage on Who Wouldn't and surged to the front in a four-horse photo finish.

Who Wouldn't won by a neck, with Mr. Moby Dick nosing out Goldminer's Dream for place. Smart Alec was a half-length behind in fourth. Both of the first two finishers received a 7-pound weight break from the losing pair.

Now the Tuttles say they will try one more time to send Smart Alec, who has earned nearly $600,000 in five racing seasons, out a winner.

"This horse is the love of our life," said the Tuttles' daughter, Amanda. "He's tried hard for us and we want him to be a winner when he leaves."

So it's now Delp's assignment to find another race for the horse before he is retired, probably in mid-December.

To followers of bloodlines, the victory by Who Wouldn't in the Challedon should come as no surprise. The horse became the fourth son of 19-year-old Maryland stallion Baederwood to win the stakes. The others: Miracle Wood (1985), Bea Quality (1987) and Root Boy (1992).

Who Wouldn't is also a well-known member of the hardy band of game old Maryland-bred sprinters that competed in the race. All the horses that finished on the board are stakes winners who have recovered from leg surgeries of one kind or another during their careers and are truly veterans of the racing wars.

Donald Barr has raced the talented Who Wouldn't sparingly in the horse's three-year career.

"He's had a knee operation, broken splint bones and pulled suspensories," Barr said. "But he's a game old campaigner and a puppy to be around in the barn. He's just a horse with a lot of class."

The gelding also thrives in cold weather and will continue competing during the winter. Last year, he finished third in the General George Stakes, a Grade II event that is the centerpiece, along with the Barbara Fritchie Handicap, of Laurel's winter stakes program.

The old sprinters were humming along yesterday. Who Wouldn't raced the seven furlongs in 1:22 2/5.

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