Onto Luck takes Laurel feature

January 22, 1995|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

On the day that owners with Kentucky Derby aspirations for their horses were due to pay an initial eligibility fee of $600 for the 1995 Triple Crown series, Centennial Farms' 3-year-old gelding, Onto Luck, scored his second stakes win in a month in the $53,775 Dancing Count Stakes at Laurel Park.

Yes, Onto Luck is nominated to the Triple Crown, said the horse's trainer, Ned Allard.

But, he continued, "I don't think he's a Derby prospect. He might be in a month's time. But, no, not now. If an owner wants to nominate his horse to the Triple Crown, I'm not going to talk him out of it. What do I think he is? A nice 3-year-old. I believe in letting my horses speak for themselves and not making them out to be something they aren't."

The outcome yesterday was never much in doubt for Onto Luck, who was bet down to 3-5 favoritism after a 3 1/2 -length score at Laurel in his last start in the Ambernash Stakes. There was a moment on the backside when the horse was bumped after long shot Best Party clipped heels with pacesetter Flying Punch.

"But it didn't deter my horse," Allard said. "There wasn't much speed in the race, so our jockey [Rick Wilson] had to go to the lead sooner than we had planned. When he did, the horse hung a little. But, all in all, it was a good race."

Hermen Greenberg's lightly raced colt, He's Got Gall, a 3-year-old brother to former Maryland-bred Horse of the Year Brilliant Brass, made a belated rally, but was no match for the winner at yesterday's 7-furlong distance.

"But I'm not sure I want to run back against him at a mile," Allard said.

He's Got Gall is a big, long-striding colt but lacks early speed. He was outrun early, but made up about eight lengths after trailing the field. He failed to change leads in the stretch and appeared to be lugging in but finished second, 1 1/2 lengths behind Onto Luck.

Allard plans to start Onto Luck next in the Cherry Hill Mile on March 3 at Garden State Park.

"I'll continue to stretch him out, and see what happens," the trainer said about the son of Lucky North, whose offspring are probably best as milers and not at the longer distances.

Centennial Farms is a Boston-based horse-owning syndicate headed by Don Little. The outfit won the 1993 Belmont Stakes with Colonial Affair. Among the syndicate members owning Onto Luck is local horseman, Herb Moelis, who bred and sold Cryptic Bid, currently rated co-second choice with juvenile champion Timber Country in the Kentucky Derby winter odds book. The early choice is Burt Bacharach's Afternoon Deelites.

If horses were not nominated to the Triple Crown by yesterday, they can be made eligible with a payment of $6,000 on April 1. After that, it would cost an owner a total of $300,000 in supplementary fees to start his horse in all three Triple Crown races.

Despite the lack of a premier stakes attraction at Laurel yesterday, betting was brisk at the Maryland outlets. A total of $2.8 million was bet in the state, the highest handle since approximately $4 million was bet in-state on Breeders' Cup Day, Nov. 5.

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