Pino won't ride Smart 'n Noble in Snow Goose 'cap

March 25, 1995|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

The auspicious comeback of Smart 'n Noble, the winningest filly or mare of the Maryland winter season, takes an unexpected turn today when her longtime jockey, Mario Pino, spurns her to ride an out-of-town invader, Hey Hazel, in the Snow Goose Handicap.

The $100,000 race for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles is today's Laurel Park feature and the final graded stakes of the meet.

Pino describes the situation as an unfortunate misunderstanding, propagated by his former agent, Joe Monahan, who recently suffered a stroke and has been forced to give up the jockey's book.

Monahan had given the call in the Snow Goose to the connections of Hey Hazel, Pino said, thinking Smart 'n Noble's trainer, Dick Delp, was going to bypass the race. Mitch Berman, Pino's new agent, honored Monahan's commitment.

"I want to ride her [Smart 'n Noble], but what am I supposed to do? We had already given the call to the other trainer [Roger Attfield]," Pino said.

But Delp was perturbed yesterday, saying that neither Pino nor either of his agents bothered to check with him and find out for sure if he was going to start the filly.

Delp has replaced Pino with Larry Reynolds and added that he's not going "to say 'yes or no' " on deciding if the move has cost Pino the mount in future races.

"If Larry wins on her today, how can I take him off for her next start?" Delp asked.

Delp is also unhappy that Smart 'n Noble carries highweight of 120 pounds, three more pounds than Hey Hazel, an older mare who has earned more than double his horse's career winnings of $331,978.

Although Smart 'n Noble won the Grade II Barbara Fritchie Handicap, the race was at seven furlongs and she has never won at today's distance of 1 1/8 miles. Hey Hazel apparently gets the concession because she has been off for nearly four months. But, as Delp points out, the mare is a double-graded stakes winner and specializes in distance races.

Howard County races today

Maryland's top steeplechase trainer, Jack Fisher, will be represented in the Howard County Cup at Glenelg today by 1994 Maryland-bred Jumper of the Year, South of Java. The 31-year-old rider-trainer won the race last year with recently deceased Revelstoke.

South of Java is one of eight horses entered in the featured 3-mile timber event. There also are eight other races, including several carded for junior riders. Post time is 1 p.m. The course is located at Meriwether Farm on Roxbury Road.

Exercise rider 'serious'

Doug Leatherman, an exercise rider at Laurel Park, was severely injured about 8:45 a.m. yesterday at the track in a training accident.

Leatherman's mount, an unraced 2-year-old, pitched him off and then fell on top of him. Leatherman was flown by helicopter to the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where he was listed in serious condition with a lacerated liver, fractured ribs, a punctured lung and internal bleeding.

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