Prado's instincts prove right with Algar He guides third choice to Northern Dancer win

November 05, 1995|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,SUN STAFF

Jockeys are notoriously bad handicappers, but Edgar Prado chose the right horse yesterday to ride in Laurel Park's $100,000 Northern Dancer Stakes.

The track's leading jockey was offered the mount on Maryland Million winner and 3-2 favorite Short Stay, but he chose to ride the 6-1 third choice, Algar.

Algar circled the eight-horse field after lagging behind early and won by 3 1/2 lengths. Short Stay faded after prompting the pace and finished seventh, nearly 17 lengths behind the winner.

"If you're going to be right, it's good to do it in a $100,000 race," said Prado's agent, Steve Rushing, who added "we've also been wrong plenty of times."

The win was worth $60,000 to Algar's owner-trainer, Virginia horsewoman, Barbara Graham -- less the $6,000 fee Prado earned for riding the 3-year-old gelding.

Graham said she was at first reluctant to race the horse because he had no stakes experience.

"But Edgar and Jimmy Murphy [Graham's partner] talked me in to it," she said. "Edgar liked the way he kicked in when he won his last start."

It was a gutsy move on Prado's part. The horse had been slow to come around and it took him seven tries over a five-month period to win his first race. Algar was a 15-1 shot when he rallied from nearly nine lengths off the pace 16 days ago and beat an allowance field at seven furlongs.

"But the way he did it convinced us he'd love the 1 1/8 miles [yesterday]," Rushing said.

Yesterday's race was not without incident.

First, New York jockey Jose Santos, who was scheduled to ride Short Stay, was forced to take off the horse after he cut his knee entering the starting gate on Misdanger in the fifth race. Santos was taken to an area hospital. The cut required eight stitches, but there were no broken bones. Mario Verge substituted for Santos on Short Stay.

Then, second-place finisher Turn Say was disqualified and placed fifth after turning sideways and bumping Flying Punch near the eighth pole.

At first, it looked as if Turn Say was trying to bite another horse, Speedquestor, when he was wedged into tight quarters between that horse and Flying Punch.

"But he [Turn Say] was being bounced around a lot and lost his action behind, which caused him to hit the other horse," said Larry Reynolds, Turn Say's jockey.

Electric Leix was moved up to second and Speedquestor was placed third. The disqualification cost Turn Say's owner, Oliver Goldsmith, $17,000 -- the difference between second- and fifth-place money.

But Goldsmith turned out to have an interesting day. He dropped in his Maryland Million Classic starter, Say Capp, for a $35,000 tag in the fourth race. The horse won and was claimed by trainer Jeff Runco for the Germania Stable of Aldie, Va.

Goldsmith also finished third with another starter, Kit's Contrivance, in the 10th race. Earlier in the day, his stakes-winning mare, Miss Slewpy, worked five furlongs in 1 minute, 4 1/5 seconds and is about three or four weeks away from returning to the races after a long vacation.

The winning time of 1:50 3/5 seconds for the Northern Dancer Stakes was the third slowest of 10 runnings.

But the win by Algar was appropriate.

The horse is a son of Horatius, but his dam, Countess Shorwind, is a granddaughter of Northern Dancer.

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