Fappitass could start Van Berg streak Favored in Laurel's last graded feature of year

November 18, 1995|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,SUN STAFF

Expect the Maryland string of Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg to start visiting the winner's circle with regularity in the next few weeks.

That's the word from his son, Tom, who trains the 30-horse stable out of the Preakness barn at Pimlico Race Course.

A streak might even begin today.

The Van Berg outfit runs one of its stable stars, Fappitass, in Laurel Park's last graded feature of the year, the $75,000 Carousel Stakes.

It's the first time the winner of $334,159, who was claimed in California by the elder Van Berg for $80,000 a couple of years ago, has run in Maryland.

But like the Challedon Stakes a couple of weeks ago, the Carousel drew an extremely competitive field or, what Tom Van Berg, 26, refers to as "a pretty salty group."

Track oddsmaker Clem Florio made Fappitass, a stakes winner on both turf and dirt, a slight favorite over Maryland Million winner Churchbell Chimes and Night Fax, who won the Delaware Handicap.

Night Fax prefers distances of 1 1/4 miles or more, but her jockey, Jeff Carle, is confident she'll handle today's distance of 1 1/8 miles.

"The problem is there's not much pace," Van Berg said. "Calipha is the lone speed, and who knows how brave she'll get if she goes out there unchallenged?"

Seven of the eight fillies and mares in the lineup are stakes winners. Van Berg regards Plenty of Sugar as the horse to beat. Lately, that Canadian-bred mare has been running strictly on turf. She was scheduled to go against Fappitass in the Long Look Stakes at the Meadowlands last month, but was scratched because of a wet track.

Fappitass finished second in the Long Look. She was ridden by Herb McCauley, "who wanted to come down and ride her, but couldn't get out of a commitment [at Churchill Downs] today," Van Berg said.

Instead, Larry Reynolds gets the mount.

Over half of Van Berg's Maryland horses are owned by Louisiana oilman John Franks.

"As long as Mr. Franks supports us, we plan to make Maryland a permanent location. So far, I love it here."

He added that the racing "is tougher than we anticipated. So we're adjusting the original slate of horses we brought in a couple of months ago. We've also got 16 2-year-olds. A lot of those will just be getting to the races during December, so that's when we should be a lot more active."

Nationwide, Jack Van Berg has four divisions with two of them in California, one in Maryland and one in Oklahoma. His total stable consists of 125 horses.

"And he's on the phone to me every night wanting to know what mine are up to," said Tom Van Berg.

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