Angelos has a winner wire to wire Cormorant's Flight romps in Race Writers Handicap

January 28, 1996|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

If Cormorant's Flight's recent performances are any indication, Peter Angelos may be headed for a very successful year.

The Orioles owner's mare delivered another top-flight effort at Laurel Park yesterday, leading from wire to wire over 1 1/8 miles to dominate the $75,000 Maryland Race Writers Handicap.

Distance was the question for the daughter of Cormorant out of Double Suez. She had won the Francis Scott Key Stakes three weeks earlier -- but at six furlongs.

But, after getting distracted briefly at the three-eighths pole, Cormorant's Flight responded to jockey Mario Pino's urging with another strong move and won going away.

The margin was six lengths over Dancing Lassy, with the two favorites, Night Fax and Flirty Frosty, finishing third and fourth, respectively.

Angelos was not present -- he attended the Orioles' winter carnival -- to see Cormorant's Flight push her earnings above $300,000 with a $47,910 winner's share.

Winning trainer David Holstein said the horse is being pointed toward the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie, one of the headliners of the winter meeting, next month.

"She is a wonderful mare to train, just does everything you ask of her," said Holstein. "Really, there are other horses in the barn that I spend much more time with. She is a dream."

Speed was holding firmly all day on the sloppy track, so there really was no issue once Cormorant's Flight got back to business.

"I had a lot of horse," said Pino. "She spooked at the three-eighths pole and I got into her a little bit. She went right on."

Edgar Prado tried to keep up to an honest pace aboard Nappelon, but his horse "started slipping around about 5/16 from home. She just couldn't handle the track from that point on."

NOTES: Track superintendent John Passero closed Laurel for training yesterday morning, a choice he described as "very unpopular" with the horsemen. Passero said the weather was the major influence in his decision. Additionally, he was trying to assure that the surface would be ready for today's card after absorbing the heavy rains and an anticipated freeze last night. . . . Jockey Mark Johnston was fined $1,000 by the stewards for failure to exercise proper diligence" during the fifth race Thursday. Johnston raised up on his mount, California Rush, about a sixteenth of a mile before the end of a 7 1/2 -furlong race, which uses a finish line in front of the clubhouse. California Rush wound up being beaten by a neck by long shot Bermuda Petrel.

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