Higher Strata edges Foxie G by nose in Surprise Stakes Winner breaks in front, ends rival's 3-game streak

March 04, 1996|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Higher Strata finally got him.

Winless against Foxie G since last November, Donald Souder's horse gained revenge yesterday with a nose victory in the $31,800 Endless Surprise Stakes at Laurel Park.

But Higher Strata needed some help to break the three-race winning streak by Foxie G, who skipped the General George Stakes because the interval between starts was too short.

A 7-pound weight advantage didn't hurt. Then Foxie G got tied up along the rail behind the leader just long enough to prevent him from overtaking his rival.

"We had to swing off the rail to go around him," explained Foxie G's rider, Edgar Prado, who had three victories on yesterday's card. "Then we had to give up the pounds. Maybe those two things kept him from winning."

As is his custom, Higher Strata zoomed right to the front in the six-furlong -- for older horses. Foxie G, a 1-2 favorite, broke fifth, but was challenging in second by the half-mile point.

Down the lane, it was strictly a two-horse battle with Game Quoit finishing 2 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up.

"He always tries and tries right to the end," Souder said of Higher Strata, who has two stakes wins for his owner-trainer since being claimed. "I knew he'd be trying today because he's been training so well and he loves to run."

Mario Pino, the victorious jockey, knew he "had the only real speed in the race and I thought he'd have a big chance to win it. He's a neat little horse and really digs in."

Pino said Higher Strata responded well when he wanted to establish a clear lead.

"He was real relaxed and confident," said the jockey.

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