Repeat in Crown Royal would put Awad over $2 million

March 09, 1996|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The road to the Triple Crown takes a detour today, and the national focus lands on Maryland-bred Awad.

No major 3-year-old prep races are scheduled this weekend, but Gulfstream Park could be the site of Awad's climb above $2 million in career earnings.

He is seeking a repeat victory in the Grade II, $300,000 Crown Royal Pan American Handicap, a 1 1/2 -mile event for older horses.

Awad won two Grade I stakes last year, the Early Times Manhattan and the Arlington Million. In his most recent outing, he rallied to finish fourth in the Grade II Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap, beaten by only two lengths.

His opposition today is expected to include Celtic Arms, the Breeders' Cup Handicap winner, and two-three finishers Broadway Flyer and Flag Down.

Meanwhile, at Laurel Park today, the two top 3-year-old fillies in the state hook up for the first time, meeting in the $60,000 Politely Stakes.

The seven-furlong race matches Secret Prospect, the Maryland-bred champ at 2, with Riverland, who returned from a six-month layoff to win the Notches Trace Stakes in her first start of the year.

Track oddsmaker Clem Florio has made Riverland the 3-to-1 overnight pick in a field of 10, with Secret Prospect right behind at 7-to-2.

Secret Prospect, trained by John Tammaro III, has won four of her past five races, losing by a neck to Ontherightwicket in the Maryland Juvenile Fillies Championship. She has won nearly $200,000.

Riverland, trained by Gerald Delp, is 3-for-4 lifetime, but has never gone more than six furlongs.

NOTE: Yesterday morning's snow knocked out live racing at Laurel, as well as at Aqueduct, Garden State and the Meadowlands.

Pub Date: 3/09/96

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