'Sunrise' does it his way in Campbell Setting pace, 9-year-old wins handicap for 3rd time

April 07, 1996|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The old-timer relived his past glory yesterday.

Winless in 18 months, Sunny Sunrise reached back for something extra yesterday and stood off stablemate Western Echo by a half-length to take the $100,000 John B. Campbell Handicap at Pimlico.

It was the 15th victory in 51 lifetime starts for the 9-year-old chestnut gelding, who pushed his career earnings above $1.3 million.

Pimlico and Sunny Sunrise are as compatible and tea and crumpets.

"He loves this track," said trainer Buddy Delp. "He's run here nine times and won five, including this race three times."

Sunny Sunrise took the 1992 edition of the Campbell with Mike Smith aboard and repeated in 1993 under Rick Wilson.

This time, the absence of Iron Gavel and More To Tell, New York-based contenders trained by Gasper Moschera, left the Delp-trained entry as a 3-to-2 favorite.

Iron Gavel, a graded stakes winner, and More To Tell raced instead in the $100,000 Westchester at Aqueduct, and neither showed on the board.

So, Sunny Sunrise had things his own way in setting the pace, which was quick.

"Jeff [Carle, jockey] did a good job rating him. The track was very fast and Sunny had the lead just like he wanted," said Delp.

The fractions were 23 2/5, 46 4/5 and 1: 10 4/5, normal for a horse of Sunny Sunrise's speed.

Delp believed Western Echo, five years younger, might come on to pass the other half of the entry and was almost right.

"I thought Western Echo would beat him because he's a young fellow [5]," said Delp. "I think Sunny's going to give him an inferiority complex."

In fact, four other horses had a shot at the leader rounding the final turn.

"The race starts when he decides it's going to start," said Carle, noting that Sunny Sunrise doesn't like undue urging. "He didn't feel like he was going that fast early, but the time showed he was."

First, Greatsilverfleet, then Knockadoon tried to take over, but Carle didn't notice. He was running his own race.

"I have a thing about not looking behind me," he said. "I heard some people at the quarter pole, but I didn't know who was coming.

"I never try to impose my will on this horse. He is a character and he does things his own way. Think of it: He's 9 and he runs his eyeballs out every time."

Western Echo edged Knockadoon by a neck for second place.

Note: The harness track near Ocean City has changed its name from Delmarva Downs to Ocean Downs, its original name from 1949 until 1986. Ocean Downs opens May 23.

Pub Date: 4/07/96

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