Expensive bump warrants closer look

On Horse Racing

April 28, 1996|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

The battle down the stretch in last weekend's $100,000 Jennings Handicap at Pimlico was one not to be forgotten: The track's two top jockeys on two game horses, matching strides, heads bobbing, all the way to the wire.

And it won't be forgotten.

On June 12, the Maryland Racing Commission will watch tapes of the race from every conceivable angle, and then probably watch them again, as it settles a dispute stemming from the horses' bumping a few yards from the finish line.

The stewards ruled that Bay Capp, who stuck his head across the wire first, drifted out in the stretch and bumped Say Capp, costing him momentum and the race. The stewards reversed the order of finish, placing Say Capp first and Bay Capp second.

But Bay Capp's stable has appealed the stewards' decision, forcing the issue onto the agenda of the racing commission's regular June meeting.

"We rule on these appeals all the time," said Allan C. Levey, commission chairman. "But usually they're for much lesser stakes. This is a pretty big one."

The winner's share of the $100,000 purse is $60,000. Second place pays $20,000. The reversal not only cost Bay Capp's connections $40,000, but also cost the 7-year-old gelding his seventh straight victory.

Edgar Prado, the track's leading jockey, rode Bay Capp. Larry Reynolds, the second-leading jockey, rode Say Capp. Immediately after the race, Reynolds filed an objection.

The two horses are related. Turn Capp is Say Capp's mother and Bay Capp's grandmother.

The 1 1/8 -mile Jennings Handicap was part of last Saturday's Maryland Spring Challenge, which featured four races for Maryland-breds.

Favorite suspect?

Clem Florio, veteran handicapper renowned for judging a horse's performance by its appearance, sees something he doesn't like in Kentucky Derby favorite Unbridled's Song.

Now the track handicapper at Pimlico, Florio says that Unbridled's Song spread his hind legs apart as he ran toward the wire in his past two races. Florio suspects that the highly regarded colt spreads his legs trying to protect himself from something bothering him physically.

Florio says that was especially evident down the stretch of the April 13 Wood Memorial, which Unbridled's Song won but not before losing a couple of lengths to the lesser colt In Contention. The trainer and owner of Unbridled's Song said afterward that their horse expended just enough energy to win, leaving plenty in the tank for the Kentucky Derby.

"He just looked like something was bothering him," Florio said. "He looks to me like a horse going off form."

Florio said he'll watch Unbridled's Song warm up before the Kentucky Derby, and if the horse looks "cranky, scratchy, crabby -- like something's bothering him, I'm going to tap out betting against him."

Geri's on way

Geri, perhaps the best horse most Americans have never heard of, is slated to run in the $600,000 1 3/16-mile Pimlico Special on May 11, one week before the Preakness.

In polls ranking the top thoroughbreds in North America, Geri consistently places No. 2 behind Cigar. Both are trained by Bill Mott. Cigar, who won the Special last year, is not entered this year, but a third Mott horse, Wekiva Springs, is.

In their last start, the Grade I $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 6, Geri and Wekiva Springs ran 1-2. It was the sixth straight win for Geri, a 4-year-old chestnut son of Theatrical.

Other potential starters in the Pimlico Special are Dare and Go, Key of Luck, Star Standard and Western Echo.

Progress in dispute

The labor dispute at Rosecroft Raceway continues, but union and management at the Prince George's County harness track report positive developments.

The union representing pari-mutuel clerks, backstretch security and parking and admissions workers has pushed back a possible strike one more week, to May 6, to consider a new proposal from management.

Harry Manley, business manager of Local 27 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, said the proposal was "a step in the right direction." And Dennis Dowd, president of Rosecroft, said negotiations are continuing "almost in a kind manner.

"They understand our problems, and we understand their problems," Dowd said.

Meanwhile, Rosecroft has cut back live racing from five to four nights a week because of a shortage of horses. The shortage, Dowd said, is due to competition from Dover Downs, the Delaware harness track with higher purses from slot-machine profits.

Pimlico adjustments

Pimlico begins its revised racing schedule this week.

Until the end of its spring meeting June 9, Pimlico will race on Wednesdays instead of Thursdays. On Thursdays, it will offer simulcasts only. The weekly schedule will have live racing on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

However, there are exceptions, mainly because of the Preakness, which is Saturday, May 18.

During Preakness week, Pimlico will conduct no racing Monday and Tuesday -- but will open for simulcasts Tuesday. And it will race that Thursday. It will offer simulcasts only the Sunday after the Preakness.

Finally, Pimlico will race Memorial Day, which is Monday, May 27, but will be closed the next day.

Pub Date: 4/28/96

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