Influent justifies unruly reputation with 3rd at Pimlico

July 25, 1996|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

True to form, Influent stood in the starting gate, spotted his competitors a two-length head start, and then played catch-up in yesterday's eighth race at Pimlico.

Influent, a speedy horse hampered by an ornery temperament, ran his heart out to finish third. As he tends to do, he started too slow and then ran too out-of-control in the 1 1/16-mile, $20,500 allowance race on turf to have sufficient energy left at the end.

Nevertheless, he crossed the wire a mere length behind the winner, Johnny Prospector, and a half-length behind the second-place finisher, Electric Image. After tying a track record at Laurel Park in his last race -- his first on grass -- Influent was the 4-5 favorite and carried 122 pounds, as did the winner.

"He ran good," said Influent's trainer, Katy Voss, who has tried everything to make the 5-year-old gelding break alertly and then relax during the race. "Mario [Pino, jockey] tried to settle him, but the horse kind of dragged him around the turn. It wasn't Mario's idea to go five-wide around the upper turn."

Pino can't slow down the powerful horse when he finally starts running. After starting late, Influent apparently figures he must pass every horse as quickly as possible.

"He's kind of scary to ride," Pino said. "He'll run right over horses if you let him. Ever since I rode him he never left the gate on time yet. If he would just break, he'd make my job a lot easier."

Pub Date: 7/25/96

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