Wayne Harrison has found a new way to celebrate.
Not so long ago, he used to treat his family to dinner if his horse racing operation broke even. Recently, he gets escorted to the Laurel Park VIP suite, where the track supplies the champagne and Harrison offers the toast.
The trend continued yesterday when Harrison's partnership procured the winner's share of the $100,000 All Along Stakes at Laurel Park. Doing the work was the 4-year-old filly named Another Legend, a 15-to-1 long shot who fashioned a wire-to-wire victory over six other foes in the defection-laden race.
There were seven scratches from the 1 1/8 -mile, Grade II race when the turf course came up yielding because of moist weather.
For Another Legend, the footing was fine. Jockey Omar Klinger broke her to the lead, where she set steady fractions. A modest six-furlong split of 1: 19 4/5 clearly meant that Another Legend had something left for the stretch run.
She needed it. Short Time pulled alongside with a furlong remaining, and appeared poised to go by. But Another Legend repelled that rally, then fended off the late-charging and heavily favored Blushing Groom to win by a half-length. Short Time was third.
It was the sixth victory in Another Legend's 30-race career, but her first in Maryland. Harrison's partnership includes a pair of New Jersey residents who rarely venture here. Harrison, a contractor from Potomac, didn't mind posing in the winner's circle alone.
Another Legend ran her career earnings to $320,000 with yesterday's win, not bad for a $15,000 yearling purchase.
"This was my Breeders' Cup," Harrison said. "I certainly didn't mind all the scratches, but I liked my chances anyway."
Harrison, 47, a fourth-generation horse owner, has liked his chances since he united with trainer Vincent Blengs about five years ago. Blengs, who trains Another Legend, has taken Harrison from the toils of racing at Charles Town (W. Va.) and bottom claiming races in Maryland.
"I never made a profit until I met Vinnie," Harrison said. "He runs them where they can, or he gets rid of them. He takes pride in making horses pay their way for his owners. It's a good philosophy."
The Harrison-Blengs partnership began at a Timonium sale when Harrison's trainer was a no-show. Blengs showed an interest and the two have yielded profits. Among dozens of other allowance and stakes races, they took the 1995 Maryland Million Classic with Brilliant Patriot.
Blengs splits his time between New Jersey, Maryland and Florida tracks and wasn't here yesterday.
Pub Date: 10/28/96