Traitor, one of Maryland's hopes for glory in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness, was removed from the Triple Crown trail yesterday after showing signs of wear and tear from his demanding schedule.
Mary Eppler, the colt's Pimlico-based trainer, said that, after discussions with the horse's owner, Alfred G. Vanderbilt, they have decided to give Traitor time off instead of pushing him toward the spring classics. He was to have raced Saturday in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.
"He will not run in the Wood or any of the Triple Crown races," Eppler said. "I don't want to hurt the horse."
After an outstanding 2-year-old season, Traitor was beginning to train as a 3-year-old earlier this year in Florida. But while walking off the track in February at Hialeah Park, he became spooked by an unruly horse and lunged into a rail. That accident caused him to miss training.
Ever since, Eppler said, she has tried to condense his conditioning into a schedule that would have him ready on May 3 for the Kentucky Derby. But yesterday, she said, she and Vanderbilt finally agreed that they were asking too much of the horse.
"I was having to push him," Eppler said. "I was working him every six days -- hard. It was just too much."
Since his race last month at a training center in Florida -- his first in nearly six months -- Traitor had lost weight, Eppler said, a sign he wasn't adapting to the rigorous training.
She said she would give him two or three weeks off at her farm, and then try to prepare him for racing this summer.
In February last year, Vanderbilt sent Eppler to a horse sale in Florida to buy a 2-year-old with Kentucky Derby promise. For $102,000, Eppler bought Traitor. And he showed promise, winning the Grade I Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park.
5 in a row at Pimlico
The eyes of racing fans darted from track to track yesterday, as major races unfolded across the country. But fans needed to look no farther than Pimlico Race Course for the day's most extraordinary happening.
Offspring of Allen's Prospect, the state's leading sire, won five races in a row at Pimlico. The winners of the fourth through eighth races were Technician (out of the mare Tetrad), Accusation (out of Danseuse Rose), Ordnance (out of Ratana), Waited (out of Lydia Ann) and Insideangle (out of Table Angle).
"That could be some kind of a record," said Joe Pons, a member of the Pons family that runs Country Life Farm near Bel Air, where Allen's Prospect stands. "Five in a row at a major racetrack. That's really something."
The Pons family bought Allen's Prospect in 1986 from Allen E. Paulson, for whom the horse is named. Paulson had raced the horse, who in seven starts won three, finished second once and third twice. He was a headstrong sprinter with speed no jockey could control, until a fractured splint bone ended his career.
As a sire, he was an instant success. And he hasn't let up.
In 1995, his offspring won 106 races -- more than the offspring of any other stallion in North America. In 1996, his offspring won 102 races, including nine stakes, and earned $3.2 million. That placed him 25th on the North American sires' earnings list.
This year, he's soared into the top 10.
"He's as hard-headed, single-minded now as he was as a racehorse," said Josh Pons, manager of Country Life Farm. "When he raced, you couldn't rate him, couldn't make him do anything he didn't want to do.
"He's still that way. If you're not ready with a mare when he comes out to breed, you'd better get ready. He'd be king of the jungle if he was in the wild."
Traffic Circle, a visitor from New York, outbattled Clash by Night in a furious stretch duel yesterday to win the $100,000 John B. Campbell Handicap at Pimlico.
Santa Anita Derby
In California, Free House, the son of a $500 stallion, won the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby and spoiled the day for the $900,000 filly from D. Wayne Lukas' stable.
The filly Sharp Cat joined many of Lukas' colts in falling by the wayside on the Kentucky Derby trail, fading to sixth in a field of 10 after leading much of the way.
As Sharp Cat faltered, perhaps the best 3-year-old filly in the land, Glitter Woman, sparkled at Keeneland, Ky.
The 1-5 favorite waltzed to a 6 1/2 -length victory in the $500,000 Grade I Ashland Stakes to remain unbeaten in four races this year.
Kentucky Derby hopeful Frisk Me Now ran off to a 5 1/4 -length victory in the $200,000 Flamingo Stakes at Hialeah. He paid $3.80 to win. Gold Book finished second, and Michelle'sallhands third.
Atticus surged to a three-length victory in the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.
Pub Date: 4/06/97