'Skier' wins $100,000 Va. stakes Race is richest to date at Colonial Downs track

September 14, 1997|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. -- For the first time in its brief history, Colonial Downs offered a $100,000 stakes. The result was a race any track in the country yesterday would have been proud to run.

Appealing Skier wore down Valid Expectations in the stretch to capture the $100,000 Virginia Is For Lovers Stakes at this two-week-old track in southern Virginia between Richmond and Williamsburg.

When it was run in Maryland, the race was the Chesapeake Stakes. But this is the inaugural season of the Maryland-Virginia racing circuit, and Colonial Downs management thought Virginia Is For Lovers had an unmistakable appeal.

It did for Appealing Skier, one of the country's top sprinters as a 3-year-old who this year at the age of 4 had won only once in nine tries. For his victory in the six-furlong dash, Appealing Skier paid $11.60 and topped a $63.40 exacta and $367.80 trifecta. Viv closed from last for third.

Appealing Skier's time of 1 minute, 9 4/5 seconds was the fastest six furlongs here so far.

The Virginia Is For Lovers Stakes attracted not only Appealing Skier from New Jersey and Valid Expectations from Illinois, but also Cat Be Nimble from Delaware and top Maryland sprinters Romano Gucci, Viv and Wise Dusty.

Wise Dusty bolted into the lead, but faltered down the stretch as 4-1 Valid Expectations and 9-2 Appealing Skier battled side-by-side to the wire. Appealing Skier prevailed by a neck.

Ben Perkins Jr., son of Appealing Skier trainer Ben Perkins Sr., saddled the winner in his father's absence. He said the colt underwent minor throat surgery a month ago that cleared up a breathing problem.

"He was kind of stuck in second there for a while," Perkins Jr. said of Appealing Skier's five second-place finishes this year. "The procedure really seemed to help."

Although Rick Wilson took a flight in from New York to ride Appealing Skier, Marylander Mark Johnston ruled the day by winning five of yesterday's 10 races. He edged within one of Edgar Prado's meet-leading 15 victories.

A crowd of 3,545 wagered $208,128, an improvement over recent days, but still far below management's projection of 4,000 fans betting $400,000.

Pub Date: 9/14/97

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