'Passion' puts doubts of stamina to rest Sprinter goes 1 1/8 miles, wins Northern Dancer

November 17, 1997|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Purple Passion had an excellent record while sprinting in New England this year, but after a poor effort at a distance on turf, there was a question about how long he could go.

The answer came yesterday in the $100,000 Northern Dancer Stakes, when Purple Passion led virtually all the way over 1 1/8 miles, scoring a half-length victory at 8-to-5 odds.

"Seven days ago, we brought the horse in from New England," said trainer Donald Barr. "The owner [Stella Kavazis] wanted to take a shot in Maryland. He had beaten older horses in New England, which is pretty good for a 3-year-old."

Barr was confident the colt could handle the added ground after working with him last week.

"He's never been this far before, but he's a big strong horse, so the owners were good enough to take a chance and supplemented him [for $1,000 entry fee]."

Jockey Alcibiades Cortez's instructions were to let the horse break and settle, not necessarily to send him to the front just to gain a lead.

"I didn't want him to get away from me," said Cortez. "He took off down the backstretch and I just sat on him waiting for the quarter pole. When I asked him to run, he really responded and was game to the wire."

Long shots Lay Low Halo and Dr. Best came from well off the pace to finish second and third, respectively, behind Purple Passion's 1: 52 2/5 clocking.

Art Mariatis, who managed Purple Passion in Massachusetts, said: "We've done so well with him. He's got a ton of talent and it was time he stepped up to tougher company."

Glory' gets win, bonus

Lonesome Glory wrapped up his fourth Eclipse Award as steeplechase horse of the year and captured a $250,000 bonus when he won the Colonial Cup in Camden, S.C., yesterday.

He held off Rowdy Irishman by a half-length in the 2 3/4 -mile event over hurdles.

The winner of the Carolina Cup last spring, Lonesome Glory thus swept the two biggest steeplechase races of the season and became the second four-time Eclipse winner (with Flatterer).

Maryland-based Tom Voss won two races on the card yesterday and finished as the nation's top trainer with 25 wins and more than $508,000 in purses won.

His stable rider, Jonathan Kiser, finished tied with Arch Kingsley as the leading rider with 23 wins.

Miscellaneous

The Maryland Racing Commission's regular monthly meeting, postponed last week because of a lack of a quorum, will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Pimlico Race Course. On the agenda are racing dates for 1998 and Bally's request to import quarter-horse simulcasts to Ocean Downs. Apprentice Jennifer Sisted has drawn a five-day suspension for her ride aboard Nawab on Saturday.

Pub Date: 11/17/97

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