Prado barely misses 500th Jockey wins 5 races

last mount breaks down in lead near finish line

'We were just cruising'

Pursuit of milestone resumes today at Laurel

November 30, 1997|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

What was looming as jockey Edgar Prado's most momentous day in horse racing took a sudden, bizarre twist in yesterday's final race at Laurel Park.

Prado was loping along toward his 500th victory of the year when the filly he was riding, You Don't Say, broke down less than one-sixteenth of a mile from the wire.

The field roared past before Prado's mount limped home and finished last in a field of nine $8,500 claiming horses. Favored Miss Malcolm F. went by first to capture the victory under Walter Cullum.

You Don't Say was euthanized after the race. Prado escaped the incident uninjured and will almost assuredly become only the fourth North American jockey in history to amass 500 winners on today's card.

"We were just cruising," said Prado, who had already booted home five winners on the card to reach 499 for the year. "I don't know what happened. She must have stepped on something.

"Luckily, no one was near me and she was pretty brave. I always feel bad for the horse when something like this happens."

Prado entered the day needing six wins and set the tone immediately by taking the opener with first-time starter Hang The Moon, which paid $4.80.

He also won the fourth race with Chasseresse ($2.80), the sixth with Time And Chance ($13.20), the seventh with Palette Knife ($3.40) and the Grade III, $100,000 Carousel Stakes with Profit Column ($6).

"It was like winning the Kentucky Derby," Prado said of yesterday's earlier successes.

In the feature, Prado chose to ride Profit Column over another of his favorite mounts, Double Stake, and it proved a sage choice.

Double Stake led into the stretch under Joe Rocco but weakened and Profit Column took over at the sixteenth pole. The chestnut filly, favored in the betting, held off second choice Winter Melody by a half-length to prevail in 1 minute, 51 3/5 seconds over 1 1/8 miles.

"We laid four or five lengths off the pace until I asked her to go with five-sixteenths left and she really kicked in," said Prado of Profit Column, who has won four straight. "Once in front, she was waiting for competition so I tapped her and she finished real strong."

"She has come around good the last six weeks," said trainer Jimmy Murphy. "She had some problems, but we got them straightened out."

That set up what could have been a glorious final act for Prado, who was being cheered on vociferously by a rail crowd that was into his achievement.

All was going smoothly until You Don't Say stopped, her right foreleg injured badly. Prado was hand-riding the horse at the time and held her together to the wire.

"It's all very exciting with all the people here waiting for me to win the 500th," said Prado, who will join Sandy Hawley, Chris McCarron and Kent Desormeaux in the elite company.

"All I can do is try again tomorrow," Prado said of the misfortune at the end. "What is meant to be is going to be. I just keep on riding. Every win counts after 500, too."

He is named on a mount in every event on today's 10-race program.

Prado watch

Edgar Prado is one victory short of becoming become the fourth jockey in history to win 500 races in one year. Based in Maryland, Prado will be riding at Laurel Park as he counts down to the milestone.

Wins in 1997: 499

Yesterday's results: Prado won five races on yesterday's card, starting with the first race aboard Hang the Moon. His other winners were Chasseresse in the fourth, Time And Chance in the sixth, Palette Knife in the seventh and Profit Column in the featured Carousel Stakes.

Today's mounts: Prado is scheduled to ride in all 10 races, including Maragold Princess in the featured Heavenly Cause Stakes.

Pub Date: 11/30/97

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