It's all 'Business' in Miracle Wood Stakes 2nd choice rallies to beat favored Spartan Cat

January 12, 1998|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The odds-on favorite, Spartan Cat, was apparently heading for victory in yesterday's $43,200 Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel Park when the distance caught up with him.

Second choice Mister Business lived up to his name in the final furlong, taking care of the task at hand under Joe Rocco to score a length triumph over 1 1/16 miles.

"He likes to goof off, play around and wait for horses," explained Rocco of his mount, who has three victories and two seconds in six lifetime starts.

"He kind of waits and looks around, then runs. This is how he won the last time -- by coming back."

Spartan Cat took a three-length lead in the stretch, then weakened in his first try at more than seven furlongs. What a Dilemma, the early pacesetter, also dropped back in the final eighth of a mile but held on to third.

Trainer Richard Trimmer said Mister Business, based at Philadelphia Park, is likely to return to Laurel for his next race because "they have a real good stakes program here.

"He'll probably come back in about a month and a half to run in a $50,000, 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds. He is getting better and better."

Trimmer referred to the Herat Stakes March 7.

With the field reduced to five by the scratches of Any Old Brandy and Ever Cat'n, Spartan Cat went off at 3-to-5 odds.

NOTES: Free House, who placed in all three Triple Crown races last spring, has suffered a setback in training and will not start in the $500,000 Strub Stakes next month. He hasn't run since finishing last of six in the Super Derby in September. Agents of this year's Kentucky Derby horses will have one minute to make their post-position selection under rules released by Churchill Downs. After the draw has been conducted, owners and trainers will have 10 minutes to discuss their choice of position. Laurel's schedule for next week will be amended with live racing on Monday, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The simulcast day will be shifted from Monday to Wednesday.

Pub Date: 1/12/98

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