Spartan Cat bides time, pounces at finish Angelos-owned horse wins Herat Stakes

'Carl' third

March 08, 1998|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The focus was on Just Call Me Carl's first try at a two-turn race, but Spartan Cat blurred the picture yesterday.

Marathon Farms' runner came barreling from off the pace in an outside lane and won the $54,550 Herat Stakes at Laurel Park by two lengths, further scrambling Maryland's Kentucky Derby picture.

Just Call Me Carl -- a winner of three straight -- finished third, beaten by a nose by runner-up Mr. Business, who was expected to provide the major competition in the 1 1/16-mile test.

The field included five Triple Crown nominees and three stakes winners.

But this was the first stakes triumph for Kentucky-bred Spartan Cat, a closer who had run second four straight times, once in his only attempt at a distance. A quick pace set by Running Copelan favored Spartan Cat's style, but not the trend of the day. Speed and the rail seemed golden, so trainer Dick Dutrow was a little worried.

"In most of the races, speed was really holding up," said Dutrow. "Horses weren't really coming today. But that didn't change our strategy."

Mr. Business -- running on Lasix for the first time -- and Just Call Me Carl moved in tandem just off the lead while Spartan Cat, with jockey Rick Wilson, bided his time.

"The first time he [Spartan Cat] went long, he made his move too quick," explained Wilson.

Spartan Cat, whose owner is Orioles owner Peter Angelos, made amends for losses to Running Copelan and Mister Business in his previous two starts and earned a trip to the $150,000 Gotham Mile at Aqueduct March 21.

Just Call Me Carl also may appear in that race after a commendable effort.

Simulcast vote nears

The boards of directors of the Maryland Horse Breeders' Association and Maryland Thoroughbred Horseman's Association are moving toward a vote on the new simulcast agreement with Rosecroft Raceway.

They met last week in working groups to discuss the pact, which involves the concept of revenue sharing between thoroughbred and harness interests.

"Nothing really changed as far as finalizing," said Tim Capps, executive director of the MHBA. "But I suspect there will be another meeting shortly."

Et cetera

Apprentice jockey Eve Weneck was seriously injured during a nasty spill in the ninth race Thursday. Weneck, 20, was taken to University of Maryland Medical Center's shock trauma unit after suffering chipped vertebrae. She is not paralyzed, but will be in an upper body cast for four to six months. Also injured was jockey Amy Cortez, whose mount, Doc's Rul, clipped heels and fell near the half-mile pole. Weneck's mount, Spanish Moss, fell over Doc's Rul. Cortez, 28, was treated and released from the medical center with a broken collarbone Jockey Frank Douglas was aboard a horse yesterday for the first time since his near-fatal accident at Timonium last summer. Douglas galloped Quiescent for Dr. Jim Casey and expects to return to riding competitively within a few weeks.

Pub Date: 3/08/98

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