Greenspring Willy takes step forward Smarten colt wins Stryker for 3rd victory in 4 start

Laurel notebooks

March 09, 1998|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Last year, Greenspring Willy was running at a moderate claiming level and doing all right for himself.

Now, the Smarten colt is a stakes winner, the second straight for trainer Dick Dutrow during the weekend.

Greenspring Willy came from slightly off the pace under jockey Larry Reynolds and beat favored P Day by three lengths in the $60,000 Goss L. Stryker Stakes yesterday at Laurel Park to mark his third win in four starts.

It was a significant step forward for the Maryland-bred owned by a syndicate of Baltimore-based businessmen, but he isn't likely to stretch longer than the seven furlongs he ran yesterday.

"I don't think he'll go longer than seven," said Dutrow, who sent out Peter Angelos' Spartan Cat to victory in Saturday's Herat Stakes. "There's really nothing on the agenda."

Dutrow was concerned about the inside post going into a race that include more seasoned stakes entrants like P Day and Malaka Head, winner of the Maryland Juvenile Championship.

"Would the mud hitting him in the face be a problem?" Dutrow said before the race. "But we didn't change anything. We wanted to push the button and make one run. We knew he would come."

Malaka Head set honest early fractions over the sloppy track, then was headed at the eighth pole by P Day and Greenspring Willy and finished third.

Reynolds said Greenspring Willy "is a little aggressive and likes to lean on other horses. If he's behind, then he's fine but he wants to lug in and out when beside another horse.

"I stayed behind Malaka Head and angled out at the top of the stretch," Reynolds said. "Once we got by Malaka Head, it was all over."

The addition of blinkers and Lasix has helped Greenspring Willy, whose only defeat in four races since then was by a nose.

The race wasn't over until the objections were over, however. Paul Seefeldt, trainer of fourth-place Please Baby Please, claimed foul against Greenspring Willy. Saturday Punch, with jockey Walter Cullum, claimed against Please Baby Please.

Both were disallowed by the stewards. The other unusual happening was the finish of the six horse field (1-2-3-4-5-6).

Alvin Akman, speaking for the group Post Time 96, said that each of the syndicate's horses is named for syndicate members. "Today was Willie Hirshfeld's day."

Also in the group are Al Snell, Henry Rosenberg, Joe Brazius, Marty Mintz and Jack Luskin.

Douglas ready to return

Jockey Frank Douglas said yesterday he has been exercising horses for several weeks and is ready to return to competitive riding next month.

"I'm going to ride the first day at Pimlico," said Douglas, who was involved in a brutal spill at Timonium last summer that threatened his life.

"I had four out in the rain and slop this morning and worked the first one out of the gate yesterday."

Detroit track closing

Another track is folding.

Officials of Ladbroke Racing Michigan told the Daily Racing Form that they will close Detroit Race Course after the 1998 season after the property is sold to a developer.

Detroit will begin its final meeting March 28 and run through Nov. 28.

It is the third track to close in the Midwest in the past two years. First was Aksarben in Nebraska followed by Arlington International near Chicago.

Et cetera

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced that it has reached 80 percent participation with North American tracks. The organization is set to launch next month as a nonprofit group to promote interest and improve the financial position of the sport. Colonial Downs' first harness meeting, a 43-day stand, starts April 24. It will operate Thursday through Sunday with a 7 p.m. post time except on Sunday (1 p.m.). The $40,000 Colonial Downs Pace on closing day (July 5) is the headliner.

Pub Date: 3/09/98

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