P Day takes 'Dancer' by 7 1/2 lengths Favorite stalks Raghib, pulls away to beat four

Laurel notebook

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

He was born on Preakness Day three years ago, a day on which Pat Day rode Timber Country to a narrow victory over local favorite Oliver's Twist.

So, naturally, he was named P Day in honor of both occasions.

And yesterday, the dark brown colt had a field day, romping to a 7 1/2 -length triumph over four rivals in the $100,000 Northern Dancer Stakes at Laurel Park.

There wasn't much competition for Charlie Hadry's entry after speedster Raghib relented at the six-furlong mark of the 1 1/8 -mile test. With Mario Verge aboard, P Day pulled away from Raghib easily and widened the margin to the wire. He ran the final furlong in a quick 12 1/5 seconds.

The post-time favorite in the field of Maryland-bred horses, P Day returned $4.40 to win, but set up a $34 exacta with the longest-priced horse, Swingin Verse.

"We let Raghib go to the lead," said Verge, "but we couldn't let him get away from us because he might steal the race. My horse was running so relaxed and when I asked him he really picked up the bit. He just exploded."

Assistant trainer Charlie J. Hadry said P Day "is much more comfortable with himself now. He's still growing and improving. We've changed his style a little bit [now going to or near the lead]."

Maryland Million Oaks winner Maragold Princess, a filly trying male opposition for the first time, never fired and finished last by 40 lengths.

Turf looms for Cup

Barring rain, the Laurel Turf Cup will actually be run on turf this year.

It was contested on the main track the previous two years, with Algar, the Maryland Million Classic winner, the victor in 1997. But the dry spell in the area probably means 12 will go to the grass in the Veteran's Day feature, a Grade III, $100,000 event at 1 1/2 miles.

Allen Paulson's Rice, a 6-year-old gelding trained by Bill Mott, is the 5-to-2 morning-line favorite, with no rider named.

Rice has been scoring regularly on the New York-New Jersey circuit.

The track is offering free admission to all active and retired military personnel who present proof of service at the gates. Post time for the first race Wednesday will be 12: 15 p.m.

Pub Date: 11/09/98

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