'Quest' finishes out of money in finale Colt fourth as highweight in Cigar Mile, but year's results delight Janney

November 29, 1998|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- In the final race of an ofttimes brilliant career, Coronado's Quest finished fourth yesterday in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct.

The lackluster performance as the 4-5 favorite likely eliminated the chestnut colt from serious consideration for the Eclipse Award as outstanding 3-year-old male.

Sir Bear, an unheralded 5-year-old gelding, wore down the leaders in the stretch and captured the Grade I, $300,000 stakes by a half length over Affirmed Success. Distorted Humor claimed third.

Based at Calder Race Course in southern Florida, Sir Bear paid $19 to win. The exacta returned $80.50 and the trifecta $700. Sir Bear raced one mile in 1 minute 34 seconds.

Although Coronado's Quest finished no better than fourth in his final three races, he soared to the top of the racing world this summer with twin Grade I victories in the Haskell Invitational Handicap and Travers Stakes. Earlier in Florida, his temperament in tatters, he was no sure bet even to survive the year.

"This has been a wonderful year," said Stuart S. Janney III, the majority owner of Coronado's Quest and a resident of Butler in Baltimore County. "If you'd have started the year and said, 'This is what this horse is going to accomplish,' you'd have said, 'That is absolutely wonderful.' "

After breaking from the outside in a field of eight, Coronado's Quest raced in fourth position down the backstretch. His jockey, Kent Desormeaux, kept him wide until the turn.

There, Coronado's Quest rushed past horses and challenged for the lead. But he was four wide against older horses who carried less weight. He could not sustain his drive.

Coronado's Quest was the only 3-year-old in the race, and still he toted highweight of 121 pounds. That may have taken its toll. Also, just three weeks ago in the Breeders' Cup Classic, he pushed his limits by racing 1 1/4 miles. He may not have fully recovered from that.

He retires with earnings of $2,046,190. He won 10 of 17 races.

In the next day or two, he will leave his stall in Shug McGaughey's barn at Belmont Park for the trip to Claiborne Farm in Kentucky. He will breed mares for a fee starting at $60,000 -- more than any other new stallion, including likely Horse of the Year Skip Away.

Janney said he had no second thoughts about retiring Coronado's Quest. A son of Forty Niner and the Damascus mare Laughing Look, Coronado's Quest is so richly bred that he became more valuable as a stallion than a racehorse.

"I think he'd have been a wonderful 4-year-old," Janney said. "But there wasn't really anything he could do next year that was going to make a difference, except if he got hurt or wasn't in really good form, he could hurt his stallion prospects.

"This way, he's going to get a superb book of mares. Everything's sort of in the right place for him."

One race before Coronado's Quest ended his career, Millions may have propelled his toward next year's Kentucky Derby. The 2-year-old from Leon Blusiewicz's barn at Pimlico overcame a wide trip and a bump in the stretch to take second in the Grade II, $200,000 Remsen Stakes.

Millions finished a neck behind Comeonmom, a 29-1 long shot who had won only once in five tries. Doneraile Court, the 9-5 favorite who cost $1 million as a yearling, led early but faded to fifth.

Wondertross, a full brother to Concerto, trained by Marylander John J. Tammaro III, charged from last to finish third at 57-1. He paid $17.80 to place.

Comeonmom returned $61 to win. The exacta paid $220 and the trifecta $7,714. A Florida-bred son of Jolie's Halo, Comeonmom traveled the 1 1/8 miles in 1 minute, 49 4/5 seconds.

Blusiewicz was delighted with Millions' effort, as was his jockey, Edgar Prado. Millions has raced only five times, winning three.

"He's still learning," Prado said. "But he ran hard. He was very game."

"He's a great horse," Blusiewicz said. "He'll be even better as a 3-year-old."

The trainer plans to send Millions to Hialeah Park for winter

racing that, he hopes, will culminate with the Florida Derby as a springboard to the Kentucky Derby.

In the Grade II. $200,000 Demoiselle Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, Magic Broad finished seventh for her Maryland connections -- Prado, trainer Richard W. Small and owner Robert E. Meyerhoff.

Tutorial crossed the wire first, but was disqualified to fifth for bumping horses in the stretch. Better Than Honour, the New York-based favorite, was placed first, Waltz On By second and Oh What a Windfall third.

Pub Date: 11/29/98

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