Concerto finishes with a flourish Kinsman entry holds on by a head in Laurel's Congressional Handicap

November 30, 1998|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

They were all there yesterday.

Algar, the Maryland Million Classic winner. Waited, who beat Algar in their last meeting. Testafly, who ran a respectable third to Skip Away. Warrenpeace, a nose loser to Algar in the Classic.

But when the $100,000 Congressional Handicap ended, former Kentucky Derby runner Concerto was in the Laurel Park winner's circle after holding off Waited by a head in a stirring stretch run.

"His class won," said Don Gross, a shipper who represented trainer Bill Mott. "He did what he was supposed to do. Today, I think they knew they had this horse to beat."

The favorite, Early Warning, took his speed to the front for only a half-mile before yielding to Concerto, who carries the colors of George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Stable. Concerto opened up by almost two lengths before Waited came roaring down the lane under Alberto Delgado.

They went head and head for several strides before Waited hung slightly after taking a very wide route in the duel.

Winning jockey Herberto Castillo said he "didn't want to be" up front early "but the horse was taking me there and I didn't want to discourage him any. He did the same thing the last time I rode him at Delaware Park in the Brandywine Handicap.

"He looked like a beaten horse at the top of the stretch, but he switched leads, pinned his ears back and took off again. He showed his class. I was more worried about someone else coming farther outside."

Algar rallied to be third, while Early Warning, ridden by one of Kentucky's top riders, Shane Sellers, faded to fourth. The horse was scratched from Saturday's Annapolis Stakes to run against older rivals yesterday.

Concerto covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2 minutes, 3/5 of a second, less than a second off the track record.

Delgado said Waited "is one of the best horses in Maryland. The other horse just out-gained me, but he won't beat me again."

NOTES: It was an unusual day at the track and a bonanza for long-shot bettors. After Loaf scored an $86.40 victory in the third race, two horses won back to back at better than 50-1 odds.

Charmster paid $120.80 in the fourth and Runaway Brian returned $118.40 in the fifth. There were no records available to indicate the last time that had happened in Maryland. In addition, Stellar Brush and Speedy Delivery, trained by Dick Small and Michael Dickinson, respectively, finished in a dead heat in the seventh. The Maryland Racing Commission basically left intact a provision in the regulations about the penalty to trainers whose horses are scratched late because of no lip tattoo or matching foal papers. But it imposed a minimum fine of $1,000 in such cases.

Pub Date: 11/30/98

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