Half-hour power loss can't spoil Pimlico day

Sun, promotions bring big crowd to opening day

April 01, 1999|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

A minor electrical glitch couldn't short-circuit a glorious opening day at Pimlico Race Course yesterday.

Beautiful spring weather and a slew of first-day promotions combined to bring nearly 2,000 more persons to Old Hilltop than last year and swelled the crowd at the three major Maryland sites (Laurel Park and Rosecroft Raceway included) to 10,161. That was a 37 percent increase over 1998.

But the day had a gloomy spell when the power went out for about a half-hour at approximately 10 a.m.

"Something happened outside the facility that affected the power," said Jim Mango, chief administrative officer of the Maryland Jockey Club. "BG&E [Baltimore Gas & Electric] replaced a couple of fuses and we were back up. That kind of stuff happens all the time."

There was no rerun of the nightmare during the last Preakness Day, when large portions of the facility were without lighting, elevator service and totalisator machines for half the program.

Besides the brief power glitch, however, yesterday couldn't have been brighter.

With a nearly 50 percent increase in out-of-state betting to $2.1 million, the handle outstripped 1998's by 34 percent.

And, in the featured $60,000 Smart Halo Stakes, local runner Red's Lady came flying from last place in a five-horse field to win comfortably over Silent Valay by 1 1/2 lengths and master two New York invaders.

She pulled clear in the final sixteenth to finish six furlongs in 1: 11 4/5 over a fast track, carrying jockey Edgar Prado to his fourth victory on the card.

"This is another stakes winner I inherited from my dad [recently deceased Richard Dutrow]," said trainer Anthony Dutrow. "But this one is really special because she's named after him [initials R.E.D.]."

Dutrow scratched Diamonds And Legs and ran Red's Lady alone.

"I knew coming over here this filly was going to run a bang-up race. The two fillies from New York came in here with solid credentials. This gives me a good idea of where my filly stands."

Favored Paula's Girl was a game third behind local long shot Silent Valay, while the other New York entry, Striking Move, faded to finish last.

Red's Lady is owned by Saratoga Friends Stable, which includes Alvin Akman. Dick Dutrow purchased several horses for the stable at the Timonium sales and it had a stakes winner earlier in the aptly named Saratoga Friends.

"This filly is owned by a group of three couples, myself, Howard Bender and Herb Kushner," said Akman. "We go to Saratoga to run every year."

NOTES: The Maryland steeplechase season starts in earnest next Saturday with the running of the 89th My Lady's Manor race in Baltimore County. A two-race card starts at 2: 30 p.m. with gates opening at noon. General parking is $25 and family parking is $35. Subscriber parking at $75 and up is available through Ladew Topiary Gardens. For more information, call 410-557-9570.

Pub Date: 4/01/99

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