Among slim pickings, `Wire' tops in Fire Plug

Greenspring Willy takes 2nd in three-horse field

April 19, 1999|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

With the field pared to three horses by scratches and the heavyweights of the Maryland riding colony engaged elsewhere, Roberto Alvarado steered Wire Me Collect to a three-quarter-length victory over Greenspring Willy in the $60,000 Fire Plug Stakes at Pimlico yesterday.

It was an outstanding return from a layoff for the son of Clever Trick, who completed the six furlongs in 1: 10 and paid $4 as the even-money second choice. With nine wins in 26 career outings, Wire Me Collect has earned more than $550,000.

"I've been working this horse in the morning, and he's been doing really great," said Alvarado. "I'm glad I could come down and ride him for Mr. Camac [trainer Bob Camac]. I pretty much sat and waited until the top of the stretch, then let him make his one run. He just outfinished the other horse."

Long shot Baccarat set a solid early pace to set up the move by Wire Me Collect, who likes to run at another horse, according to Camac.

"He doesn't run his best races when he takes the lead too soon. It set up nice for him and the boy timed his move just right. He beat a very game Greenspring Willy."

Baccarat finished 15 lengths back of Greenspring Willy, who beat Wire Me Collect in December's Bowie Stakes. Jove Stone was a late scratch.

The Maryland Spring Challenge continued the run of optimism that has surrounded thoroughbred racing here this year.

"This meeting is off to a real good start, and it looks like there is renewed interest in racing," said Jim Mango, chief operations officer of the Maryland Jockey Club. "We had a great day with about a 7 percent increase across the board. So far, so good."

Attendance at Pimlico Saturday increased 5.47 percent over 1998, and the money bet out of state on the Maryland card was up 10.11 percent. Every other handle and attendance figure improved with the exception of four fewer fans at Laurel.

NOTES: Virginia bettors may not be able to wager on the Kentucky Derby at the state's betting sites unless Colonial Downs and its horsemen agree on a new contract. Horsemen in Kentucky have withdrawn permission for racing signals to be broadcast into Virginia until a deal is signed. Kentucky Derby day is a major revenue producer for the state's horse interests. Jockey Larry Dupuy, 44, recently recorded his 3,000th winner at Charles Town, 10 years after undergoing two heart bypass operations. Dupuy's stakes victories include five West Virginia Breeders' Classics.

Pub Date: 4/19/99

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