First start on grass proves charm for 25-1 shot

Holditholditholdit wins Woodlawn Stakes by a head at Pimlico

May 02, 1999|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

He had never started on the turf and had won only once in eight lifetime starts. He was almost 25-to-1 on the tote board and appeared a little in over his head.

But Holditholditholdit defied the odds yesterday and staved off the fast-closing Pettit's Quest to win the $75,000 Woodlawn Stakes by a head at Pimlico Race Course.

It was an emotional first stakes win for ex-jockey Jeffrey Carle, who trains the colt for owner Rocky Richter.

"I was drawn to him out of 400 horses at the Timonium sales last year and picked him for $20,000," Carle said. "For three days I kept going back and looking at him, and every time I saw him, he kept looking at me like we belonged together. It felt like some kind of divine intervention.

"At one point he was the only horse I had in my barn, so this really makes it all worth it. I knew he was something special."

Holditholditholdit, by Hermitage out of No Stoppin' Me, had prepped well for his first grass start and jockey Steve Hamilton -- who got the mount late -- simply "sat off the speed a little bit. We got the lead and he held on down the lane."

Richter said he realized the horse could run on turf because of his bloodlines and said he may run back at Pimlico at the end of May.

Holditholditholdit returned $51.80 to win and completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1 minute, 42 3/5 seconds.

Rosy Derby Day handle

A whopping 20 percent rise in the handle wagered out of state on the Maryland program enabled the track to show an increase of more than $400,000 in overall betting on Kentucky Derby Day.

The total was $7,947,694, a 5.79 percent increase.

Slight declines marked the remainder of the Derby Day figures, with the total instate handle falling 2.45 percent. Attendance also fell slightly at Pimlico and Rosecroft Raceway and by 7.33 percent at Laurel Park.

Poor Jimmy's re-opened

Poor Jimmy's off-track betting facility in Cecil County was re-opened for betting yesterday under a six-month extension of its permit granted by the Maryland Racing Commission.

The site has been closed for a month because of the lack of physical improvements at the restaurant-parlor that is the nearest state competition for Delaware Park and its slots-driven revenue.

In the long range, the Maryland Jockey Club has agreed to a lease for the Holly Hall property that is part of the Big Elk Mall in Elkton. An application will be filed with the commission to conduct wagering at the new facility, beginning as soon as all permits and licenses are obtained and the interior of the building has been completed.

It is estimated that the new site will open in the fall.

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