Laurel's turf suits Casey Tibbs just fine

Irish-bred horse rallies to win Fort McHenry 'Cap

July 05, 1999|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Although heat ruled the day at Laurel Park, rain may have been the key to yesterday's Fourth of July feature.

Casey Tibbs ventured from Belmont Park to win the $100,000 Fort McHenry Handicap, a 1 1/4-mile romp on turf. An Irish-bred son of Sadler's Wells, Europe's top sire, Casey Tibbs prefers "a little cut in the ground," said his assistant trainer, Christophe Lorieul. By that, he meant the 5-year-old horse likes turf that isn't like pavement. Lorieul said Laurel's turf, softened by recent rains, was perfect.

"He ran a huge race," said the assistant to Christophe Clement, who did not make the trip to Maryland.

Jockey Mario Pino rode wisely, steering the 2-1 Casey Tibbs to the rail in mid-pack, inching closer to the leaders down the backstretch, swinging wide in tight quarters around the turn and then waiting for an opening.

"Once he saw daylight, he shot right through," Pino said. "He was easily the best horse in the race."

Travis Dunkelberger didn't ride in the Fort McHenry because his mount, Private Slip, was scratched. The talented young jockey had been hot, coming in fresh off an unusual daily double: winning the Jockeys Across America Day sack race Saturday afternoon at Laurel Park and then winning the jockeys' foot race that evening at Charles Town.

Pub Date: 7/05/99

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