Inside Affair digs in for Marlboro victory

Turf filly switches to dirt to win at Laurel, forcing tough decision for trainer

July 11, 1999|By Pete Bielski | Pete Bielski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Anthony Dutrow is violating his own rules, and not minding one bit.

The veteran trainer strongly believes that horses should specialize in racing on one surface and not switch from dirt to grass and back again.

And then there's his filly Inside Affair, turning Dutrow into a hypocrite of sorts. Fresh off an impressive win on the grass at Monmouth Park, Dutrow had his prize filly winning yesterday's $50,000 Marlboro Handicap on Laurel Park's dirt course.

Jockey Edgar Prado did the honors, riding the 4-year-old from just off the pace to prevail with relative ease as the 4-to-5 favorite. She completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1 minute, 49.7 seconds. Gold Court rallied from fifth in the six-horse field and was second.

"I believe a horse should be on the dirt or on the grass," Dutrow said. "They have to be better on one than the other. The owner told me she'd be better on grass and to try it, and she won. But I couldn't pass up this spot."

It was Inside Affair's third win from four starts for Dutrow, who started training the daughter of Black Tie Affair in May for owner Harold Queen of Ohio. Queen purchased Inside Affair as a 2-year-old for $30,000 and raced her in Florida and New York previously.

The Marlboro gives her eight wins from 15 starts and $182,000 in earnings. It also give Dutrow a dilemma: Is it turf or dirt?

"She runs so good on dirt," Dutrow said. "A horse is supposed to be all it can be at something. As a trainer, I believe I need to find what that is and focus on that. There's a lot more to training them to be a turfer than just putting them on it.

"Guys like Barclay Tagg and Michael Dickinson are specialists at training on the grass. There are things I don't know. I guess it's a tough call."

Inside Affair is one of six Queen-owned horses in Dutrow's stable, including Loen Salt, who owns a five-race win streak.

For Prado, turf or dirt, it makes no difference. He won two on the grass yesterday, giving him the winner's share of the day's three largest purses, all with heavy favorites. For Prado, carrying the majority of bettors' money adds no extra pressure.

"Being on the favorite just means I have a good chance to win," he said. "It's not pressure. Pressure is when you only get one ride a day and you have to make money from that mount to put food on your table.

"If riding favorites is pressure, I can handle this."

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