`Jovial' stops skid with rally past `Luv'

Broad Brush's son claims Montpelier

`Sunny' wins


July 18, 1999|By Kent Baker and Tom Keyser | Kent Baker and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Jovial Brush surged from behind to overtake favored Search for Luv in the stretch and pulled away for a 1 3/4-length triumph in the $75,000 Montpelier Stakes, the topper of the De Francis Dash undercard yesterday at Laurel Park.

The victory broke a four-race drought for the gray son of Broad Brush, whose last win was at Delaware Park in April.

Trainer Dick Small credited his jockey, Jozbin Santana, with a strong ride over the six-furlong distance of the MATCH series race that drew only five entries.

"Jozbin did a good job riding this horse," said Small. "He's not the easiest to ride. For him to win, everything has to go his way and today they did. I have to give the rider most of the credit."

Fast fractions turned by Starthatshines was the perfect setup for Jovial Brush, who came four wide into the lane, drew clear of the favorite and drove home to the $45,000 winner's share.

"He did it all by himself," Santana said of his mount. "All I did was steer him. I was a passenger. I've been working the horse in the morning and I felt very lucky to ride for Mr. Small."

Search for Luv, at 4-to-5 odds with Edgar Prado aboard, held off Perfect Score by less than a length for the place. The winning time was 1: 09 2/5.

Smart Sunny run smartly

Shane Sellers didn't know anything about Smart Sunny when he "picked up the mount at the last minute" for the $60,000 Mr. Diz Stakes on the turf.

But that wasn't a factor, as they sprinted away from Private Slip by 3 1/2 lengths at nearly 11-to-1 odds to easily beat a field of 10.

"On paper, I though for sure this horse would stay off the pace, but two or three jumps into the race, I was in front," Sellers said. "They were letting me set slow fractions and I had him going easy. I was pretty sure they were not going to let me keep it up, but when I got to the top of the stretch I was still out front easy. I knew it would be a sprint to the wire.

"This horse ran very nice and we may have just outsmarted this field."

Owner Raymond Makarovich credited trainer Howard Wolfendale with turning a $14,500 claimer into a "stakes winner in a year. That is quite a feat."

The winning time of 1: 08 3/5 was two-fifths of a second off the turf-course record for the distance.

Bayonet noses out win

With unbeaten Clever Gem's connections opting for a more lucrative race at Monmouth Park, Bayonet denied Get the Picture a place in the winner's circle by a nose in the $50,000 Frugal Doc Maryland Million Stakes.

In a rerun of their meeting in allowance company June 24, Bayonet had a more serious challenge as Get the Picture staged a furious rally through the lane, briefly took the lead at the eighth pole and challenged to the wire.

Bayonet had prevailed by 2 1/4 lengths earlier.

"That other horse came up alongside me and put a head in front," said Prado, the winning jockey. "We were in a real fight to the finish. My horse ran a game race."

"This time we were stalking him instead of him stalking me," said runner-up Mario Pino. "I was right on top of him at the end but he seemed a little much. My horse dug in. We were just beaten."

Bayonet earned $21,000 for Dogwood Stable, running 1 1/8 miles in 1: 49 4/5, and will stay on the dirt unless a suitable opportunity arises on turf, according to trainer Graham Motion.

Preakness day aftermath

Yes It's True avoided injury May 15, Preakness Day, by barely missing an intruder on the track during the Maryland Breeders' Cup Handicap at Pimlico. Two other horses weren't so lucky.

Artax wrenched an ankle swerving around the man, the horse's trainer, Louis Albertrani, said from Belmont Park last week, but that wasn't why Artax did not run in yesterday's De Francis Dash. But the injury interrupted Artax's training, causing him to skip the Metropolitan Handicap on May 29 at Belmont Park. And that threw him off schedule.

Instead, Artax raced a week later, June 5, finishing second in the True North Handicap. Then he raced July 4, just 14 days ago, finishing third in the Tom Fool Handicap. After that, Albertrani said, Artax needed a rest; he couldn't make it down for the De Francis Dash.

As Artax swerved that day at Pimlico, he started a chain reaction that resulted in the bumping of Purple Passion. Trained by Donald Barr at Laurel Park, the Maryland-bred also strained an ankle. He was sent to his owner's farm in New Hampshire and hasn't raced since.

Around the tracks

A compact field of five is scheduled for today's Laurel feature, the $50,000 Walter Haight Handicap for older horses at 1 1/8 miles. Perfect To A Tee, out of the money in the Baltimore Breeders' Cup Handicap last time, is the probable favorite over Delaware invader Tappat. All the numbers for Dash Day declined from last year, with only $592,536 handled live on track by a crowd of 6,264. Overall, the handle dropped 5.81 percent and the attendance 7.78 percent.

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