`Cheap' trip pays again with Laurel stakes win

N.Y. colt takes Annapolis by nosing out Olive Flu

November 26, 1999|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

On his second visit to Maryland, Talk's Cheap ended up in the same spot he did the first time: the winner's circle.

The 3-year-old colt from New York survived a gallant charge from Olive Flu, another New York visitor, to win yesterday's Thanksgiving feature at Laurel Park, the $100,000 Annapolis Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile late-season test for 3-year-olds.

In mid-afternoon mist and fog before 5,584 patrons, Talk's Cheap, the even-money favorite, pursued Smart Guy out of the starting gate all the way into the final turn. As Smart Guy hugged the rail, Talk's Cheap accelerated just to his outside.

Talk's Cheap gained the head in mid-stretch, but then Olive Flu, trapped on the rail behind the leaders, swung to the outside and soared toward the wire. He ranged next to Talk's Cheap, maybe even poked a nose in front, but Talk's Cheap, with New York jockey Michael Luzzi riding masterfully, prevailed by a nose.

No sweat, Luzzi said.

"It might have looked like that other horse put a nose in front, but he didn't," Luzzi said. "[Talk's Cheap] kind of waits for horses. But when another one challenges him, he gives that little extra. He'll run as fast as the other horse makes him."

Linda Rice, the colt's Belmont Park trainer, said he's not the kind to draw off and win by 10 lengths, although he broke his maiden in February at Aqueduct by 20.

"He just grinds it out," Rice said. "He's not fancy. He's got a lot of fight in him."

Grinding it out, Talk's Cheap has earned $308,740 by winning half his 10 races, including the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico in April.

Rice said the colt may return to Laurel the last day of the year for the Broad Brush Stakes, one final race against 3-year-olds before turning 4 -- along with every other horse born in 1996 -- on New Year's Day.

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