SW Clarence highlights Wilson's busy, good day

Jockey's five winners include large Pa.-bred

February 13, 2000|By Pete Bielski | Pete Bielski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Jockey Rick Wilson rode five winners yesterday at Laurel Park, none easier or more profitable than SW Clarence in the $75,000 Harrison Johnson Memorial Stakes.

He guided the large but quick 6-year-old to a four-length, gate-to-wire victory, the horse's fourth in five starts and 12th in a 21-race career. He ran the 1 3/16 miles in 1: 56.3 and paid $7.80. With Wilson aboard, the horse has two wins and a second, and another believer in the humbly bred Pennsylvania product.

"The first time I got on him, they told me he was quick, but I really didn't know what kind of speed he had, especially to look at him," Wilson said. "A horse that big usually takes some time to get rolling; but he really is quick."

The horse stands 18 1/2 hands; the usual height for a thoroughbred is about 16 hands. He's the product of the sire Iron and the mare Babalinka. The mare cost owner Richard Reveley $11,000 at a Timonium sale. The stud fee was waived for trainer Thomas Lingenfelter when he brought the mare to Springwater Farm in Pennsylvania, where the infrequently used Iron stands.

It all has turned into a productive equation for Lingenfelter and Reveley, who were aware they stumbled into potential when the horse won his debut at Penn National. He has earned $270,000.

Still, even with stakes wins at Laurel and Philadelphia Park within the past six months, yesterday's win was a mild upset. He was facing three local heroes: Perfect To A Tee, winner of four straight stakes; Thunder Flash, with seven wins in 12 lifetime starts, and Testafly, who was making his debut for trainer Dale Capuano.

Even more, SW Clarence was diagnosed with an abscess on his left rear hoof Thursday night and was doubtful to start yesterday. The race was the easy part. SW Clarence shot to the early lead, got Wilson to set an easy pace and received no serious threats.

Perfect To A Tee never made a rally and finished seventh; Testafly set a perfect second and faded to last in the stretch, and eventual second-place finisher Thunder Flash never got closer than four lengths and was more concerned with holding off long shot Sly Joe for third.

"When we reached the three-eighths pole, I knew we had it," Wilson said. "I got him slowed down real well and we still had a nice lead. We set a slow pace, I know that. If you don't have something left after that, then you're on the wrong horse."

Pub Date: 2/13/00

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