Jockey Ramon Dominguez had to find an avenue for Crafty Toast yesterday in the $75,000 All Brandy Stakes at Pimlico.
The opening appeared just in time and Dominguez adroitly guided the young gray mare through it to overtake Proud Run and prevail by a head at 22-to-1 odds.
Crafty Toast, trained at Delaware Park by Bruce Jackson, was supplemented to the race, which attracted most of the top female turf runners in the area.
"They sent her to the farm from New York a couple of months ago with the intention of breeding her, but she started to act so fresh and look so good, they kept her training," Jackson said of Bohemia Stable. "I only worked her twice and knew relatively little about her, but it's very obvious the trip to the farm was very beneficial."
Dominguez took his time with a mare he had never ridden. He saved some ground inside, moved slightly off the rail during the early stretch run, then split a gap between Proud Run and Maria's Tiara, who hung on for third after challenging for the lead.
"I was really fortunate that my agent [Steve Rushing] was able to pick up this mount for me," said the jockey.
"I didn't know much about the horse and her trainer told me that he had only had her a couple of weeks. Our main objective was to try to get a piece of it [the purse] so we could get some black type in the mare's pedigree for breeding purposes."
Instead, they earned the lion's share, $45,000, and raised Crafty Toast's bankroll to nearly $200,000.
"She settled right behind the speed. She was very comfortable," Dominguez said. "We turned for home and I knew I had a lot of horse. The spot opened up and she took off. I just got up the last jump."
Crafty Toast completed nine furlongs in 1:50 3/5. Favored Lucky Discovery was fourth in her first race since November.
The game second-place finish was significant for Katharine Merryman's Proud Run, who is in foal to Polish Numbers. She has earned $625,810.
NOTES: The Maryland Racing Commission will study a regulation that would restrict trainers from wagering - or having others bet on their behalf - on horses other than their own in races in which they are entered. ... Colonial Downs will conduct a 32-day thoroughbred meeting in New Kent County, Va., beginning Sept. 4. It will be the fourth season for the financially strapped track. ... Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel will judge the Maryland Horse Breeders Association's annual yearling show June 25 at Timonium. The event will start at 10 a.m. ... A correction on the Laurel Park starting times: Friday's first post in June will be 1:30 p.m. The time shifts to 4 p.m. for Fridays in July and August.