Favored in Jennings, Include might have Special possibilities

McCarron, 3 wins short of 7,000, to ride 4-year-old

Horse Racing

April 20, 2001|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

In a corner barn at Laurel Park, obscured from the national spotlight, resides a horse possibly on the verge of stardom.

Include, winner of six of his last seven races, will likely be a heavy favorite in the $100,000 Jennings Handicap at Pimlico tomorrow. A win would propel him into the $750,000 Pimlico Special on May 12.

The 4-year-old, trained by Grover "Bud" Delp, will run tomorrow with Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron on his back.

Asked whether Include could emerge as a top horse, Delp said: "I think there is a chance. But he's got to step forward and do it. The potential's there."

Include's appearance in the Jennings will cap Maryland Spring Challenge day, a Maryland Million-like event of four stakes for Maryland-breds and a fifth for 3-year-olds on the Kentucky Derby and Preakness trail.

That race for 3-year-olds bred in any state, the $200,000 Federico Tesio Stakes, features Burning Roma, possibly gearing up for the Preakness, and Talk Is Money, trying to earn his way into the Derby.

McCarron, the former Maryland standout now based in California, will ride Burning Roma. McCarron's return to Maryland, where he launched his career in 1974, could be memorable. He could become the seventh jockey to win 7,000 races. The 46-year-old jockey is three shy at 6,997.

With no mounts today at Hollywood Park, McCarron is slated to ride in four races at Pimlico.

His engagement with Include will likely be a one-time affair. For Include's last race, the Grade II New Orleans Handicap at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Delp hired Jerry Bailey, another Hall of Fame jockey. Delp said Bailey probably will regain the mount for the Pimlico Special.

The Special is a Grade I stakes that regularly attracts some of the country's best horses. That's the race Delp and Robert E. Meyerhoff, Include's owner and breeder, circled as the possible coming-out party for their colt.

But first, Include must dispatch six rivals in the Jennings. Delp said he and Meyerhoff chose this race for Maryland-breds as Include's Pimlico Special prep for two reasons: It would be easier than the alternative, the Grade I Oaklawn Handicap, and it would provide Include a trip over Pimlico's surface.

"He's dead-ready," Delp said. "Hopefully, he won't have a real hard race. If he doesn't, 20 days between races is fine."

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