McCarron misses milestone in Md.

Jockey falls 2 victories shy of 7,000th career win

Horse Racing

April 22, 2001|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

With hopes dashed for winning No. 7,000 in Maryland, Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron turned his attention to saving face.

He had failed to win with his first four mounts yesterday at Pimlico. He needed to win with his last, the improving 4-year-old Include, or else endure a long plane ride back to California.

Aboard Include in the $100,000 Jennings Handicap, the fifth of five stakes on Maryland Spring Challenge day, McCarron cruised behind the leader in second until the head of the stretch. There, in the fading afternoon sunlight, he drove and whipped his mount to the wire for a 3 1/4 -length victory.

For Include, the win meant a berth in the prestigious Pimlico Special on May 12 against some of the best horses in the country. For McCarron, it meant he will ride today at Hollywood Park needing two victories to become the seventh jockey to win 7,000 races.

"I really wanted to knock it off here," McCarron said. "At least I can go home and say I won one. I don't have to say I was completely blanked."

McCarron, 46, began his career in Maryland in 1974. He set a record for wins that year with 546, a mark that stood for 15 years. He moved to southern California in 1978.

He returned to Maryland to ride Burning Roma in the Federico Tesio Stakes. Needing three victories to reach 7,000, he picked up four other mounts.

McCarron finished third with the 3-1 Rico Ends Well in the Caesar's Wish Stakes, seventh (last) on the even-money Saratoga Games in the Star De Naskra Stakes, third on the 9-5 Case of the Blues in the Geisha Handicap, third on the 1-5 Burning Roma in the Tesio and first on the 1-5 Include.

Grover G. "Bud" Delp, who trains Include for owner and breeder Robert E. Meyerhoff, said he was happy with the colt's effort. Include overtook leader Carney's Prospect on the far turn and then held off the game Waited down the stretch.

"He did in this race exactly what we wanted him to do," Delp said. "He wasn't completely wound up. I'd say he was 85 percent. He wasn't wound like a rubber band ready to break. In 20 days he may have to be."

In the Pimlico Special, a Grade I stakes worth $750,000, Include likely will face Tiznow, the reigning Horse of the Year, and other top older horses that include Traditionally and Albert the Great. McCarron rides Tiznow. Jerry Bailey, who rode Include in his last race at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, will probably regain the mount in the Special.

A power-packed son of Broad Brush and Illeria, Include has won seven of his past eight races. In the Pimlico Special, he will face the toughest test of his burgeoning career.

"I don't know whether he can win against those horses or not," Delp said. "He's getting better all the time. I don't think he's reached his plateau. I know I didn't squeeze the lemon dry for this race. I left something in the tank."

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