John's Call skips N.Y. for easier Pimlico event

Less hassle, trainer says

Classic Olympio 1st again

Horse Racing

September 07, 2001|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

A tempting $500,000 pot is being offered in the Man O'War Stakes tomorrow at Belmont Park. But trainer Tom Voss has decided to vie for one-fifth as much and run the venerable John's Call in the Bald Eagle Breeders' Cup at Pimlico Race Course.


A month ago, John's Call bled during a race for the first time, fading to ninth in the Grade I Sword Dancer Handicap he had won the previous year.

Taking on the nation's best horses in the Man O'War would mean shipping from Voss' Monkton farm to Belmont Park, and with the U.S. Open tennis championships in progress and the New York Mets playing at home that night, the traffic figures to be horrific.

Voss, who wants to point John's Call to the Breeders' Cup Turf Classic, believes a softer challenge might be more desirable.

"This is a logical step to me," said the trainer. "I think maybe this is the best step. I thought maybe he might need an easier spot before running against those kinds of horses again."

What concerns Voss most is the Pimlico race's distance - one mile.

"Of course, we'll make an effort to win, but at this stage of his career, a mile might be too short," said Voss. "I just want to see him running down the stretch. That would make me feel a lot better."

John's Call won the Cape Henlopen Handicap at Delaware Park in the first race of his season as a 10-year-old at 3-5 odds, then bled in New York on a hot afternoon.

"He has done better since that last race," said Voss of a gelding who has won more than $1.5 million and will run with the anti-bleeder medication Lasix for the first time. "The cooler weather has helped a lot."

In the Bald Eagle, John's Call will be favored in a nine-horse field that also has a quality turf runner trained by Bill Mott - In Frank's Honor - although he may be scratched. None of his rivals has faced the caliber of opposition that John's Call has experienced.

Regular rider Jean-Luc Samyn will be aboard the popular veteran.

Two in row for `Olympio'

Michael Dickinson-trained Classic Olympio came from off an honest pace to win the $40,000 Contrary Rose Stakes, the opening day feature, by 1 3/4 lengths.

It was the second straight victory for Verne H. Winchell's filly at Pimlico after she transferred here from the West Coast.

"I was pretty confident," said winning jockey Mario Pino. "It looked like the same type of race as the last one."

In that six-furlong event at Pimlico on Aug. 19, Classic Olympio beat both Slick Lady (fourth yesterday) and Lip Sing's Affair, a 27-1 long shot that held on for second in the Contrary Rose.

"Pino, who has 209 wins this year, will observe his 40th birthday tomorrow as the nation's sixth leading rider.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.