Elberton shatters record at Pimlico

Four-year-old gelding holds off Tyaskin, wins Mister Diz Stakes in :56

Horse Racing

September 16, 2001|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Elberton stalked the pace, then shattered the record.

In a strong field of eight turf sprinters, the 4-year-old grey gelding overtook front-running Maypole Dance and held off the game Tyaskin yesterday to win the $50,000 Mister Diz Stakes at Pimlico.

The winning time for five furlongs on the grass - 56 seconds flat - shaved a fifth of a second off the track's previous best time for the distance run by Harriman's Image in June 1999.

It also provided a bit of relief for victorious jockey Alberto Delgado, who passed up a ride on Treasure Coast Gem, the winner of the $75,000 Blue Hen Stakes at Delaware Park, to remain in Maryland.

"I wasn't taking seconds in this one," joked Delgado. "I watched that other race on TV and when my horse won by five lengths, I said, `Oh, no.'

"But I chose to stay here because we are preparing this horse for the Maryland Million. We galloped out three-fourths to seventh-eighths to help get him ready."

Elberton is being prepped for the Maryland Million Turf race at 1 1/8 miles on the grass, according to trainer Luigi Gino.

"He's done everything wonderfully," said Gino, the father-in-law of Delgado and jockeys Mario Pino and Mark Rosenthal. "He took a long time to come around, but when I hit the grass with him it was an ace in the hole."

Elberton is owned by C. Frank Hopkins, a former outspoken member of the Maryland Racing Commission who bred the gelding at Elberton Hill Farm in Darlington.

Delgado took him wide around horses before taking the lead at the 16th pole and then prevailing by three-quarters of a length. Tyaskin closed with a rush from sixth to gain the place by 1 3/4 lengths over Maypole Dance.

Delaware-based Lady of the Future captured her fifth consecutive win on the grass and second straight stakes by rallying to take the $75,000 Waya Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

"She's all race horse," said jockey Brent Bartram, who had been aboard two winning mounts at Delaware before making it to Pimlico. "The worse trip she has, the better she gets."

Lady of the Future was hand-ridden to the wire to score by 1 1/2 lengths over Michael Dickinson-trained favorite Preseli, who weakened after gaining the lead in the middle of the stretch.

"Don't get in her way down the lane," trainer Thomas Greene said of the winner. "She's a tiny little thing, but she's game. I'd be a fool to take her off the grass, but she's also run a couple of good races on the dirt. She'll do what you need."

The winning time was 1:42 2/5.

NOTES: The tote board lit up after the 10th race when Press Doll (81-to-1), Shannon's Choice (73-to-1) and Key Reality (39-to-1) finished 1-2-3. Oddly, the exacta of 1 and 2, a favorite bettors' combination at Pimlico, returned only $933.20, while the trifecta of 1-2-10 paid a generous $27,244.80. For those wondering, that was only about a third of the track record of more than $82,000. ... The crowd of 7,545 at Pimlico and Laurel was more than 1,000 patrons higher than a normal Saturday card.

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