`Case' rallies from 8th for tight win in Nellie Morse

Maryland-bred mare stays strong in stakes

Horse Racing

January 21, 2002|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Case Of The Blues, one of the most popular horses in Maryland, delighted her fans again yesterday at Laurel Park with a rousing come-from-behind victory in the $75,000 Nellie Morse Stakes.

An undersized 5-year-old mare with a gigantic closing kick, Case Of The Blues rallied from eighth in the 10-horse field and collared the front-running Irving's Baby for a half-length win. After completing the 1 1/16 miles in a sizzling 1 minute, 43.84 seconds, Case Of The Blues returned $5.20 as the 8-5 favorite.

"What a wonderful horse Case Of The Blues is," said Tony Dutrow, her trainer. "She does everything you ask of her. Everybody in the horse business should be lucky enough to have a horse like her."

The Maryland-bred daughter of In Case and Musical Cure has earned a check in each of her 24 races, except the 2000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes when, after a troubled trip, she checked in sixth.

She has prevailed in 10 races at distances from 4 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. Eight have been stakes, the richest being the $100,000 Maryland Million Distaff last fall at Pimlico. The $67,750 she earned yesterday increased her earnings to $458,141.

Veteran jockey Mario Pino rode a measured race, saving ground along the rail until the far turn. Then he swung her wide for the charge down the homestretch, tapped her three times with his whip right-handed and one time left-handed. Case Of The Blues responded in the way she knows so well. She dug in and won.

Although Dutrow and the mare's owners, Willie White and Lou Rehak, accepted congratulations in the winner's circle, Dutrow credited his employees for winning efforts such as the one delivered by Case Of The Blues.

"I just want people in my barn to get the same credit Willie, Lou and I get," Dutrow said. "We're the ones standing here, but there're a lot of people behind us."

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