`Private' locks in on victory

Horse wins Native Dancer at Laurel, takes 5th race in 6 since being gelded

Horse Racing

January 22, 2002|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Private Ryan, less a man but more a racehorse, waltzed to his fifth straight victory yesterday in the $50,000 Native Dancer Stakes at Laurel Park.

After winning only two of his first 16 races, the nicely bred son of Quiet American and the Storm Bird mare Exclusive Bird was gelded. Since then, Private Ryan has won five of six races for his Laurel trainer Tim Tullock Jr. and owners CircledHorse.com.

CircledHorse.com is a group of about 15 workers for Social Security and their friends. They own eight horses in training with Tullock.

Tullock claimed Private Ryan for the group for $20,000 out of a race Aug. 6 at Delaware Park. Private Ryan finished sixth in his first start for his Maryland connections. Then they opted for castration; Tullock said the horse had large testicles that might have bothered him when he ran.

"He just came around," Tullock said.

The 5-year-old gelding won by three lengths over Cowboy Magic and P Day, who finished in a dead heat for second. The winner completed the 1 1/8 miles in an impressive 1 minute, 49.02 seconds. He returned $4.40 as the 6-5 favorite.

"Everything he does is just right," said Harry Vega, his jockey.

This was Private Ryan's first stakes test. Tullock said the free-running gelding would probably run on Feb. 17 in the John B. Campbell Handicap at Laurel. His long-term goal is the Claiming Crown in August at Philadelphia Park.

NOTE: In the race just before the Native Dancer, a $25,000 claiming event, 11-year-old Mactaquac, making his 108th start, won by three lengths. It was the gelding's 19th win - he's finished second six times and third 25 times - for earnings of $569,525.

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