16-1 Lyracist turns it around

After losing six straight, long shot takes Campbell

Horse Racing

February 18, 2002|By Pete Bielski | Pete Bielski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Jockey Jeremy Rose waited more than a year to ride stakes-winning Lyracist, so waiting one more day to celebrate a victory shouldn't be a problem.

Lyracist and Rose registered a 16-to-1 upset in the $100,000 John B. Campbell Handicap at Laurel Park yesterday. But when the two arrived in the winner's circle for photographs and presentations, they were alone.

Owner Tim Cunningham and trainer Michael Petro were in Florida, tending to business at Gulfstream Park. Rose will join them today, and a celebration will likely follow.

The Eclipse Awards banquet will be held in Miami tonight, and there Rose will meet his partners when he likely will receive the award as the nation's top apprentice jockey for 2001. He can tell them what they missed at Laurel yesterday.

Lyracist ended a slump and Rose continued a trend, though with new status. Yesterday marked Rose's first day as a journeyman rider. He'll no longer receive an apprentice weight allowance.

It seemed to make little difference as he recorded three wins, including the victory aboard Lyracist that netted him about $6,000.

"For the first day without it, I'm thrilled," said Rose. "I'm so happy I finally got my shot with this horse. I always knew how good he was, but it's always worked out that I wasn't able to ride him. Today was my day."

Despite career earnings of $305,000, Lyracist was sent off as a long shot due to a six-race losing streak. However, his two starts in 2002 were both third-place finishes in which he rallied from far off the pace for a share of the purse.

The Campbell offered several advantages to Lyracist, including a change to the red-hot Rose, an extra 16th of a mile and a quicker early pace.

Still, race favorite Private Ryan, at 3-to-2, looked to be a winner when the field of eight turned for home. Early leaders Mister Eight and Really Irish proved no obstacle to Private Ryan, who entered the Campbell on a five-race winning streak, including last month's Native Dancer at Laurel. Private Ryan had a two-length lead with 3/16ths to go.

But Lyracist, working from the back of the pack, swung wide in midstretch and Rose found enough energy in the 6-year-old son of Sultry Song to wear down the favorite and win by almost two lengths.

Lyracist covered the nine furlongs in 1:50.1 and paid $34.40 to win. Private Ryan, with Harry Vega aboard, held on for second and New Yorker Top Official was third with Diane Nelson.

Second-choice Saratoga Games, idle since an October victory, finished fourth with Mario Pino. Saratoga Game had been first or second in six straight stakes races before the Campbell.

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