Include wins Md. honors, but 2002 won't be Special


Horse Racing

March 10, 2002|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Include, whose reign as latest winner of the Pimlico Special will last at least two years, has been named Maryland-bred Horse of the Year in the annual poll conducted by the Maryland Horse Breeders Association.

Bred and owned by Robert E. Meyerhoff, Include, as a 4-year-old, won his first five starts of 2001 on his way to earning $1.4 million. His crowning achievement came in the Grade I Pimlico Special. Include outfought Albert the Great in a thrilling stretch duel for the neck victory.

Unfortunately, Include has been denied the opportunity to defend his crown. The Pimlico Special and its $600,000 purse fell victim - one hopes for this year only - to Maryland racing's fiscal crisis.

The state's horsemen and the Maryland Jockey Club cut nearly $4 million from the stakes program after losing the thoroughbreds' $6.2 million share of the state's $10 million purse supplement.

Bud Delp, Include's trainer, had planned again on a Jennings Handicap-Pimlico Special double as the launching pad for Include's run toward his ultimate goal, the Breeders' Cup Classic. Delp said that now he isn't sure of the horse's schedule. The 5-year-old son of Broad Brush has breezed twice at Laurel Park.

"It's a shame about the Pimlico Special, and not just because of Include," Delp said. "It's a very prestigious race. It's just too bad that racing in Maryland has to be like a drug addict who has to get to the bottom of the barrel before he gets any help."

As Delp surveys the landscape of older horses in this country, he sees nothing that scares him.

"I think Include can hold his own against any older horse I've seen run this year," Delp said. "Include's in the top three or four, without a doubt."

Include represents the fourth Meyerhoff homebred to earn Maryland breeding's highest accolade. The others are Include's sire, Broad Brush, in 1986 and 1987; Valley Crossing in 1992, and Concern, also a son of Broad Brush, in 1994.

Smooth Jazz sold

Tony Dutrow has sold Smooth Jazz, one of his top 3-year-olds, to Michael Tabor for an undisclosed price. Todd Pletcher will train the Storm Boot colt, undefeated in two starts.

"I don't have mixed feelings," said Dutrow, who paid $95,000 for Smooth Jazz as a yearling. "I had to sell the horse. [Tabor] offered too much money."

Dutrow held on to Saratoga Blues, his most accomplished 3-year-old, and plans to start him next Sunday in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. Saratoga Blues is undefeated in three starts.

"He's doing fantastic," Dutrow said. "He's leading me to the Gotham, and I hope he keeps leading me to the Wood Memorial."

Dutrow said that as far as he knows, Burning Roma, who made his 4-year-old debut yesterday with a third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Sprint Championship Handicap at Gulfstream Park, will return to his barn later this month. That was the agreement with Harold Queen, Burning Roma's owner, who transferred him to Bill Mott's barn in South Florida for the winter.

Around the tracks

Kenneth Taylor, one of three owners of Xtra Heat, said the Laurel filly is doing "absolutely wonderful" in Dubai, where she will race March 23 in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen.

Xtra Heat, ranked No. 2 among all horses in the initial National Thoroughbred Racing Association poll of 2002, has been in Dubai two weeks with John Salzman Sr., her trainer and part-owner. Taylor, Harry Dietchman (her other owner), and Salzman's sons (Tim and John Jr.) plan on flying to Dubai next Sunday.

The Jockey Club reports that, through Tuesday, the number of Kentucky-bred foals this year was down 43 percent from last year (1,247 this year, 2,177 last year). The dramatic drop is because of last year's mare reproductive loss syndrome, which caused mares inexplicably to lose their foals.

As mandated by the Maryland Racing Commission, the Laurel Park program has begun noting "adjunct" medications with an "A" next to the "L" denoting Lasix use. The adjunct medications supposedly make Lasix, the common diuretic used to treat pulmonary bleeding, more effective. The "A" drugs are aminocaproic acid, carbazochrome and tranexamic acid.

Ramon Dominguez, Laurel Park's winningest jockey, has won at least one race on 22 consecutive racing days.

Talk Is Money, the John Scanlan-trained 4-year-old who cost $1.8 million as a yearling, has been retired to stud at Millennium Farms in Kentucky.

2001 Md.-bred champions

Award Winner

Horse of the Year Include

2-year-old filly Touch Love

2-year-old male Magic Weisner, 3-year-old filly Sparkling Number

3-year-old male Saratoga Games

Older female Shine Again

Older male Include

Turf horse One Eyed Joker

Sprinter Disco Rico

Steeplechaser Tres Touche

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