`Shop' fights way to tight win in `Wide'

Dutrow, Pino blanked in weekend stakes races

Horse Racing

March 11, 2002|By SPECIAL TO THE SUN

White Fox Farm's Shop Till You Drop battled hard to get the lead, then had to race straight into a head wind turning for home, but she held things together and won the $60,000 Wide Country Stakes yesterday at Laurel Park.

Jockey Harry Vega delivered a strong ride aboard the 3-year-old daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch, pushing her to a one-length victory over a hard-closing Spelling, who also had the wind working against her in the drive. True Sensation was third.

The winner completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1 minute, 46.82 seconds. Shop Till You Drop, a three-time winner in five starts, paid $18.80 to win.

Vega has been aboard all of her starts for trainer John Fee.

"We had a good post today so we decided to take advantage by using her front-running style," Vega said. "She was pressed the whole way today, but she kept shaking everyone off and I had plenty left at the end to hold off Spelling."

It was a lost stakes weekend for trainer Tony Dutrow and jockey Mario Pino, who were the favorites in the Wide Country with Totaly Wild, who finished fifth, and Case Of The Blues, who was third in Saturday's Conniver Stakes.

With a victory in yesterday's sixth race, jockey Ramon Dominguez has visited the winner's circle for 23 consecutive racing days at Laurel Park.

Since returning from a seven-day suspension on Jan. 25, the 25-year old jockey has won at least one race in 28 of the 31 days, with a total of 45 winners.

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