Deer Run captures Fire Plug at Pimlico

Favorite wins stretch duel for half-length triumph

April 14, 2002|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Four horses came to the finish line together, but it was Deer Run who proved to be best by a half-length in the $50,000 Fire Plug Stakes yesterday before 10,451 at Pimlico.

Jockey Al Cortez sent Deer Run outside, chasing pace-setters Great Woods and Wild Current. Deer Run didn't collar the pair until a furlong from home and then, after forging ahead, was threatened by late-closing Stormin Oedy. Deer Run, surrounded on all sides, completed the distance in 1:10.91 over a fast track. He paid $3.80 as favorite.

"It was a little bit tough today," Cortez said. "I just stayed off the top two. They didn't come back to me, kept running and that made it tough."

Said trainer Chris Grove: "He had a bowed tendon. When he came back everything was fine. After the first win off the layoff, I knew he was going to get good. We'll make a decision sometime next week as to his next start."

Deer Run finished second in the Endless Surprise Stakes at Laurel, and the victory was his first added-money triumph.

NOTES: Grove, the son of Maryland steward and former jockey Phil Grove, has saddled 10 winners in Maryland this year in 30 starts. ... Scott Lake's Sass N' Class won the second race, giving the trainer nine wins and 17 in-the-money finishes in 26 starts in the current Pimlico meet.

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