Ah Day conquers mud and Tesio field

Leatherbury entry wins by 5 1/2 in rainy Spring Festival


Ah Day came flying out of the fog yesterday evening, spraying mud and not holding back. It was a sight trainer King Leatherbury wasn't expecting but was happy to see.

"I wasn't that confident today," Leatherbury said after Ah Day had won by 5 1/2 lengths over Vegas Play in the $150,000 Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. "He was coming off a big effort 10 days ago, running in the mud and going a mile and an eighth for the first time. I was criticizing myself for running him in that allowance race [April 12], but Avon [Thorpe], my assistant trainer, said he'd win easily and he did."

Weather-wise, it was not the beautiful, sunny day horsemen and fans might have liked. But the racing was exciting, as the crowd of 7,956 witnessed the Spring Festival of Racing that featured four stakes races, three of them for Maryland-bred and -sired thoroughbreds. In the stakes races for Maryland-bred and -sired horses: Somethingaboutbetty won the $125,000 Country Life Farm Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. She eschewed the mud, took the lead and kept it, returning to the winner's circle as the only unsplattered horse in the race.

"You have to be careful with her, because she resents the whip a little bit," jockey Mike Luzzi said. "It's something, telling a jockey not to whip a horse. But she took the lead on her own, and I didn't have to hit her."

Luzzi said he was a little concerned when second-place finisher Crown You made a deep stretch run, but "when she was challenged, she went on to gallop out at the end," he said.

Somethingaboutbetty, trained by Todd Pletcher, won by three-quarters of a length and paid $5, $3 and $4.80. Crown You was second and Keep On Talking third.

In the six-furlong, $125,000 Maryland Stallion Station Stakes for 3-year-olds, Pagan Moon stalked the pace on the outside, avoiding much of the flying mud and then made his move for a 1 1/2 -length victory over Rainbow Inthestorm.

"We knew we had a nice horse," owner Brice Ridgely said. "But he had to prove it today."

The $125,000 Northview Stallion Station Stakes for fillies and mares 3 years old and up went to the Katy Voss-trained Plata.

"I'm not sure she's fond of mud," Voss said. "But she was the speed horse. I figured starting from the 12 hole we'd have to run up [to the first turn] and if no one else wanted the lead, we'd take it."

Plata finished the 1 1/8 -mile race in 1 minute, 52.13 seconds. She paid $11.20, $4.20 and $3.20 and beat Sticky by a length.

The Tesio is often used as a prep for the Preakness, which this year will be run May 20. But even though Leatherbury, who bred and owns Ah Day, said he believes Ah Day is a better horse than Malibu Moonshine, he does not plan to enter him in the Triple Crown race.

A year ago, Leatherbury, 73, won the Tesio with Malibu Moonshine, who went on to finish eighth in the Preakness. "What do you think I'm made of - money?" he asked. The supplemental entry fee for the Preakness is $100,000.

"If someone comes up and offers to pay the entry fee," Leatherbury said, "I'll enter him and be happy to split the purse. Otherwise, I think he'll set up perfectly for the Sir Barton [on the Preakness undercard]."

Ah Day covered the 1 1/8 -mile course in 1:50.88, earned $75,000 and paid $6.40, $4.20 and $3.20. Vegas Play was second and Putonyerdancinshuz, 6 1/2 lengths back, was third.


Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.