`For Real' takes first in Gala Lil

Horse Racing

September 17, 2006|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Reporter

Trainer Ned Allard looked at the names of the horses running in the $100,000 Gala Lil Stakes yesterday at Laurel Park and knew his entry, Friel's for Real, was going to be in for a fight.

"I thought, `There's no monster in here, but it's going to be very, very competitive,' " said Allard, whose 6-year-old filly by Sword Dancer fought down the stretch to overtake Silmaril and beat her to the finish by a head.

"I hate to see a horse run that hard and not win," said Ryan Fogelsonger, who rode Silmaril, trained by Chris Grove. Co-favorites Sticky and Take a Check, both trained by Dickie Small, finished third and fourth.

"You know the saying, `There are horses for courses,' " said Allard, 60, who shipped his horse in from Philadelphia Park. "And I think she likes this racing strip. It's smart to go back where you're dangerous. She's beaten Silmaril twice before, but I wasn't sure she was going to get it done this time."

Friel's for Real is five of eight at Laurel Park and has never finished off the board. Yesterday's win was her fourth added-money triumph in Maryland and her second victory in the Gala Lil, which she also took in 2004. Yesterday she paid $7.20.

In the first of two $50,000 stakes races for 2-year old Maryland breds, favorite Clifton Park won under the hand of jockey Anna (Rosie) Napravnik, completing the five-furlong Oliver's Twist Stakes for males in 59 seconds over a wet and fast dirt track. The son of Allen's Prospect paid $2.80. Six String rallied for second, and Norjac was third.

Clifton Park is trained by Bruce Jackson, who lost 24 horses that he trained in a barn fire at the Fair Hill Training Center last November.

The Oliver's Twist was one of three races carded for the turf that were moved to the main, dirt track yesterday.

In the Gin Talking Stakes for fillies, trainer Mike Trombetta's horses finished first and second. Your Flame in Me led from start to finish with What Time It Is pushing her to the finish. Your Flame in Me covered the five furlongs in 57.92 and paid $2.60.

"She's elegant and has natural speed," Trombetta said of the winner, who is undefeated in her only two races. "She's running incredibly fast and we haven't asked her yet. ... But I won't push her too quick. I'm going to give this to her in gradual doses."

Jockey Jose Caraballo compared her to Xtra Heat, the Laurel Park-based filly who earned the 2001 Eclipse Award for top 3-year-old filly and won 25 career stakes races, the most by a filly or mare.

"That's a big, big stretch," Trombetta said. "You can only dream to be a fraction of what she was. ... It's not always going to be as easy for [Your Flame in Me] as it was today."


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