LAUREL -- Make no doubt, Wide Country was going to be a heavy favorite in today's $50,000-added Genuine Risk Stakes.
But when Ten Out of Ten and Silver Tango -- a combined 6-for-7 lifetime -- turned up in the Laurel Race Course entries, it appeared the 3-year-old filly was going to have to work a bit harder than usual.
Wide Country has been dominant in her division. She was named Maryland's top 2-year-old filly of 1990 last week, and she has won her past four starts.
And her streak should go to five today: Ten Out of Ten and Silver Tango were scratched yesterday, leaving just five rivals for the champion. The defections should leave Wide Country no higher than 2-5 in the race named for the 1980 Kentucky Derby winner.
Gary Capuano, trainer of Silver Tango (3-for-3), said his filly "had an infection and her leg blew up a little. It's no big deal, but I don't want to take any chances with her."
Capuano said Silver Tango could be ready for the Forsythia Stakes at Pimlico Race Course next Saturday.
Trainer Joe Orseno has opted for a trade-off by saddling Ten Out of Ten (3-for-4) in today's $30,000-added Jersey Belle Stakes at Garden State Park. The filly is competing for a smaller purse, but there is no Wide Country to beat.
The 12-race Laurel program ends with the simulcast of the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap, which will be televised live on ABC (channels 13, 7).
The Maryland stewards yesterday ordered Creative Act returned to its original owner after acting on a protest from trainer Dick Small.
Trainer Luigi Gino claimed Creative Act from Small for $25,000 in the first race Monday, but the stewards said Gino had used "conduct detrimental to racing." Small alleged Gino had inspected the 3-year-old colt in the detention barn before the race, which is not permitted and which Gino denied.
The stewards sided with Small and ordered the horse returned to owner Robert E. Meyerhoff.
Creative Act, making his 10th career start, won by 13 lengths. It was his first career victory.
Gino has appealed the decision to the Maryland Racing Commission.
NOTES: Golden Pieta, claimed for $5,000 five starts previously, won the $19,000 Laurel feature with ease yesterday. . . . There was one winning ticket, worth $64,778.40, in the Double Triple yesterday. As of late yesterday, track officials said the winning ticket-holder had not come forward.