LAUREL -- Risen Colony just about wore herself out chasing fillies like Lite Light and Meadow Star early last year.
But since the 4-year-old daughter of 1981 Preakness winner Pleasant Colony joined trainer Ross Pearce at Delaware Park in August and started racing against lesser company, she's been beaten only once in five starts.
She makes her Maryland debut today in the first running of the Maryland Racing Writers' Handicap, and is expected to be a short-priced favorite.
Risen Colony has won four straight races, two of them in stakes, been ridden by a wide assortment of jockeys and seems to run well over any kind of track.
"When I got her, I thought she was through," Pearce said. "She was in terrible shape. We worked on her legs, got the weight back on her and made her happy."
After losing a prep at Delaware, she won back-to-back grass starts at the Meadowlands under Herb McCauley.
"The idea was that Herbie was going to stay with her," Pearce said. "But then when she ran in the Honey Bee Handicap, he had to ride a horse in Florida for Shug [McGaughey], so I rode Jorge Chavez. He won the race, but when I ran her next at Garden State, I put Bobby Colton on her. He's the king of the jockeys there, and was set to ride at Laurel today. But he was afraid he'd blow some business if he came down here, so Mike Luzzi got the mount."
Luzzi started out walking hots for Pearce's string of Buckland Farm runners, "and he's won stakes for me in Maryland before," Pearce said.
Pearce says he has high hopes for Risen Colony. "She's a good filly, a sister to Cherokee Colony, who won the Flamingo Stakes and was third in the Wood Memorial [to Private Terms and Seeking The Gold]."
Pearce has two plans for Risen Colony, depending on the outcome of today's race. "If she runs super, we point to the Rampart Handicap at Gulfstream. If not, she stays up north, and probably goes in a stakes at Aqueduct," he said.
Buckland employs a number of trainers. Pearce has had a division of the outfit for 13 years, and trained such stakes winners as Colonial Waters, Costly Shoes, Dance Colony, Seattle Meteor and Golden Reef.
Both John Campo and Andrew Elder previously trained Risen Colony for Buckland in New York.
NOTES: Leading jockey Edgar Prado escaped serious injury yesterday after his mount, Nuniyajissive, shattered her left ankle galloping out after the finish of the seventh race. The filly sustained a compound fracture and was destroyed on the track. Prado complained of a neck injury, but was later treated and released from the Greater Laurel-Beltsville Hospital. . . . Earlier in the card, Roman Report broke down in the fifth race, but apparently will not have to be destroyed. "He tore a suspensory ligament in his left [front] ankle," said track veterinarian David Zipf. "But the X-rays showed that he didn't fracture anything." . . . Laurel is carding 10 races tomorrow, but post time for the last race is 4:20 p.m., well before the 6:18 p.m. kickoff of the Super Bowl. . . . Josh Pons, who for three years has written "The Country Life Farm Diary" for Blood-Horse magazine, has received an honorable-mention Eclipse Award for feature writing for the series. He recently concluded the last installment. Bill Nack of Sports Illustrated won the Eclipse Award for both feature and news writing. The Horse of the Year award and divisional honors are announced next Saturday in Las Vegas. . . . Three Maryland-based colts are scheduled to race tomorrow in the Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct. They are Speakerphone, Hippomenes and Dr. Unright.