Risen Colony's star rises in stakes win


LAUREL -- Mike Luzzi's first job on the racetrack was walking hots at Delaware Park for trainer Ross Pearce, and baby-sitting his children.

"I'd joke around in the tack room, try on those Buckland Farm silks and say, 'Some day I'm going to wear these in a race,' " Luzzi recalled.

That was six years ago. Yesterday, Maryland's leading stakes jockey rode Buckland's newest distaff star, Risen Colony, to a 3 1/2 -length win over Wait For The Lady in the $54,900 Maryland Racing Writers Handicap.

Gala Goldilocks, prominent early, finished third. As the 4-5 favorite, Risen Colony paid $3.80, $3 and $2.20. Wait For The Lady returned $4 and $2.80 and Gala Goldilocks $3.

It was Luzzi's first stakes win in 1992, after topping the local jockeys in stakes victories last year.

The 17-hand daughter of Pleasant Colony stalked pacesetters Gala Goldilocks and Wait For The Lady, passed them on the turn, and under some left-handed whipping by Luzzi, drew off in the stretch.

Risen Colony switched leads at the top of the stretch, Luzzi switched sticks and after hitting her nine times, she ended up running the 1 1/16 miles in 1 minute, 45 1/5 seconds.

"I thought she got a little tired," Pearce said. "I've been trying to keep her fresh, because it is going to be a long year. I didn't do too much with her coming up to this race.

"It was a tiring track. I was a little worried that Mike laid too close to the pace. But she's a good filly and overcame it."

It was Risen Colony's fifth straight win and her third in a stakes. She has been unbeatable since Pearce equipped her with blinkers three months ago.

He is now thinking of sending her to Florida. "There's not much in the filly and mare division there," he said. "Shug [McGaughey] ZTC has Fit For A Queen ready, and I understand Charon is coming back, so I'll have to monitor that situation. I'm going to be picking my spots with her."

Laurel fans won't be seeing Risen Colony in the Barbara Fritchie Handicap on Feb. 15. "I wouldn't even consider that race," Pearce said. "It's too short [seven furlongs] for her."

NOTES: Even though local 3 year-old Surely Six finished fourth yesterday in the Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park, he ran a big race. Julie Krone on Majestic Sweep put him in close quarters at about the three-sixteenths pole, and momentarily caused him to lose momentum. But Rick Wilson got Surely Six back in stride, and he started running again. The race should serve as a useful prep for his next start in the Fountain of Youth Stakes. . . . Former Maryland jockeys Donnie Miller and Allan Stacy are riding at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. Miller won the Daily Double yesterday. His agent is Ralph Irwin. . . . Pearce starts another Buckland Farm runner, Palace Line, in the Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct today. . . . Interborough Handicap winner Wood So challenges Silver Tango in today's $30,000 feature, but her trainer, Katy Voss, won't be here. She's vacationing in Antigua. . . . There are 10 live races on today's card and one simulcast. The simulcast of the Joe Namath Handicap is set as the 11th race and has a 4:50 p.m. post time.

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