LAUREL -- Favored Fortunate Lance responded to a reunion with jockey Edgar Prado by unleashing a gritty stretch run that wore down pacesetting Literal in the $20,000 allowance feature at Laurel Race Course yesterday.
The margin in the 6 1/2 -furlong -- was a head for Fortunate Lance, whose previous victory was under similar conditions with Prado aboard Jan. 19 at Laurel.
Literal, with Larry Reynolds up, had put away the early challenge TC of long shot Shell Master and took a 1 1/2 -length lead into the stretch duel, then gamely held on for the place.
In 12 starts this year, Literal has finished worse than second only twice.
Eagle Mill, coming out of the claiming ranks, rallied for third in a six-horse field.
31 nominated for Alma North
Last year's winner, Janet Wayson's John's Decision, heads a record 31 nominees for the $40,000 guaranteed Alma North Handicap, the feature race of the Timonium meeting.
Two others who ran in last year's Alma North, Precisely and Mt. Airy Beauty, are also eligible for the Sept. 5 event at 1 1/16 miles.
The Timonium meet, held in conjunction with the Maryland state fair, opens a 10-day run Saturday, Aug. 29.
Alberto Delgado will be striving for his third straight jockey title at the track, but will receive stiff competition with Prado riding this year.
The defending champion among the trainers is King
Jolie's Halo to race at Del Mar
Jolie's Halo will fly from New York to California on Monday for the Pacific Classic at Del Mar.
Trainer Robert Camac said Jolie's Halo, winner of the Iselin Handicap at Monmouth in record-tying time, is fit and feeling fine.
"Everything's a go," Camac said. "He ate up the night of the Iselin and hasn't missed an oat since then. His shins and feet are fine, and he has shown no signs of being dull at all. I won't have to train him hard for the next one. It'll be easy to keep him fit."
The $1 million Pacific Classic is the final race in the American Championship Racing Series.
Jockey Frank Douglas' wife, Pam, gave birth to their second child yesterday at Harbor Hospital Center, a 6-pound, 10-ounce girl, Monica Giovanna. Douglas is expected to return to riding today. . . . Horsemen have postponed a planned boycott of the Charles Town Races after a meeting with track officials. They are upset about a cut in purse money. . . . Trainer Dick Small will send out Valley Crossing going in the $150,000 Budweiser Breeders' Cup at Thistledown and Sticks And Bricks in the $50,000 Governor's Cup at Laurel tomorrow. He'll also send out Star Minister vying in Laurel's $100,000 Twixt Stakes and Starfield in the $50,000 Sensational Handicap. . . . Prado rode three winners yesterday as he continued his pursuit of the top victory total in the nation. But he barely gained on the leading jockey of the meet, Mike Luzzi, who had two. Luzzi leads, 48-42.