LAUREL -- Front-runners swept the two stakes at Laurel Race Course yesterday, but there were a couple of tense moments and one tragedy that marred the card.
Andrea Seefeldt received her share of fan abuse after Star Minister, a 2-5 favorite, clung to the narrowest of victories in the $100,000 Twixt Stakes.
The temperamental filly, whom Seefeldt said is so high-strung she resents jockeys, held on by a nose to defeat 6-1 shot Gammy's Alden. But Seefeldt's sit-still ride without so much as a flick of the whip contrasted sharply with Mike Luzzi's late drive on the rail with Gammy's Alden.
"I shook for 20 minutes after the race," Seefeldt said. "It is so hard just to sit on that filly. But she knows she's running as fast as she can, and I think she gets offended if you so much as move your hands. Some people thought I didn't know the other horse was coming. But you couldn't help hearing her. I'm sure that if I had moved my hands or tried to do anything, I would have lost."
Seefeldt said she worked Star Minister last week before the race. "She went the first half mile in 46 seconds. But I thought I'd test her and see what she did if I moved my hands and tried to hustle her. She slowed down and finished out the work in 1:03. She's competitive and fast, but just extremely sensitive."
Greg Hutton had an easier time with front-runner Gilded Set in the Sensational Handicap.
Although the filly looked nervous and washy in the paddock, she rated nicely during the 1 1/16-mile grass stakes. Hutton slowed down the pace and stole the race.
Gilded Gift held off late closer Whip Cream by 2 1/2 lengths. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to Ballet Rouge.
It was the first stakes victory for the horse and her owner, Kimberley Ann Becker of Westminster.
Seefeldt, who finished fourth in the Sensational Handicap on Starfield, rebounded in the last race with an upset victory on Coral Key. But before the race, the filly threw Seefeldt in the paddock. "I landed flat on my back," Seefeldt said.
The jockey was considerably luckier than the filly Green Stream. When trainer Jack Mobberley cinched the girth on Green Stream, she reared up and flipped over backward. The filly cracked her head so hard, she received a severe concussion and fractured her skull. The half sister to Mobberley's good stakes horse, Jet Stream, was destroyed in the paddock by veterinarian Bob Vallance.