Awad goes the distance in Finney Stakes


Awad, whose owner had Triple Crown aspirations for him earlier in the year, didn't make it to the classic races.

But the distance-loving grass runner returned to Maryland-bred company yesterday and won the $75,000 Humphrey S. Finney Stakes at Laurel Race Course by an authoritative 2 1/2 lengths over lightly raced Pescagnini.

"It's a little softer company than he's been running against," said trainer David Donk, who trains the 3-year-old colt at Belmont Park for a five-person syndicate headed by the horse's Carroll County breeder, racing philanthropist Jim Ryan.

Ryan was in Kansas yesterday attending a wedding, but the rest of the owners were present, including Palestinian peace activist Mubarak Awad, the horse's namesake.

"We were thinking about the Derby [and later the Belmont Stakes] for Awad, like all owners early in the year, mainly because the horse is bred to get the distance," Donk said. "We ran him in the Jim Beam and he was fourth, which was a nice way to pick up $30,000. But he's really a much better horse on the grass."

Awad and runner-up Pescagnini are sired by Caveat, the Ryan-owned and -bred horse that won the 1983 Belmont Stakes and now stands at stud at the Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City.

Donk said Ryan has about a dozen horses in training, either with him in New York or with Billy Boniface in Maryland. "But he likes to move them on," Donk said. A recent example is the stakes-class filly Icy Warning, which was sold by Ryan a few months ago to Team Valor.

Woods of Windsor, the Finney favorite, finished a disappointing sixth after encountering some trouble early in the race.

Owner Adelaide Riggs hopes to return the colt and about a dozen of her other horses, including Wild Zone, to Laurel on a permanent basis. The horses have been spending the summer at Monmouth Park.

Pick 3 betting glitch

A late scratch (Rahraja) in the fifth race prompted a betting glitch at Laurel. Because of confusion over the scratch, the wrong price for the fifth-race Pick 3 was posted momentarily on the odds board.

The correct Double Triple price for the third and fifth races was paid out, according to Jim Mango, senior vice president of mutuels and development.

"We realized it immediately, identified five people who had cashed their tickets right away, and then paid out the right price," Mango said.

He added that it didn't affect any of the tracks' commingling sites.

Meeting with Schaefer

Gov. William Donald Schaefer will hold one of his State of the State breakfasts in the International Room this morning at Laurel. A number of industry officials and horsemen will attend the gathering.

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