The big money might have eluded owner Bob Meyerhoff and $$ trainer Dick Small with Valley Crossing in the $1 million Pacific Classic on Saturday.
But the pair was back in action yesterday at Pimlico Race Course, running the 1-2 finishers, Broad Gains and Tennis Lady, in the $100,000 Twixt Stakes.
Small flew back to Baltimore from Del Mar yesterday morning to supervise the running of the two horses in the race for Maryland-bred 3-year-old fillies.
"It's hard to separate them [in ability]," Small said about the daughters of Broad Brush. "But they have different styles of running."
Tennis Lady lays close to the pace, whereas Broad Gains makes one big run from behind.
Carnirainbow, last year's champion Maryland-bred 2-year-old filly, set the pace in the Twixt, but jockey Greg Hutton couldn't keep her going in front once they hit the stretch. Tennis Lady stalked her most of the way, then swung into the lead under Andrea Seefeldt, who won the Twixt last year on another Small runner, Star Minister.
It was not until the final furlong, however, until Edgar Prado, on Broad Gains, who is considered the better part of the Meyerhoff entry, got his filly in gear.
Broad Gains asserted herself near the wire, beating Tennis Lady by a neck. It was another 5 1/4 lengths back to third-place finisher Carnirainbow.
The Meyerhoff fillies, who were sent off a short-priced favorite at 2-5 odds, collectively earned $80,000.
It was the second Pimlico stakes win in three days for Small. He won the Royal Vale Stakes on Friday with his own 3-year-old gelding, Dancing Douglas.
Meyerhoff and his wife, Jane, have won five stakes this year with four home-bred horses -- Star Minister, Frottage, Valley Crossing and Broad Gains. Other leading Maryland breeders, Howard and Sondra Bender, have won five 1993 stakes with three home-breds -- Maryland Moon, Green Darlin and Secret Odds. Another Bender-bred, Rhapsodic, which is no longer owned by the couple, won the Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park.
Small said he was disappointed with Valley Crossing's fifth-place Pacific Classic finish.
"But going out to California was not a total bust," he said. "You figure you take the worst of it anyway by traveling all the way out there. We picked up shipping money [$25,000] and earned another point in the ACRS [American Championship Racing Series] standings."
Valley Crossing, second to Devil His Due in the ACRS series, had a weird trip in the race. Instead of dropping over near the rail during the early part of the stakes, jockey Chris Antley swung several horses wide along with Pistols and Roses around the first turn. After that, the horse couldn't catch pace-setter and eventual winner Bertrando.
Valley Crossing is set to return to Pimlico tomorrow and probably will make his next start in the Woodward Stakes at Belmont on Sept. 18, the final ACRS race.
Hearing set for Gray
The Pimlico stewards are holding a hearing for trainer Clifford T. "Buck" Gray Jr. on Thursday.
Yesterday, Gray refused to ship his horse, Gilded Set, to Pimlico from the Bowie Training Center even though the mare was entered in the ninth race.
"He said he wants to run her instead in a stakes race out of town later this week," said steward Jean Chalk.
That is not considered a permissible excuse to scratch from a race unless it is a stakes event. The ninth race scratched down to a five-horse field with only four betting interests. Bold Print and Now Is The Hour were scratched with a veterinarian's excuse. Bucknell was only entered if the race was switched to the dirt.
Veteran stakes winner, Finder's Choice, part of a heavily favored entry at 1-2 odds, won the race by 3 1/4 lengths over Up In Front.
Inez Chapelle, founder of the African-American horse racing dinner which is held annually at Pimlico, plans to honor Milton Smith at her next affair. Smith recently became the first African-American trainer to win the Hambletonian, harness racing's premier event. . . . Roger Schipke, president of the Maryland Million, was in action at the Saratoga Yearling Sales. He bought colts by Blushing John and Polish Navy and a filly by Chief's Crown. . . . With only about five weeks remaining until the Oct. 1 deadline, Pimlico/Laurel operator Joe De Francis and his track executives are busily working on the Maryland Jockey Club's licensing application for a track in Virginia. De Francis must file extensive financial information, including a business plan and how construction will be financed, as well as detailed architectural plans. The HKS architectural firm from Dallas, which designed the proposed Lone Star Jockey Club track in Grand Prairie, Texas, is designing De Francis' planned Virginia facility. De Francis met with the HKS architects in Saratoga, where they studied that track's design.