Nezzie Berlin doesn't get discouraged.
She gets mad.
That's how Elaine Vinson, wife of the mare's trainer, Garner Vinson, described the horse's reaction when she was briefly steadied on the first turn yesterday en route to a nose victory over pacesetter Buffels in the Davona Dale Handicap.
Buffels almost crawled to victory at Laurel Race Course, after setting a slow pace, but Nezzie Berlin rallied wide and narrowly ran her down.
"That's what makes her a good horse. She was checked, but instead of giving up like many horses would do, it made her more competitive," Mrs. Vinson said.
It was the fifth stakes win for the mare, who is named after the wife of a Houston disc jockey, Paul Berlin.
Before campaigning for the first time in Maryland this year, Nezzie Berlin was a fixture on the New England circuit, winning the Mom's Command and Lilac stakes and two runnings of the Hannah Dustin Handicap.
Winning jockey Omar Klinger said he kept the mare on the outside because "she doesn't like dirt in her face."
Pimlico Distaff winner Double Sixes was the 8-5 favorite in the five-horse field, but after stalking Buffels for much of the race, she faded in the stretch and finished third.
Nezzie Berlin, the second choice, paid $6.40, $3.40 and $2.10.
The Davona Dale Handicap was the third race in the weekly National Best Seven bet.
Yesterday's winning numbers were 6-1-4-1-1-5-9. There were no perfect 7 of 7 tickets, but there were 75 tickets with 6 of 7 winners. The payoff was $1,043.85 for a 50-cent wager.
The winners of the seven stakes were: Two Altazano (Coaching Club American Oaks, Belmont Park); Infernos Reality (Ak-Sar-Ben Budweiser Breeders' Cup, Ak-Sar-Ben); Nezzie Berlin; New Wave Twin Lights Stakes, Monmouth Park); Danville (Round Table Stakes, Arlington International Racecourse); Whoot There She Is Rebel Stakes, Louisiana Downs), and Serena's Song (Landaluce Stakes, Hollywood Park).
The National Best Seven seems to be growing in strength. Yesterday's pool amounted to $348,183.50. The major carryover pool is now $309,382.10 and the Jackpot pool is $111,083.70.
RTC Maryland horses finished on the board in two of the out-of-state stakes. Laurel-based Che Sara Sara was second in the Twin Lights Stakes at Monmouth Park, beaten by a neck by New Wave. Pimlico-based Lady Reiko was fifth, about 4 1/2 lengths behind the winner.
At Arlington International Racecourse, Robert Meyherhoff's Concern was third in the Round Table Stakes, beaten by 2 3/4 lengths by 17.50-1 long shot Danville. Kandaly was second by a nose over Concern.
Maryland politicians such as Mike Miller, president of the state Senate, Cas Taylor, speaker of the House of Delegates, and comptroller Louis Goldstein were at Laurel yesterday at Redskins Family Day to support the Washington Redskins' plan to build a $160 million stadium on track grounds. An estimated 6,500 people attended the event that featured a skills clinic with Redskins players and coaches, autograph sessions and free food and drawings.
The process to gain zoning approvals in Anne Arundel County for the proposed stadium begins tomorrow. Several protesters, who are against construction of the stadium, picketed the event.
NOTE: Never Wavering, who defeated Demaloot Demashoot in the Aristides Breeders' Cup a couple of weeks ago at Churchill Downs, is on the Laurel grounds and could be supplemented at a cost of $15,000 for Saturday's Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash.