Brass Scale, a 3-year-old competing against older horses, made his stakes debut an impressive one yesterday at Pimlico.
The gelding challenged the track record for 1 1/8 miles while coming from just off the pace under Edgar Prado for a 2 1/4 -length victory over Jest Punching in the $53,400 Broad Brush Stakes.
In the process, Brass Scale defeated the defending champion of the stakes, Frottage, who passed the tiring pacesetter, Ameri Valay, for third in a five-horse field.
Brass Scale stalked the leaders until reaching the top of the lane, then roared past them to finish in 1:47 3/5, only two-fifths of a second off Private Terms' track record.
"I was really impressed with him the last time when he beat some pretty good horses," said Prado, who had three winners overall. "Today he was right there behind the speed and he kicked right in."
The vanquished offered few excuses. Omar Klinger, rider of Jest Punching, said "we just couldn't get to him; and Alberto Delgado, on Ameri Valay, said "I just didn't have enough horse to catch the winner."
Only Larry Reynolds, Frottage's jockey, qualified his view of the race, noting that his horse was "jumping all around. He ran green."
Frottage has not won since the Sparrowvon Stakes here last September.
Charlie Peoples, the trainer of Brass Scale, said he thought he might have a good one when the horse won his first start, a maiden special weight event.
"He trained well from the beginning," said Peoples. "When a horse takes his first race, you know he's a winner."
Brass Scale has won two straight and is 4-for-9 lifetime with only two off-the-board finishes.
The recent heavy rains have softened Pimlico's turf course and whether racing will be conducted on the grass will be determined on a day-to-day basis.
Officials are hoping to run today's feature, the $35,000 Cedar Key Stakes, on the turf.
"As of now, it's on," general manager John Mooney said yesterday. "But if we get any more rain tonight, I'm afraid it will be doubtful."
Trainer Buddy Delp scratched Sunny Sunrise from yesterday's feature after drawing the outside post, unfavorable for the horse's natural speed.
Sunny Sunrise was also entered in the Cedar Key and will benefit if the race is moved to the main track. With less early pace in the race, Delp reasons Sunny Sunrise can get to the early lead despite breaking from the No. 9 hole.
Abigailthewife, trained by Barclay Tagg, is also expected to draw strong support in the Cedar Key.
Jockey Mark Johnston, the leading rider at the recent Laurel meeting, took off his remaining mounts before the sixth race yesterday because of a virus infection. His replacement, Allen Stacey, immediately scored with Baling Wire ($20.20) in the seventh. Another jockey, Frank Douglas, suffered a broken ankle during a softball game and will be out for six weeks. . . . One of the Dick Small trainees who ran in the Preakness, Looming, finished fourth under Andrea Seefeldt in the $200,000 Budweiser Alabama Derby at Birmingham Race Course yesterday. Small's other Preakness entry, Concern, is in the five-horse field of the $500,000 Haskell Invitational today at Monmouth Park. The favorite will be the beaten Kentucky Derby choice, Holy Bull; and another Triple Crown horse, Kandaly, is a probable contender. All Maryland wagering locations will offer betting on the race through the Monmouth simulcast.