The first words that popped out of Jeff Carle's mouth after he scored a $23 upset in the $113,150 Damascus Handicap yesterday were: "There is a God."
After that the 29-year-old jockey said, "Really, I'm speechless."
Carle is in the midst of an amazing stakes-winning spree at Pimlico Race Course. His streak started last weekend when Carle won the $100,000 Polynesian Handicap and the $75,000 Ben Cohen Memorial Stakes.
Carle's tally in the past seven days shows three stakes rides, three wins, mounts earning $172,890 and take-home pay for the jockey amounting to $17,289.
Not bad for a rider who has had a tough time breaking into the local circuit, but is now gaining the respect of Maryland's owners and trainers.
Yesterday, Carle took 10.50-1 long shot Redcall immediately to the lead in the one-mile Damascus Handicap and outran the seven other horses, drawing off in the stretch to a 3 1/2 -length victory over Gilded Youth. Maryland Moon finished third, followed by favored Older But Smarter.
Carle's fortune coincides with an explosion of nice horses coming from the outfit of longtime Howard County breeder C. Oliver Goldsmith.
After a couple of lean years, Goldsmith has now sent out two 1994 stakes winners, Say Capp and Redcall, and another promising runner, Miss Slewpy, won easily in an $18,500 allowance race yesterday.
"You can't expect me to play dead forever," Goldsmith said, jokingly.
Redcall's time was so impressive -- he ran the mile in 1 minute, 34 4/5 seconds, which was two-fifths of a second faster than Cleone's winning time last year -- that Goldsmith said he is thinking about entering Redcall in the Washington D.C. International at Laurel on Oct. 15. Goldsmith, however, said he is uncertain if the 1 1/4 -mile distance suits the horse. Cleone used the Damascus as an International prep last year, eventually finishing second to Buckhar, although he was disqualified and placed third.
The loss by Barclay Tagg-trained Older But Smarter in the Damascus hardly dampened the day for the Laurel-based horseman. About an hour earlier at Belmont Park, Tagg won his second career Grade I victory when Royal Mountain Inn came from off the pace and defeated Flag Down in the $400,000 Man o'War Stakes.
Tagg indicated that he plans to bypass the D.C. International with the horse and run instead in the Turf Classic at Belmont in three weeks on Super Saturday II. "He loves this track [Belmont]," Tagg said. "The big, wide turns really suit him."
Harriet and David Finkelstein of Pikesville watched the second-place performance of their filly, Stormy Blues, in the Matron Stakes at Belmont Park on television at Pimlico. David Finkelstein said the filly probably will run next in the Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland Race Course and then start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies race at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5.
NOTES: Maryland fans will be able to bet on the Molson Export Million from Woodbine Race Course today through the Arlington Park simulcast card. Pimlico-based Concern is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. . . . Twist Afleet and Penny's Reshoot, the first two finishers, respectively, in the Test Stakes at Saratoga earlier this summer, are expected to run Saturday in the $100,000 Columbia Stakes at Pimlico. . . . The track and Baltimore radio station WGRX are sponsoring an infield party at the track that day called "Classic Rock at Old Hilltop."