Owners from such far-flung global spheres as the Orient and the hills of San Francisco might have dominated the first day of Laurel Park's International Turf Festival with their horses, but yesterday was reserved for the home folks.
Riding with an injured right leg, Florida jockey Rene Douglas pulled off a stakes double that netted him $24,000 in earnings on a pair of homebred runners sent out by George Strawbridge Jr.'s Pennsylvania-based Augustin Stable and the Maryland outfit of Stuart Janney III in the All Along Stakes and Governor's Cup, respectively.
Both Alice Springs, the All Along winner, and Warning Glance, who gave Laurel-based trainer Charlie Hadry his third Governor's Cup victory, ran in almost identical stakes record times for nine furlongs on the grass.
Douglas came to Laurel to ride Alice Springs, and also picked up the mount on Warning Glance, recent winner of the Maryland Million Turf stakes as a heavy favorite, but sent off yesterday as a 13-1 long shot.
Douglas, who had upset the 1989 Washington D.C. International with a front-running victory on Caltech, had won on Alice Springs in three out of four starts during her spring and early summer campaign. But after he broke his leg in a spill at Monmouth Park in July, Douglas missed riding the horse until yesterday.
The 27-year-old jockey came from off a moderate pace set by the 3-year-old filly, Tee Kay, and dominated the race in the stretch with a strong finish on the Jonathan Sheppard-trained mount. "This is the best filly I've ever ridden," Douglas said after the 2 1/4 -length victory over New York invader Via Borghese. Favored Mz. Zill Bear finished third.
The horse's time of 1 minute, 47 1/5 seconds is the fastest in
seven runnings of the All Along. Sheppard said he hopes to run Alice Springs back in three weeks in the Breeders' Cup Mile against defending champion Lure. Another Strawbridge runner, recent New York Turf Classic winner Tikkanen, trained in France by Jonathan Pease, probably will start in the Breeders' Cup Turf.
Strawbridge originally raced Alice Springs in France under Pease's care. "He told me she was one of the best fillies he ever trained," Strawbridge said. But her form there was compromised by a severe bleeding problem.
"We gave her herbs and similar types of treatments, but couldn't control the bleeding," Strawbridge said. So the horse was returned to the United States, where she can race on Lasix except at the New York tracks.
Douglas altered his riding strategy with Warning Glance in the Governor's Cup. Following Hadry's instructions, he sent the horse to the immediate lead. "He was rank at first," Douglas said. "Then he relaxed a little and I was surprised that he finished so strong."
Warning Glance drew off in the stretch to a 3 1/4 -length victory over another Maryland horse, Honorable Flight, trained by Dale Capuano, who was a nose in front of Belmont Park shipper Lahint.
Warning Glance was timed in 1:47 2/5, more than 8 seconds faster than the race's 9-furlong time last year when the stakes was first run at 1 1/8 miles on the grass at Pimlico.
Hadry previously had won the Governor's Cup with Subtle Step (in 1991) and Private Terms (1988).
Douglas said he tore some ligaments in his recently-healed leg and that the injury bothered him yesterday. He now plans to take the week off, but said the $24,000 bankroll he accumulated yesterday helps ease the pain.
All four Turf Festival stakes were run in stakes record time, including performances on Saturday by Paradise Creek in the Washington D.C. International and Soviet Problem in the Laurel Dash.
The weather was sunny and the course, under the supervision of track superintendent John Passero, was firm for both days. Passero recently returned to work after a two-week leave of absence.
Betting figures for the two Turf Festival cards amounted to $8.3 million, up from the 1993 total of $6.8 million.
"This shows the Festival has a bright future and will be continued next year before we move it to the new Virginia track, Colonial Downs, in 1996," said Laurel president Joe De Francis.