'Woo' pays off for Allen on final day at Laurel


Trainer Ferris Allen put the finishing touches on a successful meet by winning a division of the Gala Lil Stakes with the filly Woo and Me yesterday during Laurel Park's closing day.

Making it sweeter for Allen, he claimed Woo and Me from the Charles Hadry barn just eight days ago for $25,000, a claiming price not often executed in the state.

Talk about a fast return on investment.

Woo and Me's winner's share for Allen and owner Edward Schuler was $18,000. And judging by the way Woo and Me swooshed past her foes for a four-length victory, Allen and Schuler were understandably happy.

"We claimed her because she was eligible for non-winners of two allowance races and the Maryland Million," Allen said. "We don't want to sound smarter than we are. There are ups and downs about claiming any horse. We just thought the ups outweighed the downs on this one. This win here is just a bonus."

For Allen, 43, it was the 14th victory of the meeting (which started in October) and 13th since the first of the year, quite a streak for a trainer who had just 16 wins in all of 1994 and 24 in 1993.

"We were due," Allen said. "There are lean years in this business. If you follow anyone other than the top two or three guys, everyone has a few tough years. We've just hung in there."

The second division of the Gala Lil went to Up An Eighth, who won by three-quarters of a length over Princess Pickle. Up An Eighth ($4.80) finished in 1:24 1/5.

Trainer King T. Leatherbury saddled another winner yesterday, giving him 85 for the meet and his 18th training title at Laurel. Dale Capuano was a distant second with 62 winners.

Mark Johnston won the riding title with 168 winners, including two yesterday. Edgar Prado, shut out yesterday, was second with 147.

Racing shifts to Pimlico starting tomorrow with a 1 p.m. post time.

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