Allen Stacy lashed out angrily when he learned that his 1,000th career winner, which he rode at Laurel Park yesterday, is being appealed to the Maryland Racing Commission.
"That's crazy. People are taking pot shots, and this shows they'll try anything," he said.
After reaching 999 victories, Stacy had to wait three weeks, then survive two foul claims yesterday to reach the career milestone when he upset 8-5 favorite Ace's Orphan by a head with long shot Wise Dusty in the $60,000 Mister Diz Stakes.
But immediately after the race both the trainer, Jerry Robb, and jockey, Greg Hutton, of the losing Ace's Orphan lodged objections about two incidents during the race. The stewards took 10 minutes and held up Stacy's victory celebration in the winner's circle to review the films, then told Robb that both of Stacy's alleged violations were "insignificant."
Robb and Arnold Heft, owner of Ace's Orphan, feel quite differently and vowed yesterday to appeal the stewards' decision to the commission. Such action has been the subject of much recent debate since the commission last month overturned three stewards' rulings.
Since June 17, Stacy had been hanging with win No. 999 "and it never seemed I'd get to 1,000," he said. Coincidentally, some of his best career efforts have come on such Robb-trained horses as Run Alden and Pulverizing, who was owned by Heft. Now, his 1,000th victory has a bittersweet tinge.
Hutton said that Stacy took his path away from him down the backside shortly after the break of the six-furlong stakes.
"I might have squeezed him back, but it was only a hair," Stacy said.
Hutton switched lanes to the outside after Wise Dusty moved over in front of him and took over the lead. The stewards said Stacy was far enough in front of Ace's Orphan to make the move.
Then Robb claimed foul, saying that Stacy drifted out and bumped Ace's Orphan in the stretch when the jockey switched sticks. Stacy denied bumping Ace's Orphan.
The difference in prize money from first to second place amounts to $24,000, but Wise Dusty owner Adrian Merton was savoring his first stakes win as an owner and breeder.
He formerly stood the horse's sire, Bishop Northcraft, at his Six M Farm in West River and bred him on a complimentary season to his mare, Ubenice, whom he bought for $1.
The "Cinderella" story, however, only gets better. Merton said that his first trainer rejected Wise Dusty.
"The trainer had him three months, said he couldn't run and that he wouldn't stand training," Merton said.
For awhile Merton was considering selling Wise Dusty as a show horse, then struck a deal with his feed man, Wayne Bailey, to train him at the Bowie Training Center.
Bailey maintains a four-horse stable as well as operating the Waynemar Feed Co.
Wise Dusty reached the races as a 4-year-old last winter. When he won his fourth start in April, Bailey set his sights on yesterday's $60,000 Maryland-bred stakes.
NOTES: Nancy Bayard's Calipha is second at 119 pounds to 121-pound high weight Fit To Lead in Sunday's Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park. But the filly is skipping the race. Instead, her trainer, Bud Delp, said she'll race July 23 at Laurel in the $75,000 All Brandy Stakes. "The Laurel race is on the turf and I want to see how she'll handle it," Delp said. The filly's main objective this fall is the $150,000 Maryland Million Ladies stakes, which is carded at 1 1/8 miles on the grass. . . . Laurel's first allowance race for 2-year-olds tomorrow might be a good one. It matches two impressive recent winners -- Buckland Farm's Feather Box and Thomas Bateman's Bug River. Both horses came from off the pace and won their first starts.