"Have a cold one" is taking on new meaning in Ann Merryman's Pimlico shedrow.
The Maryland horsewoman has been adding a beer a day to the diet of Goldminer's Dream, the hometown hope in today's De Francis Dash and a horse who has a peculiar trait.
He has a problem sweating.
That can be particularly hazardous for thoroughbreds, who, as with humans, principally rid themselves of body heat by releasing moisture through the pores of their skin -- especially when temperatures hover around the current 100 degrees.
The beer, plus a regimen of prescribed homeopathic pills, has been having the desired effect, Merryman said.
Like most of us, Goldminer's Dream has spent the week soaked with perspiration.
"It's also going to help that post time is 5:35 [p.m.]," said David Hayden, owner of the horse. "It's going to be a little cooler then than if the race were held in midafternoon."
The heat wave has added an element to today's $300,000 sprint.
"Whoever handles it, and the track [surface], is the winner," said Mike Chambers, trainer of California invader Crafty Dude.
Just about everyone is conceding that Grade I winner Lite The Fuse is a standout. Both Merryman and Chambers agree that the best chance of beating him is to hope that the Dick Dutrow colt, who will break from the rail, goes to the lead and is pressed hard early by the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Commanche Trail.
"What we want to do is let our horse run the first half in something like 46 and change and then pour it on in the stretch," Merryman said.
Her horse is in top form. On Sunday, he breezed five furlongs in 57 2/5 seconds at Pimlico and galloped out the De Francis Dash distance of six furlongs in 1 minute, 10 1/5 seconds. "It's the
fastest I've ever had a horse work," Merryman said. He will have to go at least a second faster to win today.
Unlike the opposition, Goldminer's Dream is familiar with Laurel. He's already won four races over the strip.
Ron Cartwright, trainer of Crumpton, reiterated yesterday that he plans to scratch his horse from the lineup. That would leave seven runners, with Goldminer's Dream the lone Maryland-bred and only local hope in the race. All of the out-of-town horses, except Commanche Trail and Friendly Lover, are on the grounds at Laurel Park.
Goldminer's Dream will ship in from Pimlico this morning, about the same time Commanche Trail and Friendly Lover are due in from Monmouth Park. Lite The Fuse, Crafty Dude and Midwest runners Hot Jaws and Exclusive Praline settled in a bit earlier this week.
Capps heads Maryland Million
Timothy Capps, current vice president of communications at Laurel/Pimlico, will leavehis post in early September to take over the executive leadership of Maryland Million Ltd.
In addition, he'll assume the job as general manager of the Maryland Horse Breeders' Association and editorship of Maryland Horse magazine.
Capps replaces Richard Wilcke, who is becoming a professor at the University of Louisville.
10 in Delaware 'Cap
A field of 10 fillies and mares is entered tomorrow in the Grade II Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park.
Heading the lineup is Plenty of Sugar, winner of the Budweiser Breeders' Cup at Rockingham Park in her last start. The 4-year-old Danzig granddaughter is co-favored along with Canadian mare Hey Hazel, who is trained by Roger Attfield.
+ Post time will be 5:45 p.m.
DE FRANCIS DASH
What: Grade II, 6-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up
Where: Laurel Park
When: Today, 5:35 p.m. post time. It is the 10th race on Laurel's 11-race live card, which starts at 1 p.m.
TV: ESPN2 "Racing Today," 5-6 p.m.
Purse: $300,000. Winner earns $180,000, second $60,000, third $30,000, fourth $18,000, fifth $12,000
Field: Eight horses are entered; seven are expected to run. Lite The Fuse is favored at 6-5 odds, followed by Goldminer's Dream, 9-2; Commanche Trail, 5-1; Exclusive Praline, 6-1; Friendly Lover, 8-1; Hot Jaws, 10-1, and Crafty Dude, 10-1. Crumpton, 15-1, is expected to be scratched.
Track record: 1 minute, 8 seconds (Fighting Notion, 1992)
Stakes record: 1:08 3/5, shared by Montbrook (1993) and Housebuster (1991)