A couple of able sprinters -- Crumpton and Aberfoyle -- won six-furlong races in quick times yesterday at Pimlico Race Course and their owners and trainers are now eyeing a showdown in the Maryland Million.
The 3-5 favored Crumpton turned back an accomplished pair of Eddie Gaudet-trained stakes performers, Marry Me Do and Alleged Impression, en route to a 1 1/2 -length victory in the $75,000 Ben Cohen Stakes. His trainer, Ron Cartwright, who won the Maryland Million Classic with Forry Cow How for Crumpton's owners, Eddie and Binnie Houghton, two years ago, said the 5-year-old gelding will be rested until the Oct. 14 Maryland Million Sprint.
"This horse will eyeball anybody," rider Larry Reynolds said about Crumpton, after he ran with Wise Dusty and Don's Sho for the first half of a mile. He put them away and then drew off in the stretch.
"He started to hang [wait on horses] after he got to the front," Reynolds added. "But when I went to hit him, he acted like he might sulk. When the other horses [the Gaudet pair] started to come to him, he dug in. So I knew we'd be OK."
Crumpton ran the six furlongs in 1 minute, 10 2/5 seconds, a fifth of a second slower than it took the less-experienced Aberfoyle to turn back a field of allowance runners in the eighth race.
Amy Hopkins, whose family owns Aberfoyle, said the horse will be tried in added-money company for the first time in the Oct. 1 Little Bold John Stakes on Pimlico's closing day and then will take on Crumpton, expected to be one of the favorites, in the $1,000,000 Maryland Million Sprint at Laurel Park.
The Sprint is also likely to draw last year's winner, Prenup, who won at Belmont Park on Saturday, and Who Wouldn't, the 1994 runner-up, who is up to working a half mile after a lengthy spring and summer vacation.
Like Forry Cow How, Crumpton is a son of Maryland stallion Horatius. The Cohen stakes came up a lot easier for him yesterday after pre-race favorite Goldminer's Dream was scratched after running third on Saturday in the $150,000 Philadelphia Park Budweiser Breeders' Cup. Another Cohen entry, Thelastcrusade, also opted for the Pennsylania stakes, where he finished eighth.
"Last year, we ran [the Cohen] in competition with the Philadelphia sprint and had plenty of horses," said Pimlico/Laurel racing director Lenny Hale. "But this year, we didn't, so we'll reschedule the race in 1996."
Zelda Cohen, widow of former Pimlico Race Course owner Ben Cohen, presented the trophy in yesterday's race.
She has three horses in training with Sonny Hine on the New Jersey-Florida circuit. Her grandson, Jon Davison, formerly trained a small string in Maryland, but has turned his stable over to Laura Mettinis.