Broad Smile refamiliarized local racing fans yesterday with a sight they are accustomed to but have seldom seen this year -- a Bob Meyerhoff-owned and -bred stretch runner winning a Maryland stakes race.
The Meyerhoff outfit recently has taken its show on the road, winning numerous added-money races in California, Louisiana and New Jersey. Until yesterday, however, the outfit had won only one 1995 Maryland stakes.
But when the speed fillies, including 3-5 favored Canadian invader Scotzanna, faltered in the $100,000 Columbia Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, it was Meyerhoff's Broad Smile who surged from last place and won the Grade III sprint by five lengths. Scotzanna finished second, almost a length in front of Shebatim's Trick.
At one point, jockey Jerilyn Brown sat 18 lengths off the pace with Broad Smile, causing Meyerhoff to quip afterward that when he saw his horse so far behind, "I knew we had them right where we wanted them."
The muscular gray made up so much ground in the stretch that she finished the race one-fifth of a second off the stakes mark, completing the six furlongs in 1 minute, 10 1/5 seconds.
Scotzanna looked as though she had overcome a rocky start in which she was bumped by Power Play. She reached the lead at the top of the stretch but couldn't sustain her bid.
Local front-runners fared even worse. Word O' Ransom, whom trainer Mary Eppler said might have bled, tired after setting the early pace and finished sixth. White Cliffs pressed Word O' Ransom for the lead, but then faded to last in her final career appearance.
The Columbia was the fourth 1995 stakes win for Broad Smile, but her first in graded company. Other Meyerhoff stakes winners this year include Concern, who is likely to start next in the $500,000 Meadowlands Cup; Looming, winner of the Alysheba Stakes at the Meadowlands on Friday night; Tough Broad; Brushing Gloom, and Up An Eighth, who won a division of the Gala Lil Stakes at Laurel Park in April.
NOTE: A computer glitch cost Pimlico management about $3,500 yesterday when about 45 live Double Triple tickets, each worth $74.40, were incorrectly paid. There was one correct winning ticket, worth $9,160.80, that was paid to a player at Laurel.