Local fans might have gotten a good look at a legitimate 1996 Kentucky Derby contender yesterday when Appealing Skier drew off to a six-length win in the $100,000 Laurel Futurity.
Rick Wilson rode the Florida-bred colt who was timed the 7 1/2 furlongs in 1 minute 30 3/5 seconds, 1 1/5 seconds off the track record set by the older Tidal Surge in 1994.
Laurel-based Liberty Road was second, followed by Belmont shipper Pirate Performer.
Trainer Ben Perkins Sr., who has made three trips to the Derby with Bombay Duck in 1975, Faultless Ensign (1989) and Storm Tower (1993), said Appealing Skier is "in a different league" than those horses.
"He could be like Seattle Slew or Holy Bull. He's that good. Real special," Perkins said.
Perkins added that owner Ebby Novac is considering running the colt on Oct. 28 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Belmont Park, where he'd face Maria's Mon and Hennessy.
"But thats not our No. 1 priority," Perkins said. "We want to have a nice horse for next spring."
Perkins said Novac is negotiating with a leading Maryland farm to form a racing and breeding partnership to campaign the horse.
"We're also talking to farms in Florida and Kentucky, but our preference is Maryland because we've dealt with the people before and like them," Perkins said.