Donald Barr must not have thought his horse, Richie The Coach, had a great chance of winning yesterday's Cedar Key Stakes at Laurel Park.
JTC Instead of coming to the race, the trainer attended a Civil War re-enactment.
But the 4-year-old gelding led wire-to-wire, turning back last weekend's Maryland Million Classic runner-up, Mary's Buckaroo, by a half-length and winning the race in near-track-record time.
"Once we found out that Mary's Buckaroo was in the race, we were worried to death," said Milton Higgins III, owner of Richie The Coach. "But today our horse had everything his own way -- a fast track, the 1-hole and no other horse to really press him for the lead."
Richie The Coach ran the 1 3/16 miles in 1 minute, 55 1/5 seconds, three-fifths of a second off Taking Risks' track mark.
Barr's and Higgins' other stakes performer, Who Wouldn't, seventh in the Maryland Million Sprint, came out of the race in good shape and is set to run again Nov. 5 in the Challedon Stakes.
That race is likely to draw Mary's Buckaroo as well as Maryland Million Sprint winner Foxie G, Sprint runner-up Crumpton and possibly Say It With Spirit, who won an allowance race at Laurel yesterday in the quick six-furlong time of 1:09 1/5.
NOTES: Oliver's Twist, third in the Maryland Million Classic, will race at Laurel on Saturday in the $100,000 Governor's Cup for 3-year-olds, if the race is taken off the turf, said trainer Billy Boniface. If the race stays on grass, Boniface will race Oliver's Twist the next weekend in the Northern Dancer Stakes at Laurel. . . . Bowie-based Penn Fifty Three, second to Look Daggers in the Rutgers Handicap at The Meadowlands on Friday night, is a likely Governor's Cup starter.