Canaveral flops in his Maryland debut Second choice finishes 12 lengths back at Laurel

Graham Motion ended his European vacation a bit early this week so he could return to Laurel Park and watch another vacation conclude.

Motion's interest: a horse named Canaveral who was making his Maryland racing debut after months of preparation and promise.


Motion should have stayed in England.

Canaveral, a $130,000 yearling purchased in 1992, was basically no threat in a well-contested allowance sprint, leaving Motion with questions to answer and many bettors with worthless tickets.


"I had high expectations and still do," Motion said. "He's one of the finest horses I've ever had. Hopefully, he can improve."

As a 3-year-old in 1994, the regally bred son of Relaunch was a strong, undefeated favorite in the Flamingo Stakes and was pointed possibly to the Kentucky Derby. But the horse ran last that day, then disappeared for 10 months. His 4-year-old campaign was solid, including three wins in Kentucky and $122,810 in earnings, but his last start was another clunker last September.

Since then, Morven Stud sent the horse to Maryland under the care of Motion, who has worked the horse for four months in preparation for yesterday. He even received a workout from jockey Larry Reynolds last Monday in swift time.

"I guess they thought it might be a bit less competitive here," Motion said. "Kentucky is as tough as anywhere."

Canaveral found that Laurel Park can be tough, too. He became another victim of Mary's Buckaroo, the steady stakes runner owned by Jackson Bryer of College Park who was the slight favorite in yesterday's $28,000 eighth race. Mary's Buckaroo completed the 6 furlongs in 1 minute, 9 1/5 seconds for his ninth career victory to put his lifetime earnings over $300,000.

Canaveral, second choice at 2-to-1, was 12 lengths back and out of the money. All the same, Motion still is excited about adding Canaveral to his stable, hoping that going longer distances will reap better rewards.

"You can't get too worried the first time back when they're going short," he said.

Still unbeaten at Laurel


Pent Up Kiss remained unbeaten at Laurel Park, winning the $31,975 Shamrock Stakes for older fillies 33, the 1,000th victory of his career.

Pub Date: 3/25/96