It didn't look good for Virginia Carnival yesterday when he got locked into the pocket behind the speedsters and was running on the worst part of the Pimlico turf course during the $100,000 Damascus Handicap.
But jockey Larry Reynolds took John Franks' colt one off the sluggish rail in the stretch, gained the lead while splitting horses and went on to a 3/4 -length victory over Warning Glance in the mile event for 3-year-olds and up.
"The inside was kind of deep and we hugged the rail most of the way," said Reynolds. "But that was the only way I could go."
Virginia Carnival, in the charge of Graham Motion, had been running in good company on the California circuit and had been idle since the Grade II Arcadia Handicap in March.
"Mr. Franks is very high on this horse and we were hoping he was ready to run," said Motion. "He's been going against some really tough horses. I thought a mile would suit him. He has a lot of class but he's a little ornery."
Reynolds was well aware of that, having ridden the colt during his maiden victory before the change of scenery.
"He was tugging on me at the beginning, but on the backside he started to settle," said Reynolds
Warning Glance, trained by Charlie Hadry, carried top weight of 119 pounds and spent most of the first three-quarters just behind front-runners Joker and Say It With Spirit.
Pub Date: 9/15/96