Dick Small vacillated for a long time about whether Hot Brush would run yesterday in the $750,000 Pimlico Special.
But, after the race, the local trainer was a happy man following a solid effort by the Broad Brush colt, who was barely beaten for second by Precocity.
"I'm very pleased with him," said Small, who applauded Skip Away's trainer, Sonny Hine, when Hine emerged from the jockey's room. "I thought he [Hot Brush] ran a great race."
As usual, Hot Brush was slow getting started in the 1 3/16-mile race (a shortened post parade may not have helped).
But jockey Rick Wilson got him into gear rounding the final turn and Hot Brush finished with authority to earn $82,500 third money.
"The trip was fine. He ran his race," said Wilson. "But he just wasn't good enough."
Hot Brush made his bid for the Special with a seven-length score in the Grade III Campbell Handicap on April 11. His winning time of 1 minute, 55 seconds was impressive.
Of the others, Precocity's connections were content, Wagon Limit's had no excuses and Draw's expressed displeasure with the heavy track.
"It's like a plowed field. He never got hold of it," said Gary Stevens, Draw's jockey.
"This horse never has run good on an off track, but the jock was here and the horse was here, so we just went ahead and ran him," said trainer Shug McGaughey.
Klabin's Gold wins
Allen Iwinski claimed Klabin's Gold for a $32,000 tag after a ninth-place finish at Gulfstream Park in February. The colt hasn't lost since.
Yesterday, he added the $54,600 Hirsch Jacobs Stakes to his RTC winning portfolio, weathering a wide trip to prevail by two lengths over Carnivorous Habit. It was his third straight win since being claimed.
"I had no idea he would turn out to be such a nice horse, but Allen is really good at it [claiming]," assistant trainer Luis Casteneda said. "Allen is at home. He fell off his pony 11 days ago and hurt his neck."
"He [Iwinski] told me to do what I thought was best," Wilson said. "I figured I'd be OK because I was outside."
After some jostling while leaving the gate, Wilson stayed behind front-running Great Salt Lake early, then went to the inside of that horse after a half mile and made his move.
Carnivorous Habit made a steady rally under Edgar Prado, who said "there wasn't enough racetrack left to catch the leader."
Greenspring Willy, the 8-5 favorite, was in good position at the top of the lane "but flattened out and really had no excuse," according to jockey Larry Reynolds.
The race was the first in the MATCH Series for 3-year-old sprinters.
Sue's April Fool, a 19-1 long shot, stalked the leaders, then drew away on the outside in the stretch and scored a 4 1/4 -length victory in the $37,800 Windfields Stakes.
"Mr. Delp [trainer Gerald Delp] instructed me to wait to see what Omar [Klinger] and Edgar [Prado] did on the front end and ride accordingly," jockey Carlos Marquez said.
Prado -- on Reality Time -- held on gamely for second while Klinger's mount, Carolina League, faded to last.
The 4-5 favorite, Sovereign Storm, with Jerry Bailey up, was never a factor in the race.
Despite the appearance of Skip Away, free admission to the grandstand and free Maryland programs, the weather took its toll on attendance and betting.
The on-track handle was estimated at $615,837 (factoring in late-night simulcast races) with attendance at Pimlico, Rosecroft and Laurel at 13,776.
But the handle bet in Maryland on the local card was down nearly $300,000 and out-of-state betting on Maryland was off nearly $600,000.
The total handle was $6,080,300, down from $6,717,720.
Turcotte staying here
Jockey Ron Turcotte and owner Penny Chenery were at Pimlico yesterday as the track commemorated the 25th anniversary of Secretariat's Triple Crown run.
They signed autographs and met with racing fans. Turcotte plans to stay in Baltimore through the Preakness and can be reached through representative Donald Miller at 410-719-7705.
Pub Date: 5/10/98