With six horses scratched and only closers left in the field, Edgar Prado knew that loping along on the lead might be profitable in yesterday's feature at Pimlico Race Course.
The strategy couldn't have worked out better, as Prado and Miss North Beach set crawl-speed fractions, then poured it on through the lane to win the $56,900 April Run Stakes over 1 1/2 miles on the turf course.
"No one seemed to want the lead," said Prado, who had three winners on the card. "I knew I had the only speed. The key to the victory was that she remained so settled throughout the first mile. She was barely out of a gallop."
When favored Tough Broad and first-time grass runner Riscay came running at Miss North Beach in the stretch, she was more than equal to the test.
"She finished very well. I was very impressed with that. No one could gain on me," Prado said.
Tough Broad -- bet down to lower than even money -- ran her customary race, saving ground at the tail end of the six-horse field, then making a closing rush.
From trainer Michael W. Dickinson's barn near North East, Miss North Beach gained her fifth career victory in 17 starts and earned $34,140.
Assistant trainer Joan Wakefield said Prado "rode this filly perfectly, but I never expected them to be crawling so slowly. We've been waiting since Keeneland to run her back at this distance.
"The farther she goes, the better she is; she's a true stayer."
It was the second stakes win in less than a week for Tapeta Farm, which also captured the Honor Guard on Memorial Day with Jack's Gold.
"This filly loves training at the new farm [Tapeta]," said exercise trainer Jon Ferriday. "She has really settled in, as we all have. Mr. Dickinson is there now minding the shop."
Miss North Beach is owned by Mark Hopkins, a partner with Washington Post racing columnist Andrew Beyer in the speed-figure business.
She obviously has been doing her homework about speed. The breaks were : 25 4/5 for the quarter-mile, : 52 2/5 for the half, 1: 18 1/5 for three-quarters and 1: 44 1/5 for a mile. A snail's pace.
NOTES: Mutuel clerks and related workers are scheduled to address the terms of their new contract proposal with the Maryland Jockey Club on Tuesday. Klabin's Gold, winner of the Hirsch Jacobs Stakes here, is expected to be favored in the $50,000 Legal Light Stakes at Delaware today, the second race in the MATCH series for 3-year-old sprinters.
Post times: Today, Wednesday-Saturday, 1 p.m.
Out-of-town simulcasts: For results, scratches, call 410-792-7464.
Pub Date: 5/31/98