Favored Wire Me Collect had to survive a bumping battle and a game pacesetting long shot yesterday to prevail in the $54,275 Hoover Stakes at Laurel Park.
While riding his third consecutive winner and fourth overall on the card, jockey Rick Wilson brought Wire Me Collect home a half-length in front of Le Grande Pos, with whom his horse had contact during the stretch run.
Chips Pride, who set quick early fractions, held on for third, a nose in front of the rallying Viv.
"He was really on his game today," said Wilson after Wire Me Collect successfully defended his 1998 Hoover title when he broke the track record for 5 1/2 furlongs (1: 02 4/5). "He showed a lot more speed than I wanted him to; he was just dragging me. I wanted to lay back some, but I couldn't."
The Arthur I. Appleton runner settled in third behind Chips Pride and Manage a Buck in the early going, then made his move at the head of the stretch with Philadelphia Park invader Le Grande Pos dogging him from the outside.
"That horse was laying on him, bouncing on him," said Wilson.
Down the lane, it was a fierce duel, but Le Grande Pos, ridden by Carlos Cruz, could never get the advantage on Wire Me Collect, who was warming up for the $250,000 General George Stakes on Feb. 15.
"He was wide in the George last year and got in trouble," said trainer Bob Camac. "Maybe we'll get a better trip this time."
Camac said Wire Me Collect prefers sprints and "really seems better in the cold weather. He's the type that the rider has to muzzle. I usually tell the jockey not to send him."
Wire Me Collect earned $32,565 for the victory and pushed his lifetime earnings past $500,000. The time was 1: 03 2/5.
The New Hampshire Pari-Mutuel Commission has approved a Rockingham Park request to take the Kentucky Derby future-book wager, a new bet being offered by Churchill Downs.
The future bet will allow bettors to place a wager on the Derby as early as Feb. 18, when the first of three separate pools opens. Each pool will have 23 horses as betting interests with a 24th entry being a field that includes any horse not specifically available.
Fans arriving from 10 to 11 a.m. today will be admitted free as Laurel participates in Super Bowl Sunday. Gulfstream Park simulcasting from Miami begins at 11. Three Maryland trainers are among the top five 1999 winners in America. Ferris Allen is second, King Leatherbury third and Hamilton Smith fifth. The 1998 Maryland point-to-point schedule starts March 13 at Howard County-Iron Bridge. Upper Marlboro is March 28, and Elkridge-Harford at Monkton on April 3. A six-race "Claiming Crown" will be held Aug. 7 at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. Purses will total $560,000. Races will feature starter allowance conditions. Owners Robert and Beverly Lewis have donated the licensing and merchandising rights to Silver Charm to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. The money will be donated to equine charities.
Pub Date: 1/31/99