Mud suits 'Eastover' in romp at Timonium; After three withdrawals, odds-on choice grabs handicap by 6 1/2 lengths


The inclement weather led to the scratches of three entries from the $50,000 Taking Risks Handicap at Timonium yesterday, including Perfect To A Tee, who might have ruled as the post-time favorite.

Among those remaining, odds-on choice Eastover Faith controlled the pace just off a sloppy rail and romped to a 6 1/2-length victory over Mister Extreme.

"His last two have been real easy," said winning rider Mark Johnston, who completed his Timonium activity in style. "He didn't mind the off going."

Eastover Faith scored by seven lengths in the Damascus Handicap in his previous outing at Laurel Park, stalking for four furlongs, then rushing the leaders and pulling away.

"He ran just like he did last time," said winning trainer King Leatherbury. "He can run on turf, too, and we might try him there next."

Leatherbury said he and the owners [from Lakeville Stables] have "to figure out" the next spot for Eastover Faith, an Eastover Court colt who "will be kicking the stable down in two weeks." Colonial Downs and Delaware Park are possibilities.

Johnston praised the condition of the Timonium track, which was inundated by rain on several occasions yesterday.

"It's in good condition," he said. "I'm pretty impressed with the way it held up under this."

Johnston, one of Maryland's top riders, is headed to Philadelphia Park to compete in three stakes races today, including a mount on Crabgrass in the Pennsylvania Derby.

The effects of Tropical Storm Dennis produced a rash of scratches and eliminated a number of betting pools in certain races yesterday.

Powderpuff returns

Today's eighth race will mark the renewal of the Powderpuff Derby, popularized during the 1960s before female jockeys gained acceptance to ride. It carries a $26,000 allowance tag.

Joyce Bachner was a perennial winner of the event when it was instituted and is a legend at Maryland tracks.

The Powderpuff -- which will involve one fan who gets to play owner for a day -- is one of a number of events being held to celebrate America's Day at the Races.

The troupe Dance Explosion will perform inside the grandstand, and there will be equine and crafts exhibits throughout the plant.

One drawing will includes an autographed picture of Chris Antley winning this year's Kentucky Derby aboard Charismatic.

Riders stay tied

With one victory each yesterday, Alberto Delgado and Alciabades Cortez remained tied for the lead in the jockey standings with nine wins each. Ricky Frazier and Frank Douglas are two behind.

In the trainer derby -- which carries $10,000 in bonus money for the top four -- Jerry Robb leads with five victories.

Colonial opens

Colonial Downs in New Kent County, Va., launches its 1999 thoroughbred meeting today with the $30,000 Virginia Stallion Stakes as the headliner.

Post time is 3 p.m. Friday through Tuesday, with Wednesday and Thursday dark.

The meet will run until Oct. 11, when the local racing scene shifts back to Laurel Park.

Approximately 75 percent of the session's races will be conducted on the state-of-the-art turf course, and local trainers are expected to send their grass horses to the Virginia track and compete their dirt horses at other tracks in this area.

The centerpiece of the Virginia meeting will be the $200,000 Virginia Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/4 miles on the turf, scheduled for Oct. 2.

Approximately 750 stalls at Colonial are expected to be filled.

Pub Date: 9/06/99

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