For Skeedattle Associates, it has been a pretty good run capped by Gin Talking winning the Maryland Horse of the Year honor and now Unaccountedlea breaking through with his first stakes victory yesterday.
For jockey Mario Pino, the turf has been his domain lately.
That combination was too much for front-running Ronnie's Hot Rod in the $75,000 Woodlawn Stakes as Unaccountedlea overtook the tiring leader in the final eighth of a mile to prevail by a half-length.
It was the third victory of the day on the grass for the veteran rider, who also scored in the fifth race aboard Baby Poppy and in the seventh on Saratoga Games, the latter for trainer Anthony Dutrow, who also saddled the feature winner.
The Pino-Dutrow combination entered the day with a 67 percent rate of finishes in the top three.
Dutrow believed Unaccountedlea would perform just fine on the grass after he had raced primarily on the main track during an eight-race career. Pino and Rick Wilson worked the colt in the mornings and liked what they saw.
"He moved very well over the grass," Pino said. "Tony said to just make one big run and he'd have a big chance. I had so much horse I thought it would be better just to go outside and keep the momentum. I had to go around everybody, but he was so full of run if he could sustain his move, we would pass Ronnie's Hot Rod."
Ronnie's Hot Rod, under Carlos Marquez, shied toward the rail several times through the stretch and stumbled slightly, which did not help. He was in the uncommon position of setting the pace in the 1 1/16th-mile event and he established an honest one.
At the eighth pole, Ronnie's Hot Rod still had a four-length advantage before Unaccountedlea slowly began cutting into the lead and wore him down.
"We're going to keep him on turf," Dutrow said. "It looks like he could move forward from this."
Co-owner Lou Rehak said Unaccountedlea was purchased at the Timonium yearling sale by Skeedattle, which also raced a gutsy little mare named Case Of The Blues. "He's been running against some of the better 3-year-olds on dirt [including Tesio winner Marciano] and this looked like a good place to try the grass again."
NOTES: Pimlico had a live crowd of 8,125 on Kentucky Derby day, and another 5,975 watched at Laurel Park. ... The Maryland Thoroughbred Horseman's Association is sponsoring three health fairs for all backstretch employees on May 29, June 5 and June 12 starting at 7:30 a.m. daily. All services are free.