Thoroughbred trainer Tom Amoss was relaxing at his Kentucky home, watching his other sporting passion - Southeastern Conference football - on television yesterday when he was informed that Miss Lodi had scored a notable victory at Pimlico Race Course.
The Amoss-trained filly vanquished a stellar field of seven rivals, pulling away from For Rubies in the stretch to capture the Grade III, $100,000 Safely Kept Stakes by a length.
Amoss heaved a sigh of relief that a jockey he had never heard of until last week had proved a wise choice.
"I tried to get [Mario] Pino and they held me up and then told me no," Amoss said. "We don't get the eastern Form [Daily Racing Form] that has Pimlico in it down here, so I didn't know what the rider standings were.
"I went somewhere else and found out he was third in the meet that was completed at Laurel. But nowhere did it show an apprentice designation by his name. When I called and his agent's phone message said, 'the agent for apprentice Ryan Fogelsonger,' I thought, 'Oh, my. I hope none of the owners object.' "
They certainly didn't after Maryland's hottest rider guided Miss Lodi into a stalking position, moved outside at the head of the stretch and steadily wore down For Rubies, another of the five out-of-towners in the mix.
She completed six furlongs in 1 minute, 11.20 seconds and set up a $56 exacta payoff.
It was the fourth victory in six career starts for Miss Lodi, a chestnut by Mr. Greeley out of Firtide who is owned by R.C. Colton Jr. & Mast Thoroughbred LLC. For both horse and jockey, the win was the first in graded-stakes company.
'Magic' is back
Magic Weisner returned to his Laurel Park barn yesterday from nearly two weeks at the New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania after contracting West Nile virus.
"His appetite is good and his eye looks very happy to be home," said owner, trainer and exercise rider Nancy Alberts. "But it's not going to be real easy to get him back together because he has to get the feeling back in his hind end after all the swelling."