Preakness notes: I'll Have Another gives Pimlico bettors plenty of reasons to celebrate

They might not have rivaled the revelry in the winner's circle after Saturday's Preakness, but the lines in front of the tellers' windows at Pimlico Race Course were abuzz with fans shouting in excitement about their winning tickets.

Rick Digrigoli, of Hoover, Ala., left the window folding bills into his wallet, the result of an exacta bet on top two finishers I'll Have Another and Bodemeister.


Digrigoli has been coming to the Preakness with friends for 17 years, but his win of about $46 on a $5 bet wasn't the result of experience.

"I called my kids back home — one of them liked I'll Have Another, and the other one said Bodemeister," he said with a smile, crediting 5-year-old Brady and 6-year-old Paige.


Because he had both horses on his ticket, the thrilling finish down the stretch actually didn't matter to Digrigoli.

"Yeah, I didn't care," he said. "I'm just here to have a good time."

Jahari Adjiri was working her first Preakness as a security guard, and her first bet — on a tip from a co-worker — was $15 on I'll Have Another.

"That was exciting," the Baltimore resident said. "The horses are just so beautiful, and to see them all run was gorgeous."

Pat Blevins of Bel Air has been coming to the Preakness with her sister annually since 1981, and her strategy was simple.

"Every year, we bet on the [Kentucky] Derbywinner," said Blevins, who placed $5 on I'll Have Another to win. "I'd like to see a Triple Crown winner when I come out to the races."

This year, she might, which only added to the excitement in the aftermath of Saturday's race.

A distinct Terps flavor

University of Maryland fans made their presence felt Saturday through their ownership of horses whose names clearly showed their allegiance to the Terps.

Among the Terps fans involved with horses is Fred Greene Jr., a Maryland grad and a Terps football and basketball fan. When his daughter Deborah was 8, he took her to her first Maryland football game and she fell in love with the team.

So when her Dad bred Sweetsoutherndessa — named after his wife, Odessa — and they got a gray foal three years ago, they named it Coach Fridge after their favorite football coach, Maryland's Ralph Friedgen.

Friedgen's contract was bought out after the 2010 season. He was 75-50 in 10 seasons at Maryland.


"We hadn't met Coach Friedgen when we named the colt," Deborah said. "When we were about to run in the Maryland Million [on Oct. 1], we sent an invitation to him to come to the race. We thought he already knew about the horse, but he didn't. I was in the grocery store when my cell phone rang. I answered, and he said, 'This is Ralph Friedgen.'"

She said she went a little crazy, she was so excited. "He's extremely flattered we named our horse after him," she said. "And he's been to the barn to see him, but he hasn't seen him run yet."

Deborah Greene was thrilled Saturday when Coach Fridge rallied for a second-place finish in The Cover Girl Purse, a 5-furlong turf allowance race.

"I love this horse," she said. "He has a lot of believe in him, and he's so sweet. You can pet him and play with him and he loves cookies — just like Coach Fridge."

Not unlike the end of Friedgen's tenure at Maryland, there is some controversy surrounding his namesake. Greene and her father filed Monday with the Court of Appeals of Maryland to have their horse restored as the winner of the Maryland Million Nursery race for 2-year-old colts.

Glib, trained by John Robb, won but failed a post-race drug test and was disqualified by the Maryland stewards. Coach Fridge, who finished second, was elevated to first. But on an appeal to the Maryland Racing Commission, Glib was restored to first place.

"To me and our attorney, it is unprecedented that they did not disqualify the horse," Deborah Greene said, noting that Maryland racing has a no-tolerance policy for drug use.

Also at Pimlico on Saturday were some of the owners of 4-year-old Maryland-bred Mystical Terp. Many of the horses' owners are Maryland grads.

"We love the Terps," said Timothy L. Keefe, one of the owners.

The horse ran at Pimlico on Thursday but did not win. Its colors are black, red and gold — the colors of the university's athletic teams.

Done Talking stays quiet

After Maryland-based Done Talking finished 14th out of 20 horses at the Kentucky Derby, the horse's trainer said he didn't seriously consider him as a Preakness entry.

"He would have had to be in the first five horses or so" at Churchill Downs, said trainer Hamilton Smith, who is based at Laurel Park.

Done Talking was entered instead on the Preakness undercard and didn't fare any better, finishing seventh among 10 horses in the James Murphy Stakes.

"He had no excuse," Hamilton said.

The race was won by Skyring, trained by D. Wayne Lukas.

Proud of 'Humble'

Sagamore Farm didn't win any races Preakness Day, but Humble and Hungry made manager Tom Mullikin and trainer Ignacio Correas proud.

The 4-year-old son of Limehouse charged down the Pimlico front stretch to capture second in the $300,000 Grade II Jagermeister Dixie Stakes, second to Hudson Steele.

"I love that horse," Mullikin said. "He shows up every time. It's so much fun having him in our barn. He's a grinder, and this is the first time he's gone a mile and an eighth."

Correas said the horse was "sitting on a big race. He's an awesome horse, and I wish I had more like him."

A suite experience

John Whitman looked like he had won the lottery — or at least a horse race.

Whitman, from Chicago, stood in the sunshine at an outdoor suite at the Preakness. The overhanging suite — located at the clubhouse turn — enabled spectators to feel as if they could peer over and look right down the track.

Whitman is among the partners of 90 North Racing Stables, a new syndicate formed by Justin Nicholson, 26, with the goal of bringing racing "to the public's doorstep." It is among a number of emerging "boutique partnerships."

The syndicate has relatively low buy-ins, which is why Whitman, 52, and fellow owner Bob Thomson of Windham, N.H., were feeling so fortunate to be in a cushy suite at the big race.

"We only own a small percentage and look at this," Whitman said, gesturing at the track in front of him.



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