Rarely does a racehorse achieve something no other horse has done when beaten by 4 1/2 lengths. But George's Gift had that distinction yesterday at Bowie, despite finishing second in the $27,050 Virginia Belle Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
George's Gift was within 4 1/2 lengths of Dainty Dotsie at the end of the six furlongs, and that was closer than any of the 31 rivals have come against Dainty Dotsie in the five starts. The Pennyslvania filly won her four outings at Keystone by 17, nine, five and six lengths.
Dainty Dotsie won quite easily, however. She broke on top for jockey Barry Phelps. George's Gift stayed close to the leader until the top of the stretch, at which point Dainty Dotsie bounded off to complete the six furlongs in 1.12. The winner returned $2.80 straight as the 2-to-5 favorite of 14,626 fans.
"She goes back to Garden State Sunday," trainer Jim Cowden declared. "The plans call for her to be rested until the spring because she has a little shin problem that will require being looked after."
That is the only problem Dainty Dotsie has at this time. She is by Olden Times out of a Mito mare, which means a mile distance certainly is within her scope. The Virginia Belle was her second stakes success. There will be more.
Yesterday's cofeature was the $27,650 Stryker Handicap for older Marylandbreds. King of Fools captured the 1-1/16-mile event by making the last run through the stretch.
"It's about time," owner-breeder Fendall Clagett said in the winner's circle. "He has been second or third in 11 stakes."
Pistol White, the 120-pound high weight, was made the 13-to-10 favorite but could finish no better than third after leading in the early stretch. King of Fools tallied by 1/2 lengths over Gala Harry, the second choice and paid $13.60 straight. His time for the distance was 1:48 2/5.
"The blinkers being taken off probably helped King Of Fools," jockey John K. Adams said. "This horse likes to make his run on the outside."
Adams had King of Fools in perfect position, if that's the case, at the top of the lane. Gala Harry, Jolly John, the 50-to-1 Westering Home and Pistol White all were very much in contention leaving the eight pole, only to battle for the lesser parts of the purse once King Of Fools charged past.
Adams rode four of the days 10 winners. In addition to King Of Fools, he also scored on Make News, $39.80, in the second; Last Intrique., $8.20, in the sixth, and Whiffenpoof, $9, in the finale.
The four victories increased Adams' total for the meeting to 28, earning him a tie for the first place in the Bowie standings with Chris McCarron.
Yesterday's biggest surprise occurred in the seventh race when Do The Bump was defeated, as the 3-to-5 favorite, by Fratello Ed. Do The Bump has bumped heads successfully with several of the country's better 3-year-olds but he lost by a half-length. Fratello Ed had performed well in New York Fund stakes but was suspect in open company, returning $7.20.
Fratello Ed required 1.12 2/5 for the sprint, driving, or two-fifths of a second more than Dainty Dotsie needed while finishing under wraps.