A group of fillies and mares that had been beaten regularly by Gala Lil finally had their revenge yesterday at Bowie in the Conniver Handicap.
A crowd of 15,010 kept the faith with Gala Lil, at 1 to 2, only to see the favorite devoured through the stretch by Shark's Jaws. Mani Pricess, a 25-to-1 shot, finished second in the field of six, 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner and nearly two lengths ahead of Avum.
Gala Lil, under high weight of 127 pounds, was a nose out of the money after having pressed Maui Princess' pace until the early stretch.
Shark's Jaws paid $11.40 straight and combined with Maui Pricess for a $161.40 exacta on the 1-5 combination.
"This only goes to prove how smart we are," the winner's owner, Baird Brittingham, said in the winner's circle. "Shark's Jaws raced for a claiming price $35,000 less than a month ago, Jan. 26."
That was the 4-year old filly's only victory in four starts this season. She was in receipt of 15 pounds, under 112, from Gala Lil yesterday, prompting trainer King Leatherbury to acknowledge: "I thought we had a chance, at the weights."
Gala Lil had won the All Brandy Handicap at Laurel and an overnight handicap at Bowie against much the same sort of state-bred competition she faced in the Conniver. However, her imposts in those two races were only 122 and 124 pounds.
Yesterday's victory netted Brittingham $17,485 of the $26,900 ourse. The owner is chairman of the board at Delaware Park and recently was elected president of the Thorough-bred Racing Association of the United States.
Shark's Jaws ridden by Leroy Moyers, was contest to let Gala Lil and Maui Prencess cut out the Conniver's early pace of 24 2/5' :48 4/5 and 1:14 1/5. She was third during that part of the race, two to these lengths off the leaders until reaching the far turn, where she quickly moved into a challenging position.
"I was able to go outside (four horses wide) at the top of the stretch because I knew I had plenty of horse," Moyers said. Shark's Jaws crossed directly in front of the tiring Gala Lil, approaching the eight pole, but she was clear at the point and continued on willingly to score with authority.
The winner was the second choice in the betting, slightly ahead of Gay Candy, which was last throughout the 11/16 miles. Shark's Jaws was timed in 1:46.