Tinton Falls Stable's Talc one of the most consistent handicap performers in the East, tops a strong field of eight named for today's feature, the $28,000 Fort McHenry Handicap at Bowie.
The Maryland-bred 3-year-old champion of 1975 carries top weight of 122 pounds and will be ridden by Bowie's leading jockey, Chris McCarron, in the 1 1-16-mile race. The winner will net $18,200.
Talc brings to Maryland a seasonal tab of three victories in five starts, mostly on the New York circuit. His lone Free State performance this year was a convincing five-length triumph in Pimlico's City of Baltimore Handicap. The 5-year-old son of Rock Talk has gotten off to an impressive 1977 start and will be a factor in the Maryland-bred handicap division.
John B. Merryman's Pistol White, who is conditioned by the owner's son, Edwin, is second high weight at 120 pounds and appears to be rounding into the form that saw him string together five straight victories last year, culminated by a states winning performance in Keystone's Quaker Handicap.
The 5-year-old gelding put together two allowance victories at Bowie last month and turned in a good 59 4/5 training move for Merryman's daughter Ann Small at Bowie late last week. Veteran Herb Hinojosa will ride Pistol White.
The remainder of the field is H. George Schneider's Resound, 113, John K. Adams: Larking Hill Farm's King Of Fools, 112, Rudy L. Turcotte: Paul Henderson's Vambourine. 110, Arnold Hiescu: Aaron U. Jones Excepto, 113, no rider: Witching Four Farm's Walk Tall, III. Leroy Moyers, and Locust Hill Farm's Take The Pledge, III, no rider.
Resound and King Of Fools, also 5-year-olds, are added-money winners this year and both will have a say in the outcome. Resound took a division of Pimlico's Jennings Handicap during Preakness week and finished 2 1/2 lengths behind Blue Times in a division of the prestigious Massachusetts Handicap in his latest.
King Of Fools won the Goss L. Stryker at Bowie during the winter. He has won the last three of his four races here and can't be overlooked.