Bowie Race Course opens Maryland's 1977-78 major thoroughbred season today with management hoping the favorite in the first race carries a name that will set the tone for the 34-day meeting.
The horse's name is Go Bet, an 8-year-old claimer being dropped from $8,500 to $5,000 competition against 10 rivals going 1 1/16 miles.
Judging by recent past performances, area fans will again support the Prince George's track in faithful fashion. Bowie averaged $979,949 in wagering at its 36-day session from Sept. 10 through Oct. 12 last year, a figure that was up slightly over the $975,42 average in 1975.
Bowie also enjoyed a successful early summer meeting this year. A $1 million average at this meet is quite possible.
All the leaders of the Bowie-Laurel-Pimlico circuit the past few seasons are ready for action. That means King Leatherbury, Dick Dutrow and Buddy Delp will be battling for the training title while Chris McCarron is pushed by [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] in the jockeys' standing [WORDS ILLEGIBLE]
Post [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] p.m. As usual, daily double [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] will be offered daily on the first [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] with exactas on the second through eighth events and a triple on the ninth race.
The richest attraction on Bowie's schedule is the $100,000 Governor's Gold Cup. The revised stake, designed for 3-yearpolds over 1 1/6 miles, will be presented on Oct. 8. Jatski winner of the Travers Stakes at Saratoga was the first nominee.
Today's feature is the $28,300 Marlboro Nursery Stakes, a seven-furlong sprint for 2-year-old fillies. Mesa Warrant, the only stake winner among the 10 entrants, is certain to command a large share of the wagering along with Itsamaza. Completing the field are Danger Bearing, Anti Social, Pagojay, Brokerette, Paradigmatic, Treat, Distinctiveanswer and Lillians Flight.
Mesa Warrant captured the Blue Hen Stakes at Delaware Park on July 24 as Danger Bearing finished third, beaten by more than three lengths. Glenn Ballenger, the owner-trainer-breeder of Mesa Warrant, then shipped his filly to Monmouth Park for the $100,000 Soriority Stakes where she ran sixth against several of the quickest 2-year-old fillies in the nation.
Returned to Maryland. Mesa Warrant finished third against colts on Sept. 3 in the Timonium Futurity. The Futurity marked Mesa Warrant's second start against males. She ran sixth in the Primer Stakes at Bowie last May.
The conditions of the Marlboro Nursery penalize Mesa Warrant six pounds for having won a stake. The bay Virginia-bred daughter of Double Warrant must carry 119 pounds today compared with 113 on the others.
Itsamaza defeated Danger Bearing by a nose in her last start, Aug. 26 at Delaware. The victory was the third straight for the Limit To Reason filly which broke her maiden by eight lengths July 20 at Belmont Park in a $45,000 claiming dash.
Itsamaza ran six furlongs in the 4:10, 3:5 at Delaware the day she edged Danger Bearing. Mesa Warrant required 1:12 and 4/5 for the same distance when she won the Blue Hen. The Delaware Strip became faster as that meeting progressed, however, and the two races were five weeks apart.