Billy Kilmer has never managed to win a Super Bowl, but today he won something even more lucrative: the $62,000 Super Bowl Handicap at Gulfstream Park.
Raymond Earl, a 4-year-old colt the Redskin quarterback bought with a partner last week, captured the stakes race by five lengths and earned his new owners $37,200. He carried burgundy and gold silks emblazoned with No. 17.
Kilmer took a significant financial plunge to acquire Raymond Earl that represented the culmination of years of dabbling in the thoroughbred game. A racing fan much of his life, Kilmer bought his first horse, a brood mare, in 1972. Shortly thereafter he became a shareholder in the Virginia Stallion Station, a breeding operation, along with fellow Redskin Pat Fischer.
But those investments were relatively minor, compared with Raymond Earl. "Larry Perkins is a friend of mine and asked ne if I wanted to be his partner in buying this horse," Kilmer said. "Raymond Earl had earned more than $100,000 last year and he's going to get better. When we retire him we can breed him. With his record and bloodlines, we can get as much as $2,000 a shot."
With that reasoning, Kilmer and Perkins, a trainer, decided to spend a reported $200,000 to buy the animal from Robert N. Lehmann. At the time of the transaction, Kilmer said, he wasn't aware that Raymond Earl was nominated for the Super Bowl Handicap. But Perkins knew he was going to have a quick chance to recoup part of his investment.
"It wasn't as bad as before a football game, but I felt some butterflies before the race," Kilmer admitted. During the race, however, he did not have to worry much.
Raymond Earl, the 2-to-1 second choice in the wagering, broke quickly and battled head and head for the early lead with longshot Abominable. After racing a sizzling half-mile in 43 4/5 seconds, Abominable faded and Raymond Earl inherited a comfortable lead. He was never threatened after that.
Jockey Jeffrey Fell didn't have to punish him as he coasted to the finish line ahead of runner-up Noon Time Spender.
"I found a way to win the Super Bowl without getting any bumps and bruises," Kilmer said in the winner's circle. "And I made more money out of it than those guys will tomorrow."