Veteran jockey Bill Passmore pushed John B. Merryman's Push 'N Six to the front in Pimlico's featured Syrian Sea Purse today, then nursed the 5-year-old mare to a clear victory over longshot Nobulee.
Heavily favored The Very One finished a distant fourth. Push 'N Six returned $6.60.
The Syrian Sea was the first feature race at Pimlico since racing was called off at Laurel last week because of its washed-out strip. A crowd of 8,099 showed up at the Baltimore track in ideal weather.
The handle reached $961,171. On the camparable day last year at Bowie, the attendance was 6,581 and the handle was $819,404.
Horses breaking from the No. 4 post position won the first two races, Native Boone clinching the opener and Gunsight getting up in the second race. The daily-double payoff on the 4-4 combination returned $231.80.
Smart Angle and Par Excellence are the only two stakes winners among the six 2-year-old fillies entered for Saturday's Selima Stakes at Pimlico.
With five stakes victories to her credit Smart Angle is the nation's leading aspirant for an Eclipse Award in her sex and age group.
Nonetheless, Street Ballet, trained by Bud Delp, figures to test Smart Angle. The well-bred daughter of Nijinsky II has the speed necessary to win at Pimlico, especially in route races.
Jockey Jim Edwards showed the most vigor and daring while riding at Laurel and on the opening-day program here. Edwards, who usually rides in New Jersey, appears determined to make a name for himself in this area. His ride astride Native Boone in the first race was a study in determination.