Jockey Phil Grove steered longshot Inclavatating to a driving victory in yesterday's $30,000-added Cameo Stakes at Laurel, but veteran jockey Bill Passmore attracted the most attention by winning with his first three mounts after being sidelined with a serious injury the past three months.
Ironically, it was Inclavatating who had flipped over on Passmore while entering the starting gate at Bowie Sept. 21, breaking the veteran rider's pelvis. Yesterday, Inclavatating won the only race in which a Passmore mount finished out of the winner's circle.
Passmore scored with Blackie Daw in the third, Best Man in the fourth and Princenesian in the seventh. His only other mount, Gosh All Hemlock, finished off the board in the Cameo.
Passmore, 48, has ridden more than 3,000 winners in a career that began in 1948 as an apprentice for the Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt stable in New York.
Yesterday, he said, "I love to ride horses; I always have. I ride for a man (King Leatherbury) who runs horses where they belong and have a good chance to win. Those three today were an example. They were all fit and ready. All I had to do was ride them out."
Passmore had an easy time of it in the third when Blackie Daw drew away handily in the stretch from Beam Reach.
Best Man, however, needed severe pressure to prevail over Ballroom Dancer in the fourth. The finish was classic Passmore as he shoved with hands and heels to win by a head.
Princenesian also required strong handling, scoring by a neck over Her Pal.
A crowd gathered at the winner's circle after the seventh race and gave Passmore a warm welcome. One fan yelled, "Attaboy, Bill, you'll be riding winners at 100."
The crowd of 14,193 maintained a slight drop in the average attendance at Laurel compared with last year.