French-bred L'Heureux broke loose from the pack at the ninth jump and won by nine lengths over Running Comment in the inaugural running of the Prince of Wales Cup, covering the 2 3/16ths miles steeplechase in 4:14 before a Fair Hill opening day crowd of 8,256.

"I was as surprised as anybody," said jockey Doug Fout. "He's still young and he was running against some pretty good older horses . . . I've ridden him four times now and we usually had to come from way back . . . "

The 4-year-old is owned by Beverly Steinman and trained by the jockey's father, Paul Fout, Middleburg, Va.

Cookie, the cofavorite with Sports Reporter, led through the early stages with stakes winners On Maneuvers and Timony close up. At the ninth jump the winner made his move. He led by five lengths at the 10th jump and increased the margin to seven at the final jump. Timony was third with Sports Reporter fourth.

Rode to Freedom, trained by Paddy Neilson and ridden by Buzz Hannum, won the James Stump Memorial by eight lengths over Hamid. Shy Donald finished third.

The race is a major test toward Maryland's novice timber championship, which will be announced after Fair Hill's closing date on Memorial Day.