When 16 3-year-olds passed the entry box for today's $100,000-added Governor's Cup at Bowie, trainer Leon Blusiewicz, who handles the promising colt Lejoli, said, "I don't believe 16 horses will actually start. I think many of them just want a look-see because it is such a big race."
But yesterday morning the gate crew practiced getting two starting gates onto the track in preparation for Bowie's richest race. The lone gate that is usually in use at Bowie holds only 14 starters.
The race itself today figures to be wide open, especially since several of the more celebrated contenders, such as highweighted Royal Roberto, come from well off the pace.
The pace for the Governor's Cup is expected to be contested by Fast As The Breeze, Northrop and two horses from New York, Lord Lister and Trenchant. The latter is trained by Phil Johnson and has a three-race victory streak.
Of the late runners, in addition to Royal Roberto, Shy Groom, Hidden Capital, Uno Roberto and Hush Hush Flash appear to be the most formidable. Shy Groom has earned $147,000 this year and Hidden Capital won the Rosemont Stakes at Delaware Park by four lengths.
Uno Roberto won a prep race over the Bowie track, beating Hush Hush Flash.
Should all 16 entrants start in the 1 1/8-mile race, the gross purse will reach $119,700, with $77,850 going to the winner.