Cast Party, a supplementary entry from the Greentree Stable, raced through traffic and around a foul claim to win the 60th running of the Laurel Futurity yesterday at Laurel Race Course.
The margin of victory was one length over longshot Pax In Bello, whose jockey, Craig Perret, claimed foul against the winning jockey, Jorge Velasquez. The two favorites in the race, Pappa Riccio and Sunny's Halo, contended on the pace early, but finished sixth and ninth, respectively, in the 11-horse field of 2-year-old colts.
Cast Party, a scrawny roan gelding trained by Robert Reinacher Jr., covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45 over a fast track, paying $10.60, $7.20 and $4.60. The time was far off the 1:41 3/5 record set in 1978 by Spectacular Bid.
Cast Party won $145,293 of the total $242,155 purse, the richest to date for this race, which Greentree, one of the country's best-known stables, last won in 1950 with Big Stretch. Cast Party will race just once more as a 2-year-old before he is shipped to Florida for the winter, Reinacher said.
Velasquez waved aside the claim of interference at the quarter pole and the stewards agreed with him after viewing the videotape replays. "There was no interference," Velasquez said. "I was carried wide."
Pax in Bello had broken for the lead, along with Two Davids, and Perret said Velasquez "dropped in on me (at the quarter pole) and tightened up a gang of us and caused me to steady for a stride or two."
However, the replays showed that Perret was not fouled by the winner.
Near the three-eighths pole, when Velasquez urged his horse to move up, "a couple of horses stopped in front of me," he said. To avoid clipping their heels, Velasquez pulled Cast Party and swung around to the extreme outside. Pax In Bello was one of the horses running inside Cast Party and was boxed at that point.
Sunny's Halo, the Canadian horse who went off as a 2.20-to-1 favorite, stayed close to the lead, with Two Davids and Pax In Bello, for almost six furlongs, before dropping back to finish ninth. Pappa Riccio, sent off at 2.70 to 1, had trouble with the track, according to jockey Don MacBeth.
Pappa Riccio, a son of Nashua, raced wearing blinders for the first time yesterday, a device to push the colt a bit. "He will do only what he has to and no more," said his trainer, Reynaldo Nobles, before the race "This is a chance to see what else he can do."
But blinders or no, Pappa Riccio wasn't much of a factor, running in third place at the half-mile marker, about four lengths behind the leaders.
Cast Party overtook Primitive Pleasure, half of a Leroy Jolley-trained entry, just inside the eighth pole and steadily galloped toward the wire a length ahead of Pax In Bello.
Primitive Pleasure, which Jolley and his mother bred, finished third and tired through the stretch, according to jockey Jack Kaenel. "He didn't break too good, but when he got running he moved well."
White Birch, the other Jolley colt, finished fifth.
Reinarcher, 35, has been training full time for Greentree since January, and called this a big victory.