Port Conway Lane, a 13-year-old gelding, won his 50th race yesterday when he ran down longshot Classy Mac in the final yards to win by half a length at Laurel. The son of Bold Commander reached the milestone in his 227th start.
Bill Passmore, the 49-year-old jockey, allowed Port Conway Lane to lag early, then challenged for the lead approaching the stretch run. Once in front, Port Conway Lane appeared to ease off and had to be urged to prevail.
Passmore said, "He's game. He's smart. He knows what is expected of him."
Added trainer King T. Leatherbury, "He will continue to run as long as he stays sound. Of course, the added stress of running figures to shorten his life, but then he is an athlete and animal athletes don't usually compete for as long as he has."
The victory, worth $3,300, brought Port Conway Lane's career earnings to $420,481 and his seasonal earnings to $16,000. He ran the mile over a fast track in 1:39 4/5 and paid $3.60 as the 4-to-5 favorite.
It was the gelding's second victory in seven days, after losing by a head and a nose in two photo finishes. He has won four times this year.
"He's a remarkable old fellow," said Leatherbury. "He's got all the energy and vitality of a younger athlete. You'd never know he is 13."
Owner Glenn Lane of Highlands, N.J., said he claimed Port Conway Lane at Monmouth Park during the summer, "basically to give back to King." Leatherbury had saddled the horse for other owners.