Niatross was not at Freestate Raceway last night, but it still was his night at the Laurel track as his sons won the two divisions of the $272,470 Terrapin Stakes.
Driver Bill O'Donnell guided both winners -- Handsome Sum in the first division and highly regarded Nihilator in the second, each in 1:57 1/5. The track condition was sloppy.
In the first division, 3-2 race favorite Broadway Express, driven by Ron Waples, shot to the lead but lost it quickly as Niafirst, another Niatross colt, rolled to the front by the quarter-mile pole.
Niafirst, in turn, lost the lead quickly as O'Donnell moved Handsome Sum out and took the lead by the clubhouse turn.
"I didn't want to take the chance of sitting third in the race," said O'Donnell, who has won more than $28 million in purses. "I drove this horse once before and he raced really well on the front."
In the back stretch, Handsome Sum was challenged from the outside by Town Council and Leading Escort. However, with the slow fractions on the sloppy racing surface (:58 1/5 at the half), Handsome Sum had more than enough to hold off all comers.
Handsome Sum's co-owner, Bob Boni, who also has an interest in Nihilator, said the colt was a $92,000 yearling purchase and was "the second-best colt we have behind Nihilator."
Nihilator won the second division by three lengths. Neros Star was second and Zephyr Almahurst third.
At the start, Nihilator was parked out for nearly a half-mile. But he lived up to his billing, showed no ill effect from the tough first half and rolled to an easy victory in 1:57 1/5. Nihilator covered the last half in :57 1/5.