Rick Wilson, the leading rider at Philadelphia Park, made his first ride of 1986 in Maryland a winning one yesterday when he took favored Lil Tyler to a six-length victory in the $50,000-added Goss L. Stryker Stakes at Laurel Race Course.
Lacuna Jive saved ground to beat Marching Lord by a length for second place.
"My mount wanted to go on early," Wilson said, "but I wanted to rate him and he did just as I wanted. When I asked him to run, you know the rest."
The victory for Lil Tyler ($5.40) was worth $34,840 to owner Larry Littman of Philadelphia. The son of Halo ran the mile over a sloppy track in 1:38 3/5.
Laurel will feature the inaugural running of the $50,000-added Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Handicap today. The new race is named for a popular black trainer who was killed in a plane crash last summer and was timed to coincide with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Willard Scott, Sparrowvon and Jyp are considered the top contenders in the mile event, while trainer King Leatherbury has a four-horse entry, led by promising Brilliant Stepper.
Cash proceeds from the special half-priced admission coupons will be donated to the Harrison E. Johnson Scholarship Fund established to help young black Americans pursue educational goals.