Bea Quality overtook Fuzzy around the final turn, then withstood bids from Count My Love and Warm Season through the stretch to win the $54,500 Marylander Handicap, which highlighted today's opening-day program at Pimlico.
A crowd of 12,359 sent Bea Quality to the gate at 7-to-2 odds -- third choice in a six-horse field. The 4-year-old gelding had not raced farther than seven furlongs this year; he refuted those who doubted his stamina, covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:43 1/5 over a sloppy track and defeating Count My Love (9 to 1) by a half-length. Warm Season (16 to 1) was third, a neck back.
Bea Quality broke first, but Wayne Lukas-trained Fuzzy quickly challenged him outside. They ran together into the backstretch, about five lengths in front of Warm Season and Count My Love. Castelets, the 6-to-5 favorite, broke last and trailed the leaders by as many as 18 lengths.
Bea Quality left Fuzzy behind midway around the far turn, where Warm Season accelerated four-wide into second, a neck behind the leader. Bea Quality, on the inside, refused to yield under the steady right-handed pressure of Jesse Davidson through the stretch, and Gregg McCarron advanced Count My Love past Warm Love in the final half-furlong to finish second. Castelets rallied to finish fourth.
Bea Quality won $35,425 for owner Fred Greene Jr. of College Park. He has earned $91,164 this year, winning three of 10 starts.
I Am The Game, Maryland's 3-year-old champion of 1985, was scratched because of an ankle injury.
Later, Davidson rode Famous Comic to victory over Trade Wind Native in the $15,925 Frank Gall Memorial Stakes at Charles Town (W.Va.) race track.
Apprentice jockey William Delgado escaped serious injury after falling from his mount in today's ninth race. He was taken to Sinai Hospital, treated and released.
Delgado had Sky Blazer on the rail into the first turn, when he bumped slightly with Great Bail, ridden by apprentice jockey Cheryl Long. Delgado lost control, then was unseated and landed beneath the inside rail but did not strike it.