Trainer Paul Seefeldt had tried to find the proper Lasix dosage for Templar Hill yesterday, but it was Katy Voss who came up with the winning formula as Due North rallied to win the $44,400 Maryland City Handicap at Laurel.
The race was a rematch between two of the state's top 3-year-olds: Templar Hill, the 3-to-2 favorite, and Baldski's Choice, and also included multiple stakes winner Green Book. Templar Hill and Baldski's Choice had beaten one another the past month, but Seefeldt believed Templar Hill reacted adversely to the antibleeding medication Lasix before Baldski's Choice won, and decided to decrease the amount before yesterday's race.
But Templar Hill never threatened, finishing fifth, and Seefeldt declined comment after the race.
Voss had been seeking a good spot to race Maryland-bred Due North the past several weeks. "It seemed like every time we found a spot, the race didn't fill," she said.
Due North won with a patient ride from Michael Hunter, who received the mount in unlikely fashion. Mario Pino had ridden Due North to first- and second-place finishes his past two starts, and Voss promised him the return ride.
But Pino was suspended seven days for a riding infraction, and Alberto Delgado, who had second call, secured the mount on Rollodka. Voss turned to Greg Hutton, but he was committed to ride Templar Hill, leaving Hunter the riding opportunity.
Hunter had Due North in striking position throughout, as Baldski's Choice took his customary lead out of the chute and down the backstretch. Although jockey Ben Feliciano had the speedster four lengths ahead of Due North and Rollodka into the far turn, Hunter wasn't concerned.
"I really felt comfortable," he said. "I was confident of my horse the whole way. Benny's horse wasn't going anywhere."
With less than a quarter-mile to go, Hunter prompted his mount and later said, "He took off like a rocket." Due North reached Baldski's Choice in less than a furlong and continued on to a 1 1/2-length victory, covering the mile in 1:36 2/5. In a photo finish for third, Rollodka beat His Own by a nose, three lengths behind Baldski's Choice.
Due North's victory moved Hunter into a second-place tie with Allen Stacy in Laurel's jockey standings, 51 victories behind leader Kent Desormeaux. It also gave Voss, whose stable struggled the first half of this year, her ninth victory in 29 starts (31 percent).