Horseplayers who have changed their betting ways to concentrate on long shots for 1988 had the right idea in yesterday's $55,425 Resolution Handicap at Laurel.
Rollodka, 9 to 1 in a field of eight, rallied four-wide around the turn and galloped to a one-length victory over late-gaining Southern Appeal (16 to 1), with Dynergy (18 to 1) another 1 1/2 lengths back in third. Dynergy's jockey, Danny Wright, claimed foul against the winner for interference in the stretch, but the objection was disallowed.
As the stewards contemplated Wright's protest and reviewed tapes of the race, jockey Ron Franklin stood in the winner's circle, seemingly mesmerized at the flashing digits on Laurel's tote board. Since he was suspended two years ago for drug violations, Franklin hadn't ridden a stakes winner; now, his first was in jeopardy.
"You don't know how nervous I am," Franklin said. "This would give me a big stakes win under my belt. It would really lift my spirits."
When the decision was announced, Franklin leaped, then shook hands vigorously with Rollodka owner Lindy Redding of Glen Burnie, Md., and trainer Ernest (Chico) Green.
Rollodka was one of two prosperous claims in 1987 by Redding, who said he looks for "horses who can be improved." He acquired Rollodka for $25,000 in April, and the gelding, now 8, since has won five races and more than $100,000.
Redding also spent $25,000 to claim Coastal Illusion, and he's won three straight allowance races.
"When I claimed Rollodka, I had two horses in the barn," Redding said. "Now I have 10, and I also bought a truck and trailer, which are paid off."
Yesterday, Rollodka was able to sit behind a three-horse speed duel, although, Franklin said, "I didn't want him to be laying that close."
But Baldski's Choice, Endless Surprise and Eclipso wore themselves out straining for the lead, and Rollodka circled them leaving the far turn. On a fast track, he finished a mile in 1:38 4/5.
Due North, 8 to 5 favorite off his Maryland City Handicap victory three weeks back, had a perfect trip and a splendid ride under Mike Hunter but never fired, finishing fourth. Heavily backed Endless Surprise (7 to 2) finished seventh and Eclipso (2 to 1) pulled up.