From the jostling, jarring and pounding that took place in the $114,350 General George Stakes at Laurel yesterday emerged Maryland's top contender for the heavyweight crown of 3-year-old thoroughbreds: Private Terms.
Afforded running room in the stretch, he rallied under Kent Desormeaux, passed Royal Legend inside the 16th-mile pole and beat late-surging Dynaformer by 1 1/2 lengths, with Delightful Doctor another neck behind. Dynaformer jockey Vince Bracciale Jr. filed an objection against Desormeaux, claiming interference around the final turn; after a 14-minute review, stewards disallowed the protest.
The ruling made owner-breeder Stuart Janney Jr. of Locust Hill Farm $72,328 richer, kept Private Terms unbeaten in four starts and extended the Triple Crown aspirations of Janney and trainer Charlie Hadry. And if the crowd of 10,812 considered the outcome predictable -- Private Terms was the 8-to-5 favorite among 12 betting units -- Desormeaux called it a triumph of heroic proportion.
"With all the bumping going on in that race," said Laurel's leading jockey, "he had every opportunity to give up. The main thing is, he showed guts; he had desire for the wire."
As Michael Josh and Royal Legend battled for the lead around the turn, Desormeaux gunned Private Terms into fifth place, between Ocala Jet and Cameo Type. Then, to avoid Delightful Doctor, Desormeaux swung his mount outside, and Bracciale checked Dynaformer.
But Bracciale passed every horse in his path -- five, all told -- except for Private Terms, who was clocked in 1:38 4/5.