BALTIMORE, JUNE 5 -- Ben Perkins Jr. isn't spending this summer in New Jersey, a decision some trainers here are beginning to regret.

Perkins, one of New Jersey's leading trainers, brought his stable to Maryland last month and has made himself comfortable. Manlove, a 3-year-old colt of fashionable pedigree, made it no less so today with his first-race victory over high-class maidens at Pimlico.

Perkins normally is stationed at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., this time of year, but with an increasing number of clients from this area he made the switch.

"A lot of our other people live near Philly, and for them it's not much of a difference between Monmouth and the Maryland tracks," he said. "Monmouth is nice in the summer, but night racing at the Meadowlands {starting in September} some of our owners don't really care for."

Perkins was fairly well-known in Maryland before he checked in, having sent horses here for stakes and allowance races. The son of retired trainer Ben Perkins Sr. brought 25 horses of quality to Laurel and has won with six of 26 starters.

Far Out Nurse got off to a healthy start when she won her debut by nearly seven lengths Saturday at Pimlico, and Manlove also showed traces of stakes-race potential with his conquest today.

"He's any kind of horse," said jockey Chris DeCarlo, who arrived with Perkins and rides much of the stable. "He doesn't even know how to run yet."

Manlove is an Allaire du Pont homebred out of Thirty Flags by the great Mr. Prospector from whom Perkins still is trying to extract talent. "He's kind of a project," Perkins said. "He was a little ornery when we got him last summer, but he's coming around."

A late-gaining second in his only other start, Manlove was again the laggard today -- until the far turn. "At the five-eighths pole I thought I didn't have a shot," DeCarlo said.

Manlove began circling horses through the far turn, but at the same time Hawking S.W. dispatched of Rare Stake to take the lead. He opened a three-length lead in early stretch, but Manlove maintained enough force to pass him near the wire for a half-length victory, paying $4 as the favorite.

His 1 1/16-mile time of 1:45 was not outstanding given that two later claiming races went faster, but Perkins and DeCarlo say Manlove is still learning and therefore certain to improve.

"He's a stakes horse," DeCarlo said, which the colt might substantiate in the Governor's Cup at Laurel on June 23. "He's so big and ugly too. But he's comfortable to ride; you wouldn't think he is."

Boosted by the Perkins stable, DeCarlo, 21, is starting to get outside work as well. He won a race for veteran trainer Vinnie Blengs today, rallying Crown The Leader along the rail to win the card's only turf race.

"I know my business is not that fast right now, but I'm riding good horses," said DeCarlo, who has ridden in New York, New Jersey and Florida. "At least when I ride I know I've got a chance to win, especially with Mr. Perkins's horses."

Perkins said he "is committed" to staying here through the year and will keep a smaller stable in New Jersey.

Prado Hurt at Bowie

Edgar Prado, Pimlico's second-leading rider, received 12 stitches above his right eye following a mishap at Bowie Race Course this morning. He canceled his eight mounts at Pimlico.

Prado, 22, was injured when an unraced filly trained by Dale Capuano fell on the clubhouse turn during a workout. Prado apparently was cut when his face struck the filly's head. X-rays were negative, and Prado was said to have suffered no other injuries.

The horse, who apparently took a bad step, was not hurt.

Prado might ride Thursday, said his agent, Steve Rushing.