BALTIMORE, AUG. 24 -- Pimlico ended its summer meeting today, capped by Groom's Reckoning's victory in the $50,000 Rollicking Stakes. Maryland racing will move to Timonium for 10 days, as part of the Maryland State Fair, and will return here Sept. 6.
The fifth running of the Rollicking Stakes, a six-furlong race for 2-year-old registered Maryland-breds, had figured to be a race between Groom's Reckoning and Axial Rift. In their previous meeting, Axial Rift won a 5 1/2-furlong event as Groom's Reckoning finished fifth.
The horses went off today as 8-to-5 co-favorites.
Groom's Reckoning started poorly, falling back to sixth as Axial Rift pulled to the lead, hitting the quarter-mile in 23:1. But by the half-mile pole, jockey Micheal Hunter was able to angle Groom's Reckoning to the outside and moved up to third.
Around the turn, Hunter switched to whipping his mount left-handed and left the field. Maintaining speed, Groom's Reckoning finished first by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:12 2/5. Gala Spinaway stayed on the rail the entire distance for second. Axial Rift ended up third.
Groom's Reckoning paid $5.40, $4 and $2.60. Gala Spinaway earned $5.40 and $3, and Axial Rift $2.80.
"My horse broke a little slow," said Hunter, "but I got good position on the outside. When I asked him, he took off." Hunter, who rode 16 winners during the summer meet, will skip the Timonium session, choosing to take a vacation in Ocean City.
Groom's Reckoning, owned by Bethesda construction executive Howard M. Bender, may race next in the Stallion Stakes at Calder in Miami. The brown colt, sired by 1982 Travers Stakes-winner Runaway Groom, also is eligible for the $150,000 The Juvenile at Laurel Dec. 8.
Pimlico ended the 22-day summer meet with an average daily handle of $1,503,599 and an average daily attendance of 10,344. The attendance was up 1 percent over last year, but the handle was down 4.7 percent, reflecting a downward trend throughout the country this summer.
Edgar Prado was the meet's leading jockey with 40 wins, while King T. Leatherbury trained the most winners with 11.
The featured race during the Timonium meet will be the Alma North Handicap, a $40,000 allowance race for Maryland-bred fillies and mares. Ten races will be run daily at Timonium's half-mile track, except Labor Day, which will have an 11-race card.
None of the 10 days of programs will be simulcast to Laurel or Pimlico.