Jack Owens, a self-made construction magnate who gained prominence as a thoroughbred owner with Little Bold John, has sold his racing and breeding stock to trainer Jerry Robb in a package that included the star gelding.
In the the deal completed earlier this month, Robb acquired Little Bold John and 13 others for about $300,000. The terms concerning Little Bold John were hazy. Owens said the $1.8 million winner was a gift to Robb, who selected and trained him; Robb said each horse was negotiated separately and he paid an undisclosed sum for the 8-year-old.
Robb and Owens together bought Little Bold John for $30,000 from breeder Hal C.B. Clagett when the horse was 2. Robb later sold his half-interest to Owens, and Little Bold John went on to win 25 stakes races and two Maryland-bred titles. Although slowed by injuries this year, he remains the richest active Maryland-bred.
Little Bold John is recovering from surgery in which part of the splint bone was removed from a hind leg and might resume training in January, according to Robb. He said it was premature to speculate the caliber of competition Little Bold John would face, adding that claiming races would not be ruled out.
Owens, who is semi-retired and spends half the year in Florida, said the decision to sell was fueled in part by a lack of depth in his racing and breeding stock. However, he said the liquidation does not mean he's through with racing forever.
"Sometimes it pays to clean house and start over," said Owens, who bought his first horse in 1980. He said if he does return to the business, Robb would be his trainer.
Maryland racing has heard the last of Milo Perrins. The track announcer apologized to Laurel officials yesterday for leaving the track early in Tuesday's program with no warning, General Manager Jim Mango said, but he will not fulfill his final two days of race-calling.
Perrins apparently became ill just before the third race, which was run in silence.
John Curran, track announcer at Delaware, called eight of Laurel's 10 races yesterday; Jehan Malherbe described the other two. That formula will be repeated today before Malherbe takes over full-time for most of December.
Laurel is seeking an announcer for January and February when Malherbe will call races in his homeland, South Africa.
Perrins had been scheduled to call races at Laurel through today after announcing his resignation earlier this month. . . .
Sir Sprite won his third straight race, a $50,000 claimer, and helped move trainer Howard Wolfendale closer to Ben Perkins in winning percentage. Both are winning with astounding frequency: Perkins is at 43.8 percent (14 for 32), Wolfendale 43.1 percent (22 for 51).
Wolfendale said Colonel Hill, the Maryland-bred 2-year-old who won the Devil's Bag Stakes in his first start, is gearing for the $150,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship on Dec. 8. He and owner-breeder Vic DiVivo had considered the Hollywood Futurity. . . .
Jockey Allen Stacy received a seven-day suspension for allowing Chas' Whim to shut off Reputed Testamony in Sunday's Annapolis Handicap. . . . The double-triple carryover begins today at $111,041.
Management of the Charles Town Races announced it will withdraw a proposal to levy a $2-per-day stall rental fee after facing staunch opposition from regional and national representatives of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. In a brief statement, track officials said the measure was retracted, in part, "to promote better working relations" with the HBPA.