-- Trainer Lilith Boucher's cell phone started ringing moments after she had her picture taken Saturday in the Pimlico winner's circle for her 3-year-old gelding Class Concern's upset of 1-5 favorite Richetta in the $75,000 Humphrey S. Finney Stakes.
An assistant trainer on the other end was calling to tell Boucher another one of her runners, Class Sprite, had just knocked off a champion hurdle horse in a point-to-point race in Middleburg.
"That's the best," said Boucher, who before Saturday had never saddled a stakes winner in Maryland. "I owe that jockey $500. I promised I'd pay him if he won that race."
Considering Boucher's husband, Richard, rode Class Concern to victory at Pimlico, it was hard to tell which race she was more excited about.
The Finney, a 11/8-mile grass race for Maryland-bred 3-year-olds, didn't attract a particularly strong field, but it created a fascinating scenario as 2003 Maryland juvenile filly champion Richetta was making her first start on the turf and doing it against colts.
With her terrific turf breeding and a stakes victory at Monmouth Park in her most recent start, Richetta was pounded by horseplayers at the betting window.
Class Concern, who ran fifth in the Virginia Derby this summer before being beaten twice at Saratoga, had his own backers and went off at odds of just under 4-1.
Richetta made the pace and looked strong turning for home, but she appeared to tire late, while Class Concern dug in at the 16th pole and surged to victory. Please Smile sneaked up for second, beating Richetta by three-quarters of a length.
"You never know until they run," trainer Robin Graham said of Richetta's first turf experience.
Class Concern, winning for just the third time in 13 starts, finished in a time of 1 minute 49.95 seconds.
Boucher, who credited owner-breeder Mignon Smith of Washington for the victory, said the son of 1994 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Concern would go on to run in the $100,000 Maryland Million Turf on Oct. 9.
Racing Notes: In a race that will go down as one of the best of the year, the incredible 4-year-old colt Ghostzapper hooked up with Saint Liam in a breathtaking duel before Ghostzapper edged away at the wire to win the 51st running of the Grade I $500,000 Woodward for 3-year-olds and up at Belmont Park.
Saint Liam, who hadn't run since April, set a torrid pace in the 1 1/8-mile race, running the first six furlongs in 1:08.35 with Ghostzapper glued to his right flank. When the horses reached the turn, jockey Edgar Prado, on Saint Liam, forced Ghostzapper well out in the middle of the track.
Despite the wide turn, the two battled far ahead of the rest of the field with Ghostzapper crossing the finish line first by a head in a time of 1:46.38.
Ghostzapper, ridden by Javier Castellano and trained by Bobby Frankel, has won seven of nine lifetime starts. . . .
Pimlico-based He Loves Me, winner of four stakes races in Maryland this year, finished third behind winner Stellar Jayne in the Grade I $250,000 Gazelle Handicap at Belmont Park. . . .
Deputy Minister, one of the leading sires in the world, died of a heart attack Friday at age 25. The champion 2-year-old in 1981 produced such top offspring as Open Mind, Go For Wand and Touch Gold . . . Deputed Testamony, the 1983 Preakness Stakes winner, who has stood his entire stud career at the Boniface family's Bonita Farm in Darlington, Md., has been retired at age 24.