It would be hard to fault jockey Ryan Fogelsonger for a little showmanship turning for home Saturday in the $150,000 John D. Schapiro Memorial Breeders' Cup Handicap. With victories in five of the first eight races on the Pimlico card and a big, gray gelding named Lusty Latin underneath him yearning to cut loose, Fogelsonger twirled his whip with great flair, cracked his horse one time and pulled away for a dominant 41/2-length victory.
The 23-year-old rider from Silver Spring, who won the 2002 Eclipse Award as the country's top apprentice jockey, had won five races on a card seven times before Lusty Latin gave him a new career high.
"It was awesome," Fogelsonger said. "This was definitely one of the best days I've ever had, ranking right up there with [riding in] the two Preaknesses and the day I won five, including the [Federico] Tesio [Stakes] and Baltimore Breeders' Cup on two of my favorite horses. When you win three your confidence rises, and you don't have to even think about riding smart."
The Schapiro, a rich stakes scheduled for the turf, was run on the dirt after a night of heavy rains saturated the grass course. Mark Shuman, trainer for the country's leading owner Michael Gill, said he had no intention of running Lusty Latin if the race remained on the grass.
The 5-year-old Lusty Latin was thought highly of two years ago when prior owners ran him in the Kentucky Derby. Shuman claimed him for $80,000 at Hollywood Park last December and didn't have any luck until gelding the horse in May. Since then, Lusty Latin has won three of four starts.
He took the 11/8-mile Schapiro in a sharp time of 1 minute 49 seconds.
Racing Notes: On the first Saturday at Pimlico and Laurel Park since the Maryland Jockey Club halted simulcasts from the Belmont Park fall meet, dozens of frustrated bettors complained to management, according to Randolph Scott, the Baltimore track's mutuel supervisor.
The Maryland tracks turned off the Belmont signal Wednesday because of an impasse between the Mid-Atlantic Cooperative, which negotiates simulcast agreements for 19 regional tracks, and the New York Racing Association. The cooperative is objecting to an exclusive contract NYRA recently signed with TVG, an interactive horse racing network, for account wagering.
"There's not much you can tell them," Scott said when asked how he responds to bitter fans.
Belmont simulcasting is an integral part of the total betting handle in Maryland. During the 2003 fall meet, Maryland bettors wagered $8.1 million on 38 days of simulcasts from Belmont Park, compared to $10.1 million on 36 days of live racing in the state.
"It's too early to calculate an impact on Maryland," said Dennis Smoter, vice president of simulcasting wagering services. "It's too short of a time period to see where that money is going." . . .
Roses in May, who should figure prominently next month in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Lone Star Park, tuned up by winning his fifth straight race, demolishing an overmatched field in the Grade II $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park.