French Charmer Surprises in Schapiro

(from Laurel report)
Double S Stable's French Charmer pulled off a mild surprise in winning the $150,000 John D. Schapiro Memorial Breeders' Cup Handicap, which was contested on the soft turf Saturday at Laurel Park.

Sent to post as the third choice in a field of five, which had scratched down from eleven, French Charmer and jockey Chris DeCarlo remained in a stalking position throughout the nine-furlong test until the field started for home.

Frontrunners Glick and Rock Slide had battled to the top of the lane and appeared set for a stretch duel when French Charmer came driving between horses, grabbed the lead in the shadow of the wire and won by a length in 1:55.56. Even money favorite Rock Slide held onto second. A late moving Roxinho was third.

DeCarlo, a regular rider on the New Jersey and New York circuits, said "I fell in right behind the leaders in the first part. He relaxed really well and when I turned for home and asked him to go, he took off."

"He should have won the Grade III (Canadian Turf Handicap at Gulfstream), said winning trainer Harry Benson. "He got in a load of trouble in that race. We had a lot of confidence in him. That's why we brought him up here. I had him entered in tomorrow's race at Monmouth but that's only $75,000 and this is $150,000

"We were in a great spot," said Rock Slide's jockey Robby Albarado. "I'm not going to take anything from the winner, he ran a big race. The soft going wasn't to our liking but we had an opportunity. We had the lead with 3/16th's to run. We are supposed to win, but didn't. The winner ran a better race."

Six of the 11 horses entered in the headline event of the Laurel summer meet scratched. Three of the scratched horses were entered only if the race came off the turf. Trainer Larry Murray scratched both parts of his morning line favorite entry. Tam's Terms and Certantee are entered in Sunday's $75,000 Battlefield Stakes at Monmouth Park Sunday.

French Charmer paid $12.40, $4.40 and $4. Rock Slide returned $3.40 and $3. Roxinho's show was $3.60.

(Chart, Equibase)