Undercover Plainly Best in Gala Lil

Gasparilla Stable and Will Farish's Undercover stormed to victory as the overwhelming favorite in Saturday's $75,000 Gala Lil Stakes at Laurel Park.

Jockey Mario Pino put the 4-year-old Allen's Prospect filly in perfect striking position right from the start. Racing in second, positioned on the flank of front-running Singing Sword, Pino opened the throttle on his stakes-winning mount on the turn and pulled away from the field. She galloped home in 1:50 1/5 for the nine furlongs, winning by 4-1/2 lengths.

Shop Till You Drop and jockey Ryan Fogelsonger outgamed Blue Hills and Ramon Dominguez for the place. The winner rewarded the Laurel Park crowd with a $3.40 payoff.

Her victory in the Gala Lil was her second stakes win, having captured the Maryland Million Oaks at Pimlico last September. Her record stands at six for 11 and Pino has been aboard her last eight starts, including three wins in three tries in 2003.

"I've tried taking my time with her and letting her mature and it's really paying off," said trainer Anthony Dutrow. "She's been so successful going two turns we thought we'd keep her going that way. She has been impressive these last three races and she could really raise the ante later on in the spring. She just might be that good."

Undercover's co-owner, Farish, is the United States ambassador to Great Britain.

(Chart, Equibase)