Daddy Cool Takes a Stroll in Walter Haight

Stronach Stables' Daddy Cool made a slow loop around Laurel Park Saturday and galloped on to win the $50,000 Walter Haight Handicap.

Stealing off to lead in quarter mile fractions of 26.3 and 51.1, Daddy Cool and jockey Jozbin Santana had merely to sprint home from the quarter pole to complete the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:49 4/5. Full Brush raced closely throughout and finished second. All Things French was third.

The winner paid $3.60 as the heavy favorite in the field of five and won by three lengths.

Santana said, "They let me go pretty easily. I slowed it down and at about the quarter pole he kicked in pretty well."

"The horse won a couple of condition races quite easily," trainer Richard Small said. "He's got a real nice, long stride. He's a lovely big horse and he's been training really well. We got a nice Christmas present out of it."

Small conditions a stable of 20 at Pimlico for Frank Stronach, the chairman of the board for Magna Entertainment, the new majority owner of Pimlico and Laurel Park.

"This is a wonderful opportunity because I have a small private stable and it allows me to keep my staff together," added Small, who has won a stakes race for 30 consecutive years. "It's very pleasing to see him take a step forward since coming into my barn. His distance capabilities appear unlimited. There are a few stakes here over the winter so we'll probably stay local as long as possible."

The win was the sixth stakes victory of the meet for Santana.

(Chart, Equibase)