Lawbook Snatches Second Division of Florida Series

(From track report)
The complexion of the Affirmed Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes Saturday at Calder Race course changed somewhat when the 4-to-5 favorite, Trust N Luck, wheeled badly coming out of the starting gate and unseated his rider, Gary Boulanger.

Leaving the one hole, the colt took a hard left, dumped his jockey, and eluded the outrider, managing to find his way, albeit the wrong way, around the clubhouse turn.

Meanwhile, 40-to-1 longshot Kissin Bold set the pace down the backstretch, with Rufustheroadrunner taking over around the three-eighths pole.

Approaching the quarter pole, jockey Roger Velez asked Dr. Fager Divison winner Lawbook for his run and he responded. Turning for home, Lawbook was much the best and extended his lead to win by 4 ΒΌ lengths over a closing Supah Blitz.

"There were horses in front of me but I knew I had 'em and I just wanted him to explode," said Velez. "When I reached up and hit him, he came running. He was really running today. He put his ears up looking for somebody. I kept looking back and there was nobody around.

"The one good thing about this colt is that he's still learning," Velez added. "In the afternoon, once he gets in the gate, he's all business. I think this horse has the right running style to go the two turns. He'll do anything you want. The dirt (in his face) doesn't bother him and when you call on him he gives you a very big run."

Fortunately for everyone involved, no one was hurt in the gate incident, but it made for some hairy moments with a loose horse on the track while the seven-furlong event was being run.

Owned and trained by Thomas Heard, Jr., Lawbook is now in line for a possible sweep of the Florida Stallion Stakes open division. This division has been swept four times in the history of the program: Smile (1984), Naked Greed (1991), Seacliff (1995), and Express Tour (2000).

The rich finals to the Florida Stallion Stakes, the $400,000 In Reality (open) and $400,000 My Dear Girl (fillies), will be contested on Oct. 12 as part of Calder's "Festival of the Sun," the richest day in Florida Thoroughbred racing.

"The fact is that I always thought he was just waiting for more distance to show his best," said Heard. "I've said all along that he will just get better as the distances get longer. You could see how he relaxed today (racing off the early pace). Nothing really bothers him. Now, I'll just try not to screw things up between now and the next one. It would be nice to win all three."

(Chart, Equibase)