Ex-Claimer Wins General George Stakes

From Laurel Park
Flatbird Stable's Peeping Tom had to wait for room to launch his bid, then ripped by the pacesetters to win the $200,000 grade II General George Handicap at Laurel Park on Monday.

Peeping Tom left the starting gate from post one with jockey Shaun Bridgmohan. They watched as known speedsters Disco Rico and Lexicon tore into a head-to-head battle in quarter mile fractions of :22 2/5 and :22 1/5. Meanwhile, Peeping Tom stayed on the rail, poised to strike but with a wall of horses in his path.

At the top of the lane Bridgmohan sent Peeping Tom to the outside and they rocketed to the lead, beating Delaware Township to the punch. The latter finished second, 3 1/2 lengths behind. A tiring Disco Rico held onto third. Peeping Tom stopped the timer in 1:22 for the seven furlongs.

The winner paid $5.80. The Peeping Tom-Delaware Township exacta paid $20.80.

Peeping Tom is based in New York in the barn of trainer Patrick Reynolds. A gelded son of Eagle Eyed, Peeping Tom has won six of 14 career starts, including four of his last five outings.

Jockey Bridgmohan said, "Pat and I discussed the strategy in the paddock and we felt we had the inside, we might as well take advantage and save some ground part of the way. I've seen most of these horses run before and I knew Disco Rico and Lexicon would definitely set an honest pace. My horse was very kind going down the backstretch. Part way on the turn I figured it was time to go and swung him out to the middle of the track. I knew he was going to fire and I didn't want to get in any traffic. We were going forward and they were coming back to me. When you have lemons you have to make lemonade. This horse has really developed into a top class runner. They have done a tremendous job with him and he's going to be heard from during this year. He won easily today."

Trainer Reynolds said, "We claimed him in his second start as a 3-year-old in a maiden $40,000 that he won. They don't always turn out this way but it sure is nice when they do. I felt there would be a legitimate pace today and although I never care for the rail sprinting, the field was small so that allowed plenty of room. This horse has a real quick turn of foot. He can get in and out of trouble in a matter of a couple of strides. When he turned for home he just exploded. I have no idea where he will run next, but our long term program includes the possibility of the Carter Handicap and also the Metropolitan Mile (both in New York). He has really turned into quite a competitor."

Jockey Joe Bravo (2nd, Delaware Township) "There wasn't a point in the race that I thought my horse would get beat. From the time they drew the entries until the eighth pole I thought I was the winner. Then that big brown horse just ran right by me. But I have to give Ben Perkins credit for having this horse ready to run. Peeping Tom was just a little better today."

Jockey Harry Vega (3rd, Disco Rico) "I was sitting just outside Lexicon the way I was supposed to. My horse was going very well down the backside. When I put away Lexicon on the far turn I thought I was the winner. This horse was trying all the way to wire. He really did give it his all today. He just got beat by two very good horses. But my horse never quit today."

Jockey Richard Migliore (7th, Lexicon) "When we broke I didn't want to get into a speed duel with Disco Rico because I have a lot of respect for his speed. I wanted my horse to relax a little more, but when Disco Rico hooked him he really took hold of the bit and got into stride. I thought he would have a little more, but he never really had a chance to settle."

Jockey Mario Verge (4th, P Day) "I'm very proud of my horse. He ran his race. He gave me everything he had. Those other horses just never came back to him. My horse was running hard all the way to the wire. He ran hard for me, but those other horses were just too tough."

(More, Equibase)