Weekend Review: Persistence Pays Off in Maryland Million

For Testing, the second time, no, the third time, no...the fourth time was the charm. At sun-drenched Laurel Park on Oct. 21, on the day billed as Maryland's day at the races, Testing charged from far back to capture the $190,000 Maryland Million Classic in his fourth attempt and shattered the track record for 1 3/16 miles in the process.

A 7-year-old gelding by the 1983 Preakness (gr. I) winner Deputed Testamony, Testing romped by three lengths after running most of the race ninth in a field of 10. His time of 1:54.51 bettered by less than a fifth of a second the record set by Taking Risks in the 1994 Classic.

Testing's victory at 6-1 came in only his second race for the New Jersey trainer Peter Fortay, after the hard-knocking gelding was claimed for $50,000 out of a race March 4 at Aqueduct. Since finishing sixth in last year's Maryland Million Classic--he finished third the previous two years--Testing had finished first or second in six straight races in New York and New Jersey.

"We figured if we could improve him a little bit, we'd have a real nice horse," Fortay said by telephone from Monmouth Park, where he watched the race on TV.

Fortay claimed Testing for New Jersey lawyer Dennis A. Drazin. Drazin watched the race at home, leaving the assistant trainer Jason Servis and the jockey Jose Velez Jr. to represent Testing in the winner's circle. It was the most subdued victory celebration of the day.

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