Terlingua, shown here winning the 1978 Del Mar Debutante

Terlingua, shown here winning the 1978 Del Mar Debutante

Blood-Horse Library

BackTrack: Extended Layoff no Problem for Terlingua

Terlingua returns to the races a winner in 1979 Las Flores Handicap.

On Sunday Secretariat's charismatic daughter, Terlingua, came back to the races as a winner. After a layoff of seven months, the lovely chestnut filly proved she had lost none of her speed, nosing out longshot Powder Room in stakes-record time of 1:08 2/5 to win the $55,300 Las Flores Handicap at Santa Anita Park.

In the Las Flores, Terlingua, carrying 121, was down on the inside of Powder Room, which had a package of 118 and the help of Sandy Hawley. Powder Room held an edge through the first quarter-mile in :21 2/5 and then Terlingua gained a head advantage after a half-mile in :43 3/5.

Through the stretch, Terlingua began tiring and Darrel McHargue went to the whip three times to protect their diminishing lead.

"Terlingua is back," McHargue exclaimed after the victory. "She showed class in winning as she did. She was getting tired and doesn't like the whip, so I just showed it to her in the final 100 yards."

In third place, almost three lengths back of the leaders, was Ideal Exchange. Great Lady M., the highweight of the field under 122, finished last.

The victory, worth $32,800, was the first for Terlingua since the Santa Ynez Stakes (G2) of last February at Santa Anita, when she defeated Caline by four lengths. After that victory, she raced well against oclts in Flying Paster's Santa Anita Derby, but the race seemed to take a lot out of her. In all, she was beaten five times in a row and trainer Wayne Lukas sent her to the farm in May for a rest.

Terlingua always has been sound and Lukas is convinced that much of her problem has been mental. He also is convinced that she is at her best sprinting and, except for a rare try over a middle distance now and then, she will be confined to sprints against fillies. Under any conditions, it is nice to have Terlingua back again.