High Moment Finds the Light
With all the attention being paid to the regally bred 4- year- old who ran well last year against some of the best fillies in France, trainer Rodney Jenkins’s High Moment slipped through the cracks yesterday in the $ 60,000 Dahlia turf stakes at Laurel Park.
Making her first start of the year after two promising grass runs last year as a 3- year- old, High Moment was keyed up and ready to go, firing right to the front under jockey Erick Rodriguez and never looking back. The French import, Grigorieva, surged at the finish for jockey Mario Pino, but High Moment held on to win by three- quarters of a length, running the mile in a sharp 1 minute 36.14 seconds.
When the prices flashed on the tote screen, High Moment had paid $ 36.60 for a $ 2 bet.
“ I saw Mario’s horse break a little slow, so I said, ‘ Let me try to get the lead,’ ” Rodriguez said after the race. “ I felt [ Grigorieva] coming, but I still had a lot of horse. I said: ‘ I don’t care. I got it.’ ”
Jenkins appeared delighted in the winner’s circle because he didn’t believe High Moment was more than 80 percent fit for the race. He ran in the Dahlia to get the filly a race on her home grounds before racing shifts to Pimlico.
“ I hate to take her away from her surroundings,” Jenkins said. “ She was awful sharp and if I shipped her, I was worried she’d kick the van down. When she galloped yesterday, she bucked the whole way around. I had to get a pony to go with her.”
High Moment finished second in a grass race last year at Delaware Park and then ran a close- up seventh in the $ 200,000 Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs. Both times she had rated off the pace. When asked about a change in tactics for the Dahlia, Jenkins laughed.
“ That was more Erick’s decision,” Jenkins said. “ I think it was a good decision now.”
Jenkins hopes to put High Moment in the spotlight; her next start will come in the Grade III $ 100,000 Gallorette Handicap on May 19 on the Preakness Stakes undercard.
Racing Notes: Despite his filly, Royalty, veering in sharply and nearly smashing into the rail, jockey Horacio Karamanos held her together in the stretch to win the seventh race on the turf and record the 1,000th win of his North American career. Karamanos, 33, won nearly 1,500 races in Argentina before moving to South Florida in 2001. He also won the sixth race on Maryland’s Special.
“ This is special and it means so much to me to win it here at Laurel,” Karamanos said. “ I wish my wife and daughter were here to take the picture with me, but they are in Argentina this week.” . . . Today is the final day of racing at Laurel Park. Pimlico opens for its spring meet on Thursday. . . . Winning Point, undefeated in three starts at Laurel Park, went to Aqueduct and finished second for trainer Eddie Gaudet and jockey Luis Garcia in the Grade I $ 150,000 Comely for 3- year- old fillies. Boca Grande won the race.