Ten horses have been entered for today’s 13th Marlboro Cup race at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., but only nine are probable starters.
With Spend a Buck scratched from the Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park, Skip Trial probably will run in that race.
Only one horse--Wajima, in 1975--has ever won the Marlboro from the No. 1 post position, but trainer Charlie Whittingham can’t have everything. Whittingham, who drew the inside post with Greinton, is said to be chuckling over the weights, which gave his horse only 122 pounds compared to 126 for Track Barron and 125 for Gate Dancer.
The Marlboro field, in post-position order: Greinton, Al Mamoon, Carr de Naskra, Badwagon Harry, Track Barron, Gate Dancer, Vanlandingham, Chief’s Crown, Bounding Basque and Skip Trial.
Track Barron, who is on a three-stake winning streak, is listed as the 2-1 favorite by the Belmont line maker, followed by Greinton at 5-2 and Gate Dancer at 4-1.
Whittingham has told friends that the horse he fears most is Gate Dancer, who is running on dirt, where he belongs. Gate Dancer’s two trips over grass have been counterproductive--a sixth place in the San Luis Rey Stakes at Santa Anita in March and a 10th in the Budweiser-Arlington Million three weeks ago.
Greinton has had bad luck in his last two starts, throwing a shoe and being blocked as he finished second, three-quarters of a length behind Teleprompter, in the Million.
Whittingham’s luck has been similar with his previous Marlboro starters. In 1973, Cougar II, running as an entry with Kennedy Road, finished third behind stablemates Secretariat and Riva Ridge after a getting a slow start and being blocked in the stretch.
In 1982, Whittingham started Perrault, who broke down in the last race of his career. Cougar II and Perrault both won grass titles, Cougar in ’72 and Perrault in ’82.
Greinton is part of a six-horse stable that Whittingham has shipped to New York for Belmont’s fall season and the Breeders’ Cup races at Aqueduct on Nov. 2.
Early favorites for the seven Breeders’ Cup races, as established by the Union Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, include Hilco Scamper among 2-year-old colts and geldings, Twilight Ridge among 2-year-old fillies, Pancho Villa in the six-furlong sprint, Teleprompter in the mile on grass, Mom’s Command among fillies and mares going 1 miles, Sagace and Lashkari among 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/2 miles on turf, and Track Barron among 3-year-olds and up at 1 miles on dirt.
Sagace is scheduled to run in the Arc de Triomphe, France’s biggest race, Oct. 6, and his handlers haven’t committed to the Breeders’ Cup.
Lashkari, the Aga Khan’s horse, won the 1 1/2-mile Breeders’ turf race in a 53-1 upset at Hollywood Park last year.
Teleprompter, surprise winner of the Million, became the favorite in the mile grass race when a Canadian bettor put down $4,500 on him--$1,500 across the board--at the Union Plaza this week.
Horse Racing Notes A win for Chief’s Crown in the Marlboro would be sweet for Don MacBeth, who is riding the horse for the first time since a second place in the Preakness. MacBeth was Chief’s Crown’s regular rider last year and won three stakes with him early this year, but he was fired by the colt’s owners after finishing third in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Preakness. Angel Cordero finished third with Chief’s Crown in the Belmont Stakes, then won two stakes with the 3-year-old at Saratoga, including the Travers. Laffit Pincay rode Chief’s Crown to a third place in the Woodward at Belmont Aug. 31 as Cordero honored his yearlong commitment to ride Track Barron, who won the race by four lengths. MacBeth is getting a reprieve on Chief’s Crown in the Marlboro because the other riders have mounts--Cordero as usual with Track Barron, and Pincay aboard Greinton for the seventh straight race. . . . Allen Paulson of Encino continues to spend freely at yearling sales. Paulson, who was the leading buyer at Saratoga last month, bought a Northern Dancer colt for $3.7 million at Woodbine, breaking the Canadian auction record by almost $3 million. . . . Bell Bloodstock Co. of Burbank will try to become the first American owner to win the Melbourne Cup when it runs Imaprince, a New Zealand-bred, Nov. 5. An American-bred, Beldale Ball, won the Melbourne in 1981, but the horse was owned by Englishman Robert Sangster. . . . The Orange County Fair, which opens Oct. 21 at Los Alamitos, will have a 6:15 p.m. post time, an hour earlier than last year. The fair meeting, which goes through Nov. 4, will run races for thoroughbreds, Appaloosas and quarter horses, plus a few for Arabians. . . . Mr Dalrae, the California-bred owned by Bill Smith of Pico Rivera, finished third last Saturday in the Cornell Memorial at Freehold Raceway in New Jersey. Division Street, whom Mr Dalrae had beaten frequently last year, won the race, with second going to On the Road Again, a candidate for Harness Horse of the Year, who suffered his second straight loss.