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SPORTSMAN'S NOTES

Sportsman's Park results

Contact: David Zenner (773) 242-1121 ext. 310
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Saturday, March 9, 2002

SECRET ROMEO WINS LOST CODE HANDICAP

CICERO, Ill. (March 9, 2002) -- A. A. C. Stables' Secret Romeo overtook defending champion Tic N Tin inside the final sixteenth to post a -length victory in the $100,000 Lost Code Handicap Saturday at Sportsman's Park. Regular rider Terry Houghton made the trip in from Tampa Bay Downs to guide the Gerald Bennett-trained son of Carson City to victory in 1:11.96 for the six furlongs over a track rated sloppy.

The win was the second in three starts this year and his 14th in 23 lifetime trips to the post. The $60,000 winner's check boosted his earnings to $425,572.

The winner had just one horse beat through the first quarter mile and had only moved up one spot as the field turned for home. He was tipped to the far outside of the track in the stretch and made a furious rally to get up for the victory in the shadow of the wire.

"I tried to keep him outside because he didn't like getting all that dirt thrown back in his face," Houghton said. "Over at Great Lakes (Downs in Michigan), that little (five furlongs) track he doesn't seem to handle those turns real well, but here he has no problem, and he really likes the long stretch. He's competitive against any kind of horse."

Tic N Tin, who won this race one year ago at odds of 28-1, made the pace of the race though a wind-aided first quarter of 22.31 seconds, a half mile in 45.97 seconds and a five-furlong split of 58.20 before giving way grudgingly in deep stretch.

"He ran his heart out," said Shane Laviolette who rode the runner-up. "I heard that horse coming (winner Secret Romeo) so I moved my horse off the rail a little bit so he could see him, but he had the momentum. He had the advantage because he had been running. My horse was training in St. Louis (Fairmount Park) and the weather hasn't been so good there. He may have missed a work down there."

Bet On Joe was another 3 lengths back in third, followed by Sing Me Back Home, Balitmore Gray, Meandmyloveman and Magic Doe.

Secret Romeo paid $10.40, $5.20 and $3.00. Tic N Tin returned $5.40 and $4.00. Bet On Joe paid $4.60.

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