Claimed for $5,000 on January 17, 2011 by Charles “Snake” Frock, Call of a Lion was a perfect seven-for-seven a year ago, including six victories for Frock, who raised the daughter of Lion Hearted but lost her via the claim for $32,000 to owner Robert Cole and trainer Scott Lake in August 2010 at Monmouth Park. Her wins included the 2011 Maryland Million Distaff Starter Handicap on October 1.
Regal Nurse, from the barn of Jamie Ness, who finished second in North America in 2011 with 330 winners, was making her first start in Maryland after running at Hawthorne last fall. Abel Castellano guided the daughter of Monarchos up the rail to pass front-running Fix You in the final strides, winning by a nose. Call of a Lion was two lengths back with regular rider J.D. Acosta.
“At the three-eighths pole Acosta asked her and she picked up the bit and made a run at the 2 (Fix You), but we just couldn’t pass her,” added Frock. “I told my wife sooner or later we would get beat but we are so proud to have her back. Every day we walk by the Maryland Million vases in the living room. That is such a pleasure.”
Regal Nurse paid $4.80 as the betting favorite and topped a $21 exacta and $27.40 trifecta.
RUSSELL, KOBISKIE TO BE HONORED SATURDAY FOR 2011 TITLES
The Maryland Jockey Club will make presentations to jockey Sheldon Russell and trainer Dane Kobiskie between races Saturday afternoon for finishing atop the standings at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course a year ago.
Russell, who will be honored before the fifth race, rode 126 winners at the major Maryland tracks in 2011 and captured all three meet titles (Laurel winter, Pimlico spring and Laurel fall).
Kobiskie will be honored one race later. The former rider saddled 58 winners at Laurel and Pimlico during the 2011 campaign, winning at an impressive 28% rate.