02/19/2007 12:00AM

Silver Wagon runs down Ah Day

Email
Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Silver Wagon, Edgar Prado riding, pulls away from Ah Day near the finish of the General George.

LAUREL, Md. - Silver Wagon collared Ah Day just inside the sixteenth pole and edged clear to a popular 1 1/4-length victory in Monday's 32nd running of the Grade 2, $285,000 General George Breeders' Cup Handicap at Laurel Park.

With Edgar Prado aboard for Four Roses Thoroughbreds and trainer Tony Dutrow, Silver Wagon returned $3.80 as the heavy favorite in a field of nine older horses. Prado, making his first appearance at his longtime former base since earning his first Eclipse Award last month, said he enjoyed a smooth journey before wheeling his mount into the center of the track and powering past an otherwise game Ah Day.

"The race set up good," said Prado. "When he came out, he really took off."

The victory completed a sweep of the two Grade 2 races run over the Presidents Day weekend at Laurel for Dutrow, who also sent out Oprah Winney to win the Barbara Fritchie BC on Saturday. Dutrow is the trainer of record for both horses, as his brother, Richard, will have both back in his stable when a 14-day suspension ends on March 1.

Ryan's for Real set the early pace in the seven-furlong General George before being passed near the half-mile pole by Ah Day, the 7-2 second choice. On the turn, Ah Day spurted away and still held a clear lead in midstretch, but the late run of Silver Wagon was too much. Ryan's for Real held third, another 1 1/2 lengths behind Ah Day.

"My horse ran his eyeballs out," said Ryan Fogelsonger, who rode Ah Day. "There was only one horse who could beat us, and I really don't know how he passed us. We were rolling."

Silver Wagon finished in 1:23.13 over a fast track. He carried high weight of 120 pounds, spotting his rivals three to seven pounds, and was the lone supplementary entry in the race, having been made eligible by payment of a $3,000 fee.

Silver Wagon, a 6-year-old gray horse by Wagon Limit, earned $180,000, lifting his bankroll to $979,193. He has won graded races in three different seasons, having captured the Grade 1 Hopeful as a 2-year-old and the Grade 3 Sport Page BC Handicap last fall.

Prado, the former Maryland kingpin, thanked fans and horsemen for their years of support in a postrace television interview, saying, "I couldn't be where I am now without Maryland."