Jim McKay’s Maryland Million Day at Laurel Park Preview

October 02, 2012 | Gary Quill

This Saturday (October 6th) at Laurel Park is Maryland’s Day At The Race. Better known as Jim McKay’s Maryland Million, It’s the one racing day of the year in Maryland where owners of runners either bred in Maryland or their sire was state bred, qualify to run on this great day of celebrating thoroughbred horse racing in Maryland. The Laurel Park racing office announced that a total of 155 pre-entries (137 horses as 17 were cross-entered including Steady Warrior who is nominated to three races) were named to the 11 races for the 27th running of this event. First post is 12:35 p.m.

2012 Maryland Million Logo

The post position draw for the $1.05 million day will be held at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 3 in Laurel’s Terrace Dining Room.

Overall 11 previous “Million Day” winners are nominated, including three defending champions: Eighttofasttocatch (Classic), Sloane Ranger (Sprint) and Ben’s Cat (Turf Sprint).

The most decorated of the 137 horses pre-entered is Ben’s Cat. The 6 year old will attempt a three-peat in the Maryland Million Turf Sprint champ. Only Safely Kept (Distaff, ’89-91), Countus In (Ladies, ’89-91) and Mz. Zill Bear (Ladies, ’93-95) have won a MD Million race three (3) consecutive years. Ben’s Cat became owner-trainer King T. Leatherbury’s first millionaire with a repeat victory in the Turf Monster Handicap (G3) at Parx Racing last month.

Ben's Cat and King T. Leatherbury

Leatherbury is tied with Dale Capuano for the top spot in the Maryland Million trainer standings. Both conditioners have saddled nine (9) winners. On Saturday Capuano has two runners entered (Lunar Rock in Nursery and Hero’s Reward in Turf Sprint) while Leatherbury’s lone entry is Ben’s Cat.

HRTV will have a live presence for the entire card with hosts Dick Jerardi (from Philly) and Jill Byrne (a Kentuckian) on site. It’s ashamed that HRTV didn’t have the foresight to contract a native Marylander who closely follows Maryland racing and could provide far superior insight on Maryland’s Day At The Races. Now who (GQ) could they have (GQ) possibly (GQ) have gotten (GQ)?

Dick Jerardi of Phila Daily News + Jill Byrne racing analyst < Gary Quill at Preakness Press Box

An additional promotion on “Million Day” features a FREE Maryland Million cap to the first 4,000 full-paid admissions.