The Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (MTHA) have agreed to the live racing dates and stakes schedule at Laurel Park for the balance of the calendar year.
The fifty-seven day fall meeting will conduct racing Wednesday thru Saturday, begin Saturday, Sept. 11 and conclude Saturday, Dec. 18 and includes 19 stakes races worth $1.45 million. Headlining the stand is the 25th running of the Jim McKay Maryland Million on Saturday, Oct. 2.
Introduced in 1986, the Maryland Million is a program for the offspring of Maryland-based stallions. Maryland-sired thoroughbreds are nominated before they become 2-year-olds and remain eligible for life to run in the Maryland Million races. Twenty times attendance figures have topped 20,000 for the event. Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim McKay originally proposed the concept and remained Chairman of the Board until his death two years ago.
The meet will not include the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash, which has been a staple of the fall stakes schedule since 2001. Introduced in 1990, the De Francis Dash is one of the elite six-furlong sprints in the country with four of the 19 winners-Housebuster (1991), Cherokee Run (1994), Smoke Glacken (1997) and Thor’s Echo (2006)-earning Eclipse Award honors for champion sprinter. The American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association downgraded the Dash from Grade I to Grade II status last December.
“Putting the Dash on the shelf for the year has nothing to do with it no longer being a Grade 1 race,” said Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas. “We didn’t card it in 2008 due to a purse account shortfall and feel the $300,000 purse would be better suited on daily purses throughout the meet.”
The current Laurel Park summer meeting ends Sunday, Aug. 22. Live racing shifts to Timonium (aka The Big T) for the seven-day fair meet (Aug. 27-28-29-Sept. 3-4-5-6).
Recapping Day 9 (Friday, August 20th) selections at the Laurel Park Meet…
Best Bet Tenacious Tripp (# 7; 3rd race on the turf; 7-2) was lukewarm at the betting windows early, opening at 14-1 from her 9-2 Morning Line (M/L). Her odds gradually fell to 8-1 with just 3 minutes until Post Time, then the on the next click she was 3-1. Whoa! That’s quite a drop that late in the betting, but someone forgot to tell (jockey) Justin Shepherd that he was actually supposed to ride her not just sit on her motionless for the entire race.
Best Bet pick scorecard from 7 selections at the Laurel Mini Meet: 1 WIN – 0 PLACE – 2 SHOW.
Longshot Danced All Night (# 6; 2nd race; 20-1) was well placed behind the early speed, and still had plenty left in the tank for the stretch run, but couldn’t get to the top 2 finishers, settling for 3rd as the longest prince on the board, returning a healthy $5.60 to SHOW.
Longshot pick scorecard from 8 selections at the Laurel Mini Meet: 0 WIN – 1 PLACE – 4 SHOW
SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $44 on Water Of Life (# 14; 7th race on turf; 7-5) shipped in and took everyone’s money as the public sent her off as the unlikely 7-5 favorite…and she disappointed with a very dull 4th place effort, failing by a head to hit the board, thus killing the SHOW Parlay. Luckily there is still money in the reserve to try to get a two race win streak to conclude the meet.
For the Laurel Mini Meet, Day 10 (Saturday, August 21st )…
Best Bet: Our Diamond Mine (# 1; 3rd race; 3-1)
This 4 year old runs his best on an OFF TRACK, but there’s no chance of that happening as rain is not in the forecast. So why do I like him so much? It’s a short field seven (7) and none of his rivals have enough speed early on to run with him. Therefore, I foresee a gate-to-wire victory.
Longshot: Bohemia Street (# 4; 2nd race; 12-1)
Let’s see the jockey in the irons has 1 win in 41 races this year and the trainer is one race worse at 1 for 42. I’d say old “Bo” is certainly a legitimate longshot. The positives here are… at today’s distance (6 f.) he has 1 win and 1 second in 2 starts. He also is dropping back to the class level from where he was claimed 4 races ago, when he finished a fast closing3rd, ¾ length behind the winner.
SHOW Parlay available bankroll: $42.20 ($86.20 bankroll – $44 wager + $0 return)
SHOW Parlay Play of the Day: $20 on Entirely Honest (# 2; 5th race on turf; 2-1) is just that, a very honest horse. In 2010, she has never failed to hit the board in seven (7) starts. Even though she’s the likely Post Time favorite, it’s a full field of 11 runners which will lend itself for a decent SHOW pay-off IF she can make this SHOW bet a winning one.
For more of my selections at Laurel Park and other thoroughbred horse racing tracks across the country, go to… GQ’s No Chalk Zone .
Enjoy a wonder Saturday afternoon and take in 9 exciting chase scenes thoroughbred horse racing has to offer at Laurel Park.