The celebration of Maryland-bred stallions and their offspring takes place at Laurel Park Saturday; first race Post Time is 12:15pm. In addition to twelve races carrying total purse money of $1.23 million, Ramon Dominguez, the nation’s leading rider, will be showcasing his skills in 9 of the 12 races on the Jim McKay Maryland Million day program.
Dominguez, who won six riding titles in Maryland earlier this decade before moving his tack to Delaware Park has been the dominate jockey in New York this season. The Venezuelan has captured all three New York Racing Association meets: Aqueduct winter, Belmont Park spring and Saratoga summer in his first year as a full-time rider in the nation’s top circuit. Dominguez leads all-North American riders with more than $13 million in earnings and is second in wins, behind Russell Baze, with more than 300.
Dominguez could become the leading rider in the twenty-four year history of Maryland Million. He enters the card with 15 victories on Maryland’s Day at the Races, one fewer than Mario Pino and Edgar Prado. Pino will have 8 mounts on the Million card. So there will be one other race to watch throughout the day… the one between Dominguez and Pino for the top spot as all-time leading jockey of Maryland Million races.
On Saturday morning I will post my selections for the entire 12-race card.
Here are my picks for Friday, September 25th at Lovely Laurel…
Best Bet: Royal World (#3 – 5th race on the turf; M/L 7-2) gets the services of Delaware Park based jockey Joe Rocco, Jr. Its Joe’s only mount and I’m sure he isn’t making the trip down I-95 just because he enjoys Friday morning and afternoon traffic on I-95?! Royal World is seeking her maiden victory in her 7th lifetime start… all over a grass surface and improving with every race as she returns to Laurel after spending the summer at Monmouth Park.
Longshot: Safety Valve (#9 – 8th race on the turf; M/L 8-1) has been away from afternoon competition since being eased when in over his head in a Grade 2 event at Colonial Downs in July. If something physically was wrong that day, it appears to have been taken care of based on the A.M. drills he has been putting in since mid-August.
SHOW Parlay Play of the Day: Mymissjuliac (#2 – 4th race; M/L 5-2) is as a consistent runner as they come. This 4 year old filly has only made it to the Winner’s Circle twice in 15 career outings, but has only failed once to hit the board, and that came on an off track. As long as the heavens don’t open up and dump an inch of rain on the Laurel Park dirt surface around 2:30pm today, “Juli” should keep up her streak of being no worse than third on a fast track.
Wishing you the best for another wonderful day of thoroughbred horse racing in Maryland!