Maryland State Fair Opening Day Selections at “The Big T”

August 23, 2012 | Gary Quill

What used to be billed as “The 10 greatest days of Summer” now a days is simply known, without all the fanfare as the Maryland State Fair, with 7 of 10 days having live thoroughbred horse racing.

It’s sad to think that it’s been nearly a half century since Timonium Fair Ground was the site for horse racing in Maryland, all Summer long. The Timonium Summer Meet was where many local horse racing fans “cut their teeth” at the historic fair ground track. I’d be among that group, experiencing the joy have picking a winning horse during my maiden voyage in 1964.

If it weren’t for racing at Timonium, current Betfair Hollywood Park race caller Vic Stauffer may have taken a different career path. Many moons ago Stauffer was visiting a friend who happened to be working at Timonium. As the story goes, the regular race caller, most likely legendary Maryland race caller Dick Woolley, was unable to be there. Without having ever called a race prior to that day, Stauffer’s friend encouraged track management to allow Stauffer to fill in. Here’s one of Vic’s light hearted memorable calls during an earthquake on June 16, 2005…

For those not familiar with where a race caller is located at the track, they are usually in a shed-like building at the top of the tracks grandstand, no less than 4 stories about the track surface. So you can imagine why Mr. Stauffer was saying his “goodbyes”, while never missing a beat in calling the race and concluding with “… in a real shaker”.

Mt. St. Joe grad and 2012 Triple Crown race caller Larry Collmus also can point to Timonium for helping spark his interest in the sport. “I grew up in Maryland and my father installed the sound system at the Maryland State Fair (Timonium). I worked for him in the summer. Since I was mechanically incompetent, my job was to monitor the sound levels at the race track and tell my father if there were any problems”.

Collmus continued, “I became an instant racing fan and got to know the guys in the press box. The man that ran the press box, Eddie McMullen let me work for him at the bigger tracks in Maryland. I was there every weekend and would do impression of announcers. A couple of the press guys said I should try it for real, so I started practicing. Chick Lang, the GM of Pimlico heard me and offered me the chance to be the backup announcer on the circuit. I called my first live race in 1985 at Bowie, and was the assistant announcer for two years at all the Maryland tracks.” Here’s a Collmus Classic from 2010 at Monmouth Park, which catapulted him into the national spotlight, making him the front-runner to replace Tom Durkin as the voice of the Triple Crown races.

Selections for Friday August 24th at Timonium Fair Ground are below. Other than WIN, PLACE and SHOW wagering, Timonium offers EXACTA’s, 50 cent TRIFECTA’s and 10 cent SUPERFECTA’s in every race. Unfortunately, they do not have ROLLING DOUBLES, only an EARLY DOUBLE (1st & 2nd races) and a LATE DOUBLE (last 2 races on the card). My suggestion for each race is to BOX the below selections in EXACTA’s and TRIFECTA’s. Also play the DOUBLES for a $1 by wheeling the selections, which costs a total of $9. Please note: 1st race post is 1:05pm EDT.

1st race – $25,000 Maidens for 2 y.o. fillies – 4 furlongs
#1/1A – Highstar/Sunny Spark (5-2)
#6 – My Crazy Livi (2-1)
#4 – Hot Fun (8-1)

2nd race – $5,000 Claiming for fillies and mares 3 y.o. and up – 1 mile
#2 – Ring Ring (4-1)
#5 – Captain Crusty (3-1)
#3 – Tizashadow (2-1)

3rd race – $5,000 Maiden Claiming for 3 y.o. and up – 6½ furlongs
#1 – Dancing For Lois (2-1)
#5 – Scip Too Much (4-1)
#2 – Flankers Flag (2-1)

4th race – $5,000 Claiming for 3 y.o. and up – 4 furlongs
#6 – Nucky Thompson (9-5)
#3 – Race To The Top (2-1)
#1 – Proper Villain (4-1)

5th race – $5,000 Claiming for 3 y.o. and up – 6½ furlongs
#1 – Overcaster (4-1)
#9 – Flipion (3-1)
#7 – Prevenge (7-2)

6th race – $25,000 Optional Claiming for 3 y.o. and up – 6½ furlongs
#1 – Houston Bull(5-1) *** BEST BET ***
#5 – Elkhorn Creek (5-2)
#3 – Regal Revenge (8-1)

7th race – $27,000 Allowance N1X for 3 y.o. and up – 6½ furlongs
#6 – Issues And Answers (15-1) $$$ LONGSHOT PICK $$$
#2 – Brad (7-2)
#7 – Chief Black Water (4-1)

8th race – $27,000 Allowance N1X – 4 furlongs
#3 – Pursuit Of Honor (6-1)
#7 – College Grad (12-1)
#4 – Rail Bender (20-1)

9th race – $5,000 Claiming for fillies and mares 3 y.o. and up – 6½ furlongs
#3 – Go Allie (5-1)
#7 – Riley’s Rampage (5-1)
#1 – Fun Of The Game (5-1)

SHOW Parlay available bankroll: $40 (Start with $40 in case we need a reserve)

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day: $20 on Nucky Thompson (# 6; 4th race; 9-5) is a no-brainer here as this 3 year old gelding has never been off-the-board in eight (8) career outings at this (4 furlong) race distance. Plus, he has the highest speed figure for this distance among the runners in this race. The ROI on this SHOW wager might only be 5-10% (i.e. $2.10 or $2.20), but it beats the ¼% interest you get on your saving account.

Looks like Day 1 will be another beautiful day to enjoy the exciting chase scenes thoroughbred horse racing has to offer at the State Fair. Good Luck!