The Maryland Million, a program for the offspring of Maryland-based stallions, was officially designated as Jim McKay Maryland Million after the Maryland General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in support during the 2009 Legislative Session. Over 25 years ago, the late, legendary sportscaster Jim McKay had a vision, acted upon it and presented to the Maryland Horse Racing Commission the “Maryland Million Day”. October of 1986 was the inaugural running and on Saturday Maryland will celebrate the 24th running of Maryland’s Day at the Races, under its newly minted name, Jim McKay’s Maryland Million.
The Laurel Park racing office announced that a total of 167 horses have been pre-entered to the twelve (12) races on the Saturday card. A field of 12 could compete in the $200,000 Maryland Million Classic including defending champion Cuba. Broadway Producer and Sweet Goodbye, who won the 2008 Maryland Million Turf and Oaks, respectively, could be the top challengers. Other defending champions pre-entered are Miss Lombardi ($125,000 Maryland Million Ladies), Celtic Innis ($125,000 Maryland Million Sprint), Swear Allegiance ($50,000 Maryland Million Distaff Starter Handicap), He’s A Dixie Boy ($30,000 Maryland Million Sprint Starter Handicap) and Kosmo’s Buddy ($100,000 Maryland Million Turf Sprint).
Dale Capuano plans on starting millionaire Heros Reward in the Turf Sprint to test Kosmo’s Buddy, a filly who beat the boys a year ago. Hmmm, a local Rachel Alexandra-type story.
The six other races on the card are the $125,000 Maryland Million Turf, the $125,000 Maryland Million Distaff, the $100,000 Maryland Million Oaks, the $100,000 Maryland Million Nursery, the $100,000 Maryland Million Lassie, and the $50,000 Maryland Million Starter Handicap. The post position draw for the $1.23 million day will be held Wednesday afternoon at Laurel Park.
On Saturday, the first 4,000 full-paid admissions and Maryland-licensed owners and trainers will each receive a free Jim McKay Maryland Million Sport Cap. On track entertainment will feature retired racehorses showcasing talents in new careers, DRK Miniature horses and Goshen hounds. Country music sensation Chris Young will hold a special concert in-between the sixth and seventh races. The 24-year-old will be performing his top ten hit “Getting’ You Home” (The Black Dress Song).
Here are my picks for Wednesday, September 23rd, as Charlie Eckman would say, “…at Lovely Laurel”…
Best Bet: Sleigh Rider (#7 – 4th race; M/L 5-1) is his young six race career has never run a bad race and today should be no exception. Trainer Dove Houghton and jock Luis Garcia get to the Winner’s Circle 20% of the time they team up. Adding blinkers might give this runner the boost to earn his 3rd career victory in seven lifetime starts.
Longshot: Cash N Wink (#1 – 5th race on the turf; M/L 15-1) returned to the track after a 2 month vacation, displaying early speed going long on the grass, before stopping to a crawl. That race appears to have been a primer for today’s 51/2 furlong scamper on the turf. Capable turf jockey Malcolm Franklin gets the mount.
All Day SHOW Parlay: Here are horses who could return a nice SHOW price in their respective races.
1st race: # 9 – Please The Crowd (M/L 8-1)
2nd race: # 1 – Gulch’s Wish (M/L 20-1)
3rd race: #13 – Wild Lake (M/L 6-1)
4th race: # 8 – Trianera Whip (M/L 12-1)
5th race: # 9 – Royal Riches (M/L 8-1)
6th race: # 7 – Outofsight (M/L 20-1)
7th race: # 8 – Flask (M/L 4-1)
8th race: #12 – White Stiletto (M/L 5-1)
9th race: # 6 – Jawise (M/L 5-1)
Enjoy the Fall thoroughbred horse racing season at Laurel Park today.