Maryland-sired Thoroughbreds are nominated before they become 2-year-olds and remain eligible for life to run in the Maryland Million races. After 26 runnings, 220 stallions have sired runners in Maryland Million races. Saturday afternoon, twenty-eight stallions will be represented, including first-timers Greek Sun and M Eighty.
Others with more than five entries are Dance With Ravens (11 entries), Outflanker (7), Two Punch (7), Domestic Dispute (6) and Cherokee’s Boy (6).
First post for the 11-race program is 12:35 p.m. at Laurel Park.
Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim McKay originally proposed the concept and remained Chairman of the Board until his death four years ago. Twenty-two times attendance figures have topped 20,000 for the event.
The first 4,000 full-paid admissions and Maryland-licensed owners and trainers will each receive a free Maryland Million Sport Cap. On-track entertainment between races will include two pony races, Goshen Foxhounds, Thoroughbred Placement Resources, a Side Saddle demonstration and Special Olympics Maryland.
Party at the Park, located trackside in Paddock Park, will feature beer, wine, cornhole, live music between races and all you can eat wings from 12-5 p.m.
Steve Cauthen and Jean Cruguet, the last two jockeys to ride Triple Crown winners, will be signing autographs outside the Horse Wizard Room from 1-3 p.m.
Jeremy Plonk and Brian Nadeau from Horse Player Now’s Night School will be providing expert analysis of the card from the Horse Wizard Room.
HRTV will have a live presence for the entire card with hosts Dick Jerardi and Jill Byrne on site.
LEATHERBURY, CAPUANO BATTLE FOR TRAINER TOP SPOT
King Leatherbury and Dale Capuano are tied atop the trainer standings for most victories on “Maryland’s Day At The Races”. Both have visited the winners’ circle nine times on Maryland Million day.
Leatherbury will saddle 3-5 favorite Ben’s Cat in the $100,000 Turf Sprint. The son of Parker’s Storm Cat is looking to become the fourth horse to win a Maryland Million race three consecutive years, joining Hall of Famer Safely Kept (Distaff, ’89-91), Countus In (Ladies, ’89-91) and Mz. Zill Bear (Ladies, ’93-95). He has won 17-of-26 starts with earnings of $1,161,090.
Standing in his way is Capuano trainee Heros Reward, a multiple graded stakes winner with a bankroll of $1,252,898.
Capuano will also saddle Lunar Rock, the 7-2 second choice on the morning line in the $100,000 Nursery. The son of 2002 Nursery winner Cherokee’s Boy has finished in the money in all four starts, including a victory here September 15.
“Hopefully we can win one race to try to keep pace with King because he’s going to be tough with Ben’ s Cat,” said Capuano. “Maryland Million is one of the biggest days on the calendar and we always want to have something live. Lunar Rock won on the lead last time and has gotten better with each race. With a young horse that’s all that counts.”
Sixty-two conditioners will saddle horses Saturday at Laurel Park, including 21 with multiple starters.
Mike Trombetta will saddle seven runners in five different races. The Baltimore born conditioner entered D C Dancer (3-1, Nursery), Glich (10-1, Nursery), Change of Command (7-2, Turf), Friscan (15-1, Sprint), Brushed by Love (6-1, Distaff), Music Please (10-1, Distaff) and Baltimore Belle (5-2, Ladies).
D C Dancer was an impressive winner at Laurel Park on September 15 and is the morning line favorite in the $100,000 Nursery for 2-year-olds.
“He is really good,” said Trombetta, who has four Maryland Million victories. “I hope he has enough racing under him, he has only run two times. In a perfect world we would have liked to have had one more under his belt but I think he is ready to go.”
PIMENTEL, TRUJILLO TO RIDE FIVE OF THE 11 MORNING LINE FAVORITES
Julian Pimentel tops all riders with eight mounts, including five for Mike Trombetta. The 31-year-old will be aboard two morning line favorites in the Turf Sprint (Ben’s Cat) and Nursery (D C Dancer) and has live shots in the Lassie (Touring Hong Kong), Ladies (Baltimore Belle) and Turf (Change of Command).
Elvis Trujillo, the leading rider at Monmouth Park has the call on seven runners, including three program choices. The 28-year-old will ride the favorites in the Lassie (Mystic Love), Oaks (Jazzy Idea) and Sprint (Sloane Ranger).
Sheldon Russell has six mounts, including Eighttofasttocatch, the defending champion in the $150,000 Classic. Russell has won the last two Classics, taking the 2010 race with Regal Solo, the second choice in this year’s Sprint.
Others with busy afternoons will be Forest Boyce and Horacio Karamanos who have six mounts each.
Jeremy Rose, who ranks fourth all-time with 14 Maryland Million scores, has five riding assignments Saturday, including Varborough, the 8-5 favorite in the Starter Handicap.
Maryland Jockey Club clerk of scales Frankie Saumell will have 33 riders in the jocks room.
Ramon Dominguez holds the single year mark with five Maryland Million victories in 2005 and leads all riders with 17 winners, one more than Edgar Prado and Mario Pino.
About Laurel Park
Laurel Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.