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McKAY’S MILLION ON OCT 22

Edited Laurel Park Press Staff —  Four defending champions, four prior winners and Grade 3-winning fan favorite Cordmaker are among 310 pre-entries in eight stakes and four starter stakes on the 37th annual Jim McKay Maryland Million Day program Saturday, Oct. 22 at Laurel Park.

            Five races on the groundbreaking Maryland Million program are scheduled for the turf. Entries will be taken and post positions drawn Wednesday, Oct. 19. Post time on Maryland Million Day is 11:30 a.m.

            The richest race on the program, the $150,000 Classic going 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds and up, drew 28 pre-entries led by Hillwood Stable’s Cordmake, who has not raced since becoming a graded-stakes winner in the Feb. 19 General George (G3) at Laurel. It marked the fourth straight win and 10th stakes victory for the 7-year-old gelding by two-time Horse of the Year and 2014 Hall of Famer Curlin. Trained by Rodney Jenkins, he has breezed six times since Sept. 2 for his return.

            Prendimi posted a front-running 12-1 upset of last year’s Classic, a neck ahead of multiple stakes winner Tappin Cat, who is also pre-entred. Joining them are 2020 Classic winner Monday Morning Qb and Norman ‘Lynn’ Cash-trained stablemate Double Crown, a multiple stakes winner twice graded-stakes placed; stakes winners Cynergy’s Star, Galerio, Twisted Ride and Vance Scholars; The Poser, third by a length to Prendimi last fall; and multiple stakes-winning filly Malibu Beauty.

            The last horse to win the Classic in back-to-back years was Admirals War Chest in 2015 and 2016. Other repeat winners are Timely Warning (1990-91), Algar (1997-98), Docent (2002-03) and Eighttofasttocatch (2011, 2013-14).

            Vance Scholars, winner of the 1 3 1/6-mile Bald Eagle Derby Aug. 6 at Laurel and placed in two consecutive stakes – all races rained off the grass, is also among 22 horses pre-entered for the $125,000 Maryland Million Turf. The group includes 2019 Turf winner Mr. d’Angelo, who ran fourth in 2020 but missed last year’s race; 2021 Maryland Million Turf Starter Handicap winner B Determined; Johng and Street Copper, respectively second and third to Somekindofmagician last fall; and stakes winners Midnight Hauler and Nick Papagiorgio.

            The Turf’s companion race, the $125,000 Ladies for fillies and mares 3 and up scheduled for 1 1/8 miles on the grass, saw 23 horses pre-entered led by multiple stakes winners Can the Queen and Malibu Beauty, the latter yet to race on turf; Maldives Model and Amplio Esquema, respectively second and fourth last year; and My Thoughts, a last-out stakes winner at Penn National.

            Hello Beautiful made history last fall when she became just the seventh horse to win three Maryland Million races following a second straight triumph in the $100,000 Distaff. Her trainer, Brittany Russell, pre-entered three horses going for a title defense in the seven-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3 and up – Gamestonks; Juror Number Four, third last out in the Sept. 30 Tax Free Distaff; and Jester Calls Nojoy, unraced since finishing second to Luna Belle in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship last December.

            Also prominent among pre-entrants are stakes winners Breviary, Climber, Edie Meeny Miny Mo, Fille d’Esprit, Malibu Beauty, Princess Kokachin and Proper Attire, the latter finishing fourth as the favorite in Thursday’s second race at Laurel, a 5 ½-furlong starter optional claimer that was rained off the turf.

            The $100,000 Sprint for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs matched the Distaff as most popular among horsemen with 32 pre-entries. The list includes defending champion Air Token; 2020 winner Karan’s Notion; May 21 Chick Lang (G3) winner Jaxon Traveler; Whereshetoldmetogo, who counts 13 stakes among 17 lifetime wins and is approaching $1 million in purse earnings; fellow multiple stakes winners Alottahope, Fortheluvofbourbon and Local Motive; Eastern Bay, second in the Oct. 8 Vosburgh (G2) at Aqueduct; and stakes winners Alwaysinahurry, Cynergy’s Star, Kenny Had a Notion and Twisted Ride.

            Gordon Keys’ Grateful Bred, winless in six starts this year with four seconds, all in stakes, is pre-entered to defend his title in the $100,000 Turf Sprint, a 5 ½-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up. Among other pre-entrants are Alwaysinahurry, B Determined, Can the Queen, Cynergy’s Star, Grade 3-placed Hemp and stakes winners Justwaveandsmile and Miss J McKay.

            Juveniles will be in the spotlight in the $100,000 Nursery for 2-year-olds and $100,000 Lassie for 2-year-old fillies, both sprinting six furlongs. The Nursery’s 26 pre-entries include stakes winners Bandits Heart and Paymengold along with stakes-placed Heldish, Lost Weekend and Riccio, while the Lassie attracted 30 pre-entries led by stakes-placed Chickieness,

            Back for the sixth straight year are the $50,000 Turf Starter Handicap for 3-year-olds and up, where 2020 Turf winner Pretty Good Year is among 22 pre-entrants, and $50,000 Turf Distaff Starter Handicap for fillies and mares 3 and older, both scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the grass.

            Rounding out the stakes action are the $40,000 Starter Handicap for 3-year-olds and up, whose pre-entries including defending champion No More Talk, and $40,000 Distaff Starter Handicap for fillies and mares 3 and older, each sprinting seven furlongs.

            Edgar Prado leads all Maryland Million jockeys with 18 wins, one more than fellow Hall of Famer Ramon Dominguez. Jevian Toledo, Maryland’s leading jockey by wins this year, J.D. Acosta and Charlie Marquez each won two Maryland Million races in 2021.

            Dale Capuano and Hall of Famer King Leatherbury, who together have combined for more than 10,000 career victories, rank 1-2 among Maryland Million trainers with 14 and 10 wins, respectively.

            Named for the late Hall of Fame and 13-time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster who helped launch the groundbreaking concept in 1986, the Jim McKay Maryland Million has evolved into the second-biggest day on the state’s racing calendar behind only the Preakness Stakes (G1). ‘Maryland’s Day at the Races’ celebrates the stallions who stand in the state as well as a rich and diverse racing history that dates back to the founding of the Maryland Jockey Club in 1743.

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