A deep competitive card for the 35th annual Jim McKay Maryland Million program topped by the Maryland Million Classic.
The nine furlong two-turner drew a field of seven including a strong early line favorite, G3 Pimlico Special winner Harpers First Ride (8-5) but this spot is no gim’me.
The fastest horse off that win at 1-3/16s miles, he certainly won’t lack conditioning on the mini turnback and worked crisply for this, a snappy half-mile in 47.60 for perennial leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez.
Top Line Growth (2-1) and Codemaker (4-1) will have a lot to say about the outcome.
Like the favorite, Top Line Growth has good early speed and Julien Pimentel is very likely to leave for position from his outside slip for two reasons: position and not allowing the favorite to get away soft.
The Classic pace is not likely to be fast but should be contested. ‘Top Line’ classes up nicely two, recently second in Monmouth’s Grade 3 Salvator Mile. He’s 4-for-4 over the strip, however the favorite is 6-for-7.
These 4-year-olds will attract the most money but rather than choose, we’ll look for value in another direction. Cordmaker has finished one-paced in recent starts but perhaps his races will serve him very well coming into this.
Cordmaker finished third and second to the choice in his last two but gets 7-pound spot here. A six-time Laurel winner was third by a half-length with a late run in last year’s 10F Pimlico Special, so the distance is within his scope. A bullet 5/8s on Oct. 16 will have him sharp for his return to the state-bred ranks.
We’ll take Cordmaker straight at close to early line odds and key-box exactas with the favorites above.