Celebrations, great racing, and increases in attendance and in-state handle highlighted the 32nd Jim McKay Maryland Million Day held Saturday, Oct. 21 at Laurel Park.
A festive crowd of 22,682 was in attendance, up 4.4 percent over 2016. Total handle was $4.377 million compared to $4.476 a year ago. In-state handle was $566,086, up 2.8 percent over the previous year.
“While we were missing some marquee names that had competed in the past, we were pleased with Saturday’s program and festivities on Maryland Million Day,” said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. “Field size was up, we showed increases in attendance and in-state handle, and the crowd was spectacular. We want to thank the horsemen, the fans and, of course, our incredible equine athletes for taking part in a great day.”
Maryland Million Day was highlighted by Maryland-bred Bonus Points winning the $150,000 Classic, a victory that provided Maryland-native rider Nik Juarez with his third victory of the afternoon.
Freshman sires Buffum and Freedom Child got their first stakes winners in dramatic fashion. The Nursery was won by Buffum’s first-timestarter Clever Mind, who broke last and was more than a dozen lengths off the pace before charging around the field and drawing off to win by 2 lengths. Clever Mind isa homebred for Richard L. Golden of Sycamore Hall Thoroughbreds and is trained by Graham Motion. Golden is also president and CEO of Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, where Buffum stands at stud. Buffum’s only other starter, the filly Buff’s in Love, was third in the Lassie.
Freedom Child’s 2-year-old daughter Limited View turned in a dramatic performance in the Lassie. Trained by John Salzman Jr., who co-owns the filly with Fred Wasserloos and George Greenwalt, Limited View broke from the outside post and made a right turn under Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, and by the time she got straightened out, she was more than a dozen lengths behind the leaders. She rapidly gained on the field and flew down the stretch to win by three-quarters of a length. The sire of four starters on the card, Freedom’s Child also had on-the-board finishes in the Nursery with Jamaican Don and Nico Bree N Teej, second and fourth, respectively. Freedom Child stands at Country Life Farm in Bel Air.
Other Maryland stallions with winners on the card were:
• All-time leader Not For Love, sire of Turf winner Spartianos – it marks the 36th Maryland Million win for Northview Stallion Station’s late sire;
• The ninth win for Northview Stallion Station’s Great Notion with Crabcakes’ popular score in the Distaff;
• A second winner for Bonita Farm’s third-year sire Etched, whose 3-year-old daughter My Sistersledge won the Ladies over older mares;
• Murmur Farm’s late stallion Louis Quatorze, who got his sixth Maryland Million win with Miss Nosy’s dominating score as favorite in the Distaff Starter Handicap;
• Retired Shamrock Farm stallion Rock Slide with a third Maryland Million win after Willy d’Rocket captured in the inaugural Turf Starter Handicap
Edgar Prado’s win aboard Limited View in the Lassie was his 17th in Maryland Million history, putting him in a tie with retired jockey Ramon Dominguez for the most victories.
In addition to Juarez’s win in the Classic, he recorded scores in the Nursery (Clever Mind) and Turf (Spartianos). Forest Boyce won back-to-back races by taking the Turf Starter Handicap with Willy d’Rocket and the Distaff with Crabcakes. The only other rider with two or more wins was Julian Pimentel, taking the Sprint and Ladies, with Blu Moon Ace and My Sistersledge, which moved him into fifth place in the overall standings with 11 Maryland Million wins in his career.
Fan-favorite, Crabcakes, wins the Maryland Million Distaff