Maryland-breds were the stars on Saturday at Laurel Park, competing in various races at the 29th Jim McKay Maryland Million Day. A pair of 8-year-old geldings were the highlights of the day: Eighttofasttocatch captured his third Maryland Million Classic, while popular Ben's Cat was upset by Talk Show Man in the Maryland Million Turf.
Hillwood Stable LLC's Golden Years took the lead down the backstretch, then fended off his nearest rival to win the $100,000 Maryland Million Nursery for 2-year-olds, the opening event on Maryland Million Day.
Sent to post as the heavy favorite under Victor Carrasco for trainer Rodney Jenkins, Golden Years covered the 6-furlong distance in 1:10.54 over the fast main track. The son of Not For Love won by a length and a half, with Legal Punch taking second. Stonebriar finished third.
Michael R. Cox's Classy Coco swept by her filly and mare rivals as she romped to victory in the $100,000 Maryland Million Distaff at Laurel Park.
Trevor McCarthy was at the controls as the 4-year-old won off by six lengths in 1:23.93 for the 7-furlong distance over the fast main track. Steady N Love came along late to take second over Jonesin for Jerry, who loomed a threat but gave way and finished third.
Bernie Houghton trains Classy Coco, who finished fourth in this race in 2013. She paid $5 as the betting favorite.
TomRus LLC's D C Dancer emerged from the pack to capture the $100,000 Maryland Million Sprint at Laurel Park and gave his sire his third winner in just the first three stakes races contested on the Maryland Million card.
D C Dancer is by Not For Love, the leading sire of Maryland Million day winners with 31 victories from 198 starters. Mike Trombetta saddled the 4-year-old, who completed the 6-furlong distance in 1:09.93, winning for the second time during the fall meeting. He beat Always Smiling by 1-1/4 lengths, with Avarice finishing another 2-1/2 lengths back in third.
Howard M. Bender's Bear Access rushed to the front at the start and led the rest of the way to post an upset victory at odds of 66-1 in the $100,000 Maryland Million Ladies at Laurel Park.
Larry Murray trains Bear Access, who had never won on the turf nor raced in a stakes. She came into the race off an eighth place finish here on September 10 in allowance company.
Horacio Karamanos put the daughter of Gators N Bears on the engine from go, crossing ahead of the field from her outside post to reach the front passing the finish line the first time around and then moderated the tempo until they reached the finish line again in 1:54.83 over the good turf, winning by ¾'s of a length over 4-5 post time favorite Devilish Love. The 4-year-old paid $134.20.
Larry R. Reed claimed Outbacker for $12,500 in February and saw him blossom into a stakes winner today as his charge took the $50,000 Maryland Million Starter Handicap at Laurel Park in a driving finish.
Alex Cintron picked up the mount on the son of Outflanker this morning and gave him a picture perfect ride, stalking the leaders from mid-pack and then ranging up in mid-stretch to catch The Camden Comet, who appeared to be on his way to victory in the one-mile test. They won by a head in 1:37.26.
Reed not only trains Outbacker but is his trainer. Outbacker paid $6.80.
R. Larry Johnson & R. D. M. Racing Stable's My Magician is a maiden no more and she graduated in the $100,000 Maryland Million Lassie at Laurel Park no less.
Mike Trombetta trains the Street Magician filly. Julian Pimentel was aboard her for the first time as she held off the late surge of Rocky Policy to win by a neck, with Rockin Jojo finishing another neck back in third.
My Magician finished third in her two previous starts, once at Timonium and once at Laurel. The filly covered the 6-furlongs in 1:12.11 and paid $59.40.
Somraj Singh & MCA Racing Stable LLC's Printasticat broke alertly, sat just off the pacesetter and when she was asked, took over the lead and drew away to win the $50,000 Maryland Distaff Starter Handicap at Laurel Park.
The Claudio Gonzalez trainee carried Daniel Centeno to a three length victory over favorite Aix En Provence, with Touring Hong Kong taking third.
The winner, a daughter of Fantasticat, completed the one mile distance in 1:38.30 and paid $17.80.
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