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On a day at the races promoted as Maryland Pride Day, it was almost fate that there would be winners named Maryland Pride, Crabcakes and Bawlmer Hon.

The third annual Maryland Pride Day, held Saturday, Aug. 19 at Laurel Park, offered a dozen races (seven with preference to Maryland-bred and sired plus three $75,000 restricted stakes) and attracted more than 100 Maryland-bred entries. And although a wet week moved four of the six turf races off the turf, the fields dominated by Maryland-bred runners offered plenty of competition.

Three stakes were offered for Maryland-bred or sired runners. Leading off was the Find for older runners. Remaining on the soft course, the race lost one of its most recognizable names when Phlash Phelps was withdrawn, but came down to a dramatic finish as Just Howard, the only 3-year-old in the field of eight, got the win by a neck over Ghost Bay. The two ran down Dothat Dance, who had gotten a clear lead in midstretch, but wound up third. The winner, owned by Skeedattle Associates and trained by Graham Motion, had won the Caveat Stakes for Maryland-breds in his previous start in his stakes debut. The top two finishers were both bred by the late Howard Bender – Ghost Bay carried Benders’ colors in 2014 when he was named Maryland-bred champion 2-year-old male.

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Photo: Crabcakes

Crabcakes won the Miss Disco Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the main track, getting six furlongs in a quick 1:08.77. It was her first stakes win since taking the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship in December, and her first win since the death of her breeder/owner, Binnie Houghton, who passed away at her Buckingham Farm in Chestertown on Aug. 7. Crabcakes, trained by Houghton’s nephew Bernie Houghton, was one of three winners on the card for her sire Great Notion, Maryland’s stallion of the year in 2016 who has made his entire career at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City. Two races before the Miss Disco, Michael Terry Shane’s homebred 2-year-old Great Notion filly Margie’s Money broke her maiden in her debut impressively, scoring by six lengths and completing the five furlongs in :57.82 while defeating eight.

The All Brandy Stakes for fillies and mares on the turf saw the first stakes win for Bawlmer Hon, a daughter of Silver Train out of Manhattan Madam, by Not For Love, who kicked clear in the stretch and won by two lengths. Bred by the late trainer Dickie Small in partnership with Tom and Chris Bowman, the 4-year-old filly was sold as a yearling for $25,000. Campaigned by Runaway Point Farms and trained by Mark Shuman, Bawlmer Hon had previously placed in the Maryland Racing Media and Conniver Stakes at Laurel this year.

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Photo: Bawlmer Hon

Other notable Maryland-bred winners were Sagamore Farm’s 3-year-old colt Maryland Pride, winning a maiden special weight at a mile by a nose in the first race; allowance winners Kelly Tough (second), Phantom Shot (third), Riley’s Choice (also a Sagamore Farm homebred, in the fourth) and Clubman (10th); and 2-year-old Pascal Chant (ninth). Pascal Chant, a son of Bonita Farm sire Etched making his first start, won by a nose in the full field of 12 for owner/breeder Monica Ryan.

Handle for the 12-race card was $3,308,791, a 15.6 percent increase over the previous year’s 11-race card handle of $2,862,458 (which included six turf races).

To read more about the runnings of the Find, Miss Disco and All Brandy Stakes, go to Laurel Park’s website here 

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