As the sun shined upon Laurel Park during the 34th Jim McKay Maryland Million Day, held on Saturday, Oct. 19, Maryland-breds swept nine of the 11 stakes races on the 12-race card.
On a day showcasing Maryland sires, Country Life Farm’s Friesan Fire got his second Maryland Million winner as Pennsylvania-bred Forest Fire captured the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic, scoring a half-length over New Jersey-bred Prendimi, a son of Dance With Ravens, who previously stood at Northview Stallion Station. Saratoga Bob, winner of last year’s Classic and Friesan Fire’s first Maryland Million winner, finished 10th in this year’s Classic.
Northview Stallion Station’s Great Notion increased his lead among living sires when his daughter Anna’s Bandit, bred in West Virginia, took the $100,000 Maryland Million Distaff Handicap by four and a half lengths, just a week after capturing the $175,000 West Virginia Cavada Breeders’ Classic Stakes at Charles Town. Great Notion has sired the winners of 13 Maryland Million races, to put him in a tie for third with Northview Stallion Station’s late Two Punch on the list of leading Maryland Million sires. Northview’s all-time leading sire, the late Not For Love, holds the record with 36 Maryland Million wins.
Six current or former Maryland sires got their first Maryland Million winners: freshman sire Golden Lad (Northview), Lassie; the late Seville (Ger) (stood at Heritage), Turf; Cal Nation (stood at Country Life Farm until 2016), Nursery; Despite the Odds (last stood in Maryland at Legacy Stallions at Roland Farm in 2019), Starter Handicap; Plan (last stood at Heritage Stallions in 2015), Distaff Starter Handicap; and Hunters Bay (last stood at Heritage Stallions in 2014), Turf Distaff Starter. This was the first year that Golden Lad, Plan and Seville had a runner on the program.
Maryland-bred stakes winners of Maryland Million Day:
Mr. d’Angelo - $125,000 Maryland Milion Turf
Kevin Morgan’s homebred Mr. d’Angelo, a son of the late Group 1 turf star Seville (Ger) who stood at Heritage Stallions in Chesapeake City, moved from dead last to surpass the pack and win his stakes debut in the Turf by one and three-quarter lengths. Trained by Tim Woolley, Mr. d’Angelo finished ahead of Somekindofmagician, a son of Street Magician who finished second in the 2017 Turf.
Zonda - $125,000 Maryland Million Ladies
In a race opened up to Maryland-bred distaffers by out-of-state sires, Zonda, a 3-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy who finished fifth against males in the Bald Eagle Derby in her previous start, came in off the A.E. list and defeated older runners in the Ladies by one and a half lengths over odds-on favorite two-time Maryland Million Ladies winner My Sistersledge. Owned by Matthew Schera and bred by Willow Oaks Stable LLC, the filly captured her first stakes out of five attempts for trainer James L. Lawrence II.
Hello Beautiful - $100,000 Maryland Million Lassie
The impressive 2-year-old filly Hello Beautiful delivered victory on all fronts as she won the Lassie, becoming the first stakes winner for freshman sire Golden Lad, her dam Hello Now, and her trainer Brittany Russell. Bred by Hillwood Stables LLC, Hello Beautiful sped away to win by three and three-quarter lengths in her stakes debut for owners Madaket Stables LLC, Mark Frasetto, Mark Parkinson, K-mac Stables and Magic City Stables.
Ournationonparade - $100,000 Maryland Million Nursery
Ournationonparade broke his maiden in style as he managed a three and three-quarter-length win in the Nursery, covering the six furlongs in 1:09.73 ahead of Stone Courageous. The T. Bernard Houghton trainee won for new owner Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, who purchased the 2-year-old gelded son of former Country Life Farm stallion Cal Nation following his second-place finish in his career debut in September.
Taco Supream - $100,000 Maryland Million Sprint
Rallying from far back, Taco Supream emerged from behind his accomplished stablemate Laki and swept past favored Call Paul in deep stretch to take the Sprint by three-quarters of a length for owner Big Bertha Stable. Opened to Maryland-breds, the 4-year-old son of El Padrino bred by Ann Biggs Jackson notched his first stakes win in the Sprint.
Bowsprit - $60,000 Maryland Million and/or Registered Maryland-Bred Turf Starter Handicap
Coming wide as they turned for home and barreling down the stretch, Bowsprit got up to win by a neck over Son of Aponi. Owned by Silhouette LLC and bred by Edmund T. Mudge IV, the 5-year-old son of Mast Track got his first stakes victory in his 21st start, and was made eligible for the race after being risked for a $10,500 tag in his prior outing on Oct. 4.
Smokin Caraquena - $60,000 Maryland Million and/or Maryland-Bred Handicap
The first race of the day presented a hard-fought battle, as Clare’s Dowery, Jumpstartmyheart and Smokin Caraquena headed to the wire three abreast, with Jennifer Taylor’s Smokin Caraquena coming out on top by a nose. A 4-year-old daughter of former Maryland sire Hunters Bay bred by Mr. and Mrs. A. John Price, Smokin Caraquena captured her first stakes in her first stakes attempt and eighth career start. The Carl Rafter trainee broke her maiden at Colonial Downs in August.
Port Louis - $50,000 Maryland Million and/or Registered Maryland-Bred Starter Handicap
A son of Despite the Odds, Port Louis battled Sparty down the stretch to win by one and a half lengths as the second-longest shot on the board, at 67-1, in the field of 13. Bred by Anchor and Hope Farm Inc., the Bob Haynes trainee racing for the trainer’s Rob Ry Farm won in his stakes debut in his 24th career start.
Yesterdaysplan - $50,000 Maryland Million and/or Registered Maryland-Bred Distaff Starter Handicap
Yesterdaysplan hustled from the back of the pack to catch Esterina and win the Distaff Starter Handicap by a neck for owner Smart Angle LLP. The Mark J. Reid trainee recorded her first stakes win and improved her record to four firsts out of 15 starts. Yesterdaysplan, a daughter of former Maryland sire Plan, was bred by Kevin P. Morgan.