Despite being the second-longest shot on the board at 67-1 in the field of 13, Rob Ry Farm’s Port Louis didn’t let his odds stand in the way as he won the $50,000 Maryland Million and/or Maryland-Bred Starter Handicap on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Laurel Park.
Making his stakes debut in his 24th career start, Port Louis chased early leader The Great Provider through an opening quarter in :22.71 and a half mile in :45.63. As the pacesetter faded, the race’s second choice, Sparty, gained the lead, but was hounded by Port Louis to his inside. The two battled down the stretch, with Port Louis finding more late to pull away and win by one and a half lengths. The final time for the seven furlongs was 1:23.21.
Port Louis is the only runner for trainer Bob Haynes, who was getting his first win in just his second start. But it wasn’t the first time Haynes had been in the Maryland Million winner’s circle – under his Rob Ry Farm banner as an owner with partner Jayne Marie Slysz he won the 2006 Classic with Due and the 2010 Starter Handicap with Northpoint Costas.
Haynes claimed Port Louis for $5,000 at Laurel Park on July 28, in a race the 4-year-old son of former Maryland sire Despite the Odds finished last. In his first start for Haynes, on Sept. 6 at Laurel, Port Louis ran second for the same price.
Unraced at 2, Port Louis made his career debut the first week of January 2018 at Laurel, resulting in a win for trainer Ann Merryman, who owned him with Michael Merryman. Since then, the dark bay has raced nearly twice a month, except for a break during the summer of 2018 and two months at the beginning of 2019. Four times he changed hands this year, each for a $5,000 tag, while racking up two wins and four seconds. For his career, he’s won four times and bankrolled $113,592.
Bred by Anchor and Hope Farm, Port Louis is the last reported foal for the winning Wekiva Springs mare Berry Springs, who produced four foals in 12 years. Her three foals to start are all winners.
To watch the race replay, click here