Crabcakes validated her 2-5 favoritism in the $100,000 Maryland Million Distaff Handicap at Laurel Park on Saturday, Oct. 20, successfully defending her title with a half-length triumph over My Magician.


Carrying top weight of 123 pounds, giving three to seven pounds to her six rivals, the Bernie Houghton-trained filly stalked the pace along the backstretch before taking over mid turn. Spurting clear in the stretch, she was soon challenged by My Magician as the two charged for the wire. My Magician tried valiantly to overtake Crabcakes but was second by the same margin for the second straight year.

Said winning rider Forest Boyce: “She was awesome. It was a little frustrating when they started moving on me at the half-mile pole and you’re still a long way from home. This isn’t exactly her distance, but she’s so game and she ran great. She really dug in. She was getting tired but she’s so tough she wasn’t going to let the other horse by without a fight, that’s for sure.”

A 4-year-old daughter of Northview Stallion Station’s leading Maryland sire Great Notion, Crabcakes is owned by Susie and Wayne Chatfield-Taylors’ Morgan’s Ford Farm, but raced in the colors of the Chatfield-Taylors’ dear friend, the late Binnie Houghton of Buckingham Farm, who bred the filly and campaigned her until her death in August 2017.

The Distaff win was the first in a stakes since Crabcake’s 2017 Distaff score. She completed the seven furlongs in 1:22.85.

“I was a little concerned about the distance and also about the weight. I think her distance is six furlongs,” said Bernie Houghton of the favorite, who conceded five pounds to the runner-up. “But Forest knows her so well. I just told her in the paddock, ‘Wait as long as you can.’ Then around the turn, they pushed her sooner than I wanted her to go, but up the stretch she is a game filly. She was not going to let that horse get by her easy. I would have been hard for her to get by easy.”

In getting her ninth win in 15 career starts – and seventh win from nine starts at Laurel Park – Crabcakes pushed her career earnings to $418,532. She has finished in the top three in 14 starts. “I don’t know what we’re going to do with her yet. She loves Maryland. I’d love to keep her in Maryland,” said Houghton, noting that the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie next February is a long-range goal.

Crabcakes is from a long line of stakes winners that Binnie Houghton and her family had developed over nine generations, all the way back to the Man o’ War mare War Feathers, who was purchased by Houghton’s grandfather, James Cox Brady, at the Saratoga sales from the estate of Admiral Cary T. Grayson for a record $50,500 in 1925. Crabcakes’ winning dam Aunt Elaine (by Charismatic) is out of graded stakes-winning juvenile Annie Cake (by Gate Dancer), who in turn is out of a half-sister to Barbaro’s dam La Ville Rouge. The family includes graded winners Emma’s Encore, During, La Reine Elaine (dam of La Reine’s Terms), Green Alligator and Wild Emotions.

Aunt Elaine is the dam of three winners from as many starters, but hadn’t produced a foal since Crabcakes until this year, when she foaled a full brother to the stakes winner in March.

Read more

More News

Maryland-breds at Keeneland January Sale

Avla “Poppet” Pitts’ chestnut filly, a yearling half-sister to 2018 multiple stakes-winning Maryland-bred juvenile Alwaysmining, topped the Maryland-bred offerings at the Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale held Jan. 7-10 in Lexington, Ky.

The Maryland-bred filly, by Medaglia d’Oro’s son Fast Anna, whose oldest foals are just-turned 2-year-olds, was consigned by Hunter Valley Farm, agent for $100,000. She was purchased by Caroline and Grey Bentley, who campaign Alwaysmining, winner of the Maryland Juvenile Futurity and Heft Stakes in December, under the name of their Runnymede Racing.

Read more ...

MHBA celebrates 90 years

“The formation of an organization, in whole or in part of persons, firms
and/or corporations, who have been or are at the present, or who likely will be interested in the breeding and improvement of horses; the fostering and preserving of traditions pertaining to the horse everywhere and particularly the fine traditions of the horse in Maryland. . .”
—From the Articles of Incorporation, Jan. 12, 1929

Read more ...

No Never No More to stand first season in Maryland

No Never No More, a 3-year-old son of the highly-successful Scat Daddy from a family of sires, including Europe’s 2018 leading first-crop sire, No Nay Never, will stand his first season at Faith and Brad Leatherman’s Winding Creek Farm in Union Bridge. He is offered free to approved mares, with a $350 booking fee payable in advance.

Read more ...