34 Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired older horses were nominated to the first Maryland-bred/sired stakes races of 2024: the Geisha Stakes for fillies and mares, and the Jennings Stakes for older males. Both will be held at Laurel Park on Jan. 20 at one mile for a purse of $75,000 each.
19 horses were nominated for the Jennings, 15 of whom are Maryland-breds. The exceptions are three Pennsylvania-breds: Bestsugardaddyever (by Blofeld), Dee Jay (by Imagining), and Fole's Notion (by Great Notion), along with West Virginia-bred Coastal Mission (by Great Notion).
Five 2023 stakes-winning Maryland-breds are among the nominees. They include Double Crown, bred by Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Bowman & Rebecca Davis. The 7-year-old son of Bourbon Courage won a pair of stakes races last year, taking the Polynesian at Pimlico on Sept. 10 and the Robert T. Manfuso at Laurel on Dec. 23. He's closing in on the $1 million mark in earnings, having accrued $838,185 in his 44-race career.
In addition, two reigning Maryland Million champions were nominated. Classic winner Ain't Da Beer Cold, bred by Matt Spencer & Kelly Cox was most recently sixth in the Manfuso. Sprint victor Seven's Eleven, a homebred for the Cottonwood Stable LLC, has since won two races, including the Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial on Nov. 24. The other stakes winners on the nominee list are Tom Rooney-bred Coffeewithchris, who won the Miracle Wood at Laurel last Feb. 18, and Post Time, bred by Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Dr. Brooke Bowman & Milton P. Higgins III, who earned his first open stakes win in the City of Laurel on Nov. 25.
Other prominent nominees include 2022 Maryland Million Classic winner Ournationonparade, bred by John E. Williamson III, and Joe, a two-time Maryland-bred champion bred and campaigned by the Elkstone Group LLC.
The Geisha attracted 15 nominations, all but one of whom are Maryland-bred. Notable nominees include Mavilus, bred by Kevin Morgan, who won the Conniver in a 26-1 upset last March 18, Liquidator, bred by Country Life Farm and Stone LLC, who was a five-time winner last year, Dr. Ronald Harris Parker-bred Malibu Moonshine, the champion Maryland-bred 2-year-old filly of 2022, and Fuhgeddaboudit, a No Guts No Glory Farm homebred who won three races in a row last winter, and recently returned to the races with a sixth-place finish in an open allowance on Dec. 17.
Entries for both races will be taken on Sunday, Jan. 14.
View the Jennings nominees HERE.
View the Geisha nominees HERE.