Maryland-bred and sired horses on display this weekend

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Ted Black

October 20th, 2017

While many harness racing enthusiasts will be keenly focused on the Breeders Crown elims at Hoosier Park this Friday and Saturday evenings, Maryland racing fans will have the chance to see their top runners, pacers and trotters display their talentes on dirt, turf and stone dust on Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening at two different venues.

Saturday afternoon Laurel Park will host the 32nd edition of the Maryland Million, an 11-race card highlighting the best progeny of stallions based in Maryland. Horses of all ages and both genders will have the chance to shine on turf and dirt throughout the card and several of the races appear wide open.

In the third, the $100,000 Maryland Million Nursery for two-year-old colts and geldings, Jamaican Don looms the solid choice having finished second in a minor stakes at Delaware Park last out after graduating at first asking at Thistledown in Ohio. But his task could be made tough if local winners Pascal Chant, Fenton's Four and Onemoregreatride all continue their fondness for the local surface. Whereshetoldmetogo, upset winner of the First State Dash at Delaware Park where Jamaican Don was second, is among the also eligibles looking for one rival to scratch.

Then one race later the older runners will go postward in the $100,000 Maryland Million Sprint. Blu Moon Ace, runner-up in the Grade III, $250,000 Frank DeFrancis Memorial Dash after winning the Coalition Stakes at Timonium, looms the odds-on choice. Struth, second to Blu Moon Ace in the Coalition, rates an upset chance from the outset and local winners Lewisfield and Winplaceshoworno all merit outside prospects.

Then one race later in the $100,000 Maryland Million Lassie for two-year-old fillies, Margie's Money (Katie Davis) will put her unbeaten record on the line from post 10 against Limited View (Edgar Prado), who has won both of her local starts for trainer John Salzman, Jr. and was second in the Grade II Adirondack at Saratoga. Both Pearl Gem and Pikachu Princess defeated maiden claimers over the strip and cannot be entirely discounted although they appear prime to round out the triple and super.

Then two races later on the card, Crabcakes (Forest Boyce) will seek her third straight score when she headlines the $100,000 Maryland Million Distaff for fillies and mares at seven panels as the likely 2-5 choice for trainer Bernie Houghton and the late Elizabeth "Binnie" Houghton, her breeder. Crabcakes has won three of seven starts this year and banked over $150,000 and sports a 5-3-0 slate and $250,000 bankroll from nine career outings. My Magician, a past Maryland Million winner, looms the best upset prospect.

Then several races later in the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic for older horses, Admirals War Chest seeks his third straight victory in the feature, but will get an acid test against John Jones, Bonus Points and Clubman. John Jones will seek to give trainer Lacey Gaudet her first MM score, while Clubman has won two straight and Bonus Points arrives for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Then on Sunday evening at Rosecroft Raceway, the Fort Washington five-eighths mile oval will host a quartet of $45,000 Maryland Sire Stakes finals for two-year-olds of both gaits and genders with the first two being contested as early, non-wagering events.

In the first early race for MDSS trotting fillies, Gaagaa Gone (Russell Foster) will put her unblemished record from six starts on the line against Iron Mine Krystal, who has won four of seven starts for trainer Greg Haverstick. Both fillies arrive with identical 1:59 marks and both drew alongside one another in posts one and two, respectively. TV Sensation (Chris Offutt) has only won once in seven starts but has been second twice and third three times and cannot be entirely overlooked.

Then one race later in the MDSS final for freshman pacing fillies, HS Shauna (Roger Plante, Jr.) brings a solid 4-3-2 slate, $23,000 banked and 1:54.2 mark for trainer Steve LeBlanc, but Cool Toy (Jason Green) owns a 2-3-0 slate and $15,500 bankroll and 1:53.2 mark for trainer Elwood Tignor. Miss Choptank (Victor Kirby) brings a 4-3-1 slate, $30,000 banked and 1:55.1 mark from 10 starts for trainer Wayne Givens. Earlier in the week, Kirby notched career victory 4,000 at Harrington and was the regular pilot of that track's horse of the meet Papa Ray.

Then in the first of the two MDSS finals on the betting portion of the program, Chuck De Vie (Ross Wolfenden) will look to rebound from an early miscue in his last start for trainer Chris Ryder, while Iron Mine Bro (Art Stafford, Jr.), Judge Bob (Jonathan Roberts) and What That Is (Brian Burton) winner of his two prelims in 1:57.2 and 1:58.1, respectively, all merit upset chances in this event.

Then in the MDSS final for two-year-old colt pacers, Allie's Finale (Plante) has won four of seven starts and sports a 1:53.3 mark and looms the favorite despite bypassing the second round of prelims. Lloyd's All In (Jared Moyer) brings a 3-2-2 slate and $20,000 bankroll from nine tries, I Run This Show (Foster) owns a 2-3-0 slate and $17,500 bankroll from six starts, while E-Z Pass B, Bo Breeze and Tom Tyrannosaurus, the MDSS fnal hero at Ocean Downs, merit respect despite their outside posts.