Maryland-breds Make Rapid Impression

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Ted Black

June 19th, 2017

Nearly 10 years after Maryland standardbred racing had plummeted to virtual extinction, several of the sport's top pacers and trotters are Maryland-breds whose ascension has almost mirrored that of the state.

On Sunday afternoon at Vernon Downs Raceway in New York, Devious Man (Andy Miller) rallied from midpack to capture the $250,000 Empire Breeders Classic final for three-year-old trotting colts in 1:52.2 for trainer Julie Miller.

Last year at age two, Devious Man was the best among juvenile trotting colts in the New York Sire Stakes events and on Sunday afternoon he displayed plenty of ability to win against open stakes foes. This Winbak Farm product may never make a start in Maryland, but he looks destined to earn a berth in the Grade I, $1 million Hambletonian at The Meadowlands in August.

One night earlier at Mohawk Raceway in Toronto, Canada, Lady Shadow (Yannick Gingras) overcame a first over bid to capture the Grade I, $375,000 Roses Are Red final for the third straight year in 1:48.4.

Another Winbak Farm product and already a proven commodity in lucrative, graded stakes, Lady Shadow has won all four of her starts this year and may very well be the top horse of any age, either gait or gender in the land right now. The Shadow Play mare is the reigning champion aged pacing mare and defending Maryland-bred horse of the year.

Several other Maryland-breds, Tequila Monday and Classic Pro also earned decent checks in lucrative open stakes. Tequila Monday finished third as the favorite in the $440,000 Fan Hanover Stakes final for three-year-old filly Pacers and Classic Pro finished fourth in the Grade I, $1 million North America Cup final for three-year-old pacing colts behind division leaders Fear The Dragon, Huntsville and Downbytheseaside.

Maryland harness racing fans may not get the chance to see Lady Shadow, Devious Man, Tequila Monday or Classic Pro compete at either Rosecroft Raceway or Ocean Downs this year, but the quartet has already helped put the state's breeding industry back on the map.