Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
The 2013 10-day Maryland State Fair at Timonium meeting ended on Labor Day. Prior to those racing days, June 8th was the most recent day of live thoroughbred racing in the state of Maryland.
On Thursday September 19th, racing
returns to Maryland as Laurel Park opens
with a nine-race card, offerng $238,000 in purses. Thanks to an influx of revenue from slot machines in Maryland, Laurel’s overnight purses continue to increase, along
with a new incentive program for breeders and owners of Maryland-bred horses.
Starting on Thursday at Laurel, and continuing in the future, there will be a 30 percent breeder bonus payout for Maryland-bred horses who finish first, second or third in all races, and a 10% Stallion Bonus. The owner bonus awards will continue with the current program of 17.5% to the winner through 2013.
In 2014, not only will the new breeders’ program continue to reward Maryland-breds that finish first, second or third, but Maryland-owned horses will also receive a bonus for finishing in the top three. The owner’s award percentage will remain at 17.5% until 2015, for maiden, allowance and claiming races of $10,000 and up.
By 2015, the breeder and owner bonuses will be 30 percent for the top three finishers in all races.
Laurel Park’s first post is 1:10 p.m. The Maryland Jockey Club plans on making extensive use of its turf course during the meet as evident on Saturday, Sept. 21. That card, billed as the Fall Festival of Racing, will feature five stakes races on the turf as well as the $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash and the Jameela Stakes for Maryland-breds.
The 59-day fall meeting that concludes on December 31st, includes 31 stakes races, worth more than $3.3 million. Live racing at Laurel Park will be conducted Wednesday thru Saturday, while taking advantage of the Columbus Day holiday (Monday, October 14th) to have live racing as well.
The signature day of the meet, The Jim McKay Maryland Million Day is slated for Saturday, October 19th. Maryland Million officials have eliminated two stakes races from the program (Turf Sprint and Oaks) but will still run 11 races on the card, replacing those with a pair of $50,000 maiden races on the turf. In addition, the purses of the Turf and Ladies have been increased from $100,000 to $125,000.
A plethora of exotic wagers will be available to the equine short-term investor. There will be 50-cent Trifectas, 10-cent Superfectas, $1 DOUBLEs (that book end each card), 50-cent Pick-3s, 50-cent Pick-4s and a 50-cent Jackpot Pick-5. A $1 minimum Super High 5 wager will be offered exclusively on the stakes races on the special stakes Saturdays. With a 25.75% takeout, it will be limited to stakes races that have a minimum of seven different betting interests. To win, bettors must select the first five finishers in exact order in a single race. If there are no correct tickets, the entire net pool (money wagered minus takeout) is carried over to the next race that offers the Super High 5. Any potential accumulated carryover is paid out on the last Super High 5 wager of the meet even if there are no perfect tickets. In that case the best-of fives are paid.
Unless you regularly follow the Maryland racing circuit to find the “hot” jockeys and trainers, you, like the talking heads on HRTV and TVG, need to rely on the statistics provided in the past performances. Or you can heed my advice and add these individuals to your memory bank…
Trevor McCarthy: This “bug boy” got his big career break during the 2013 Laurel Park Winter meet where he finished second in the jockey standings. He was a threat to take the Spring meet riding title at Pimlico after winning six races during the opening week, but broke his left tibia during a morning training mishap on April 11th. At that time, McCarthy ranked 12th in North America with 69 victories. In August, Trevor began picking up mounts and is now fully recovered and poised to challenge for the Laurel Park Fall meet riding title.
Jevian Toledo: Strong candidate for the Apprentice Eclipse Award. The 19-year-old Puerto Rican won his first race on January 13th of this year in his home country, moved to the states shortly thereafter, landing in the Mid-Atlantic and has taken the region by storm. Recently he’s riding both day (Delaware Park and Timonium) and night (Charlestown) with over 500 mounts, accumulating 88 wins and an impressive 63% of the time he’s in the Trifecta.
Forest Boyce: One of the most underrated (female) jockeys in the nation. Last year she ranked in the Top 100 in earnings. Her mounts quietly earned the most during the 2013 Pimlico meet and this summer Forest won the G3 Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs aboard 19-1 Nellie Cashman, outriding Alan Garcia and Joel Rosario (who were on the post time favorite and second choice, respectively). It would be wise to give her an extra look, especially in turf races.
Lacey Gaudet: This 25-year-old trainer has a bright future thanks to her solid foundation, as her parents (Edmond and Linda) have been longtime conditioners in the Free State. “Quality over quantity” rings true in Gaudet’s barn as Lacey has only saddled a few dozen runners in 2013, but 47% of the time she gets them in the Exacta. If patience is truly a virtue, then this trainer should see her clientele rise throughout this meet.
Damon Dilodovico: Training horses since 1991, he has been the best kept secret in Maryland year in and year out. Never having more than 180 starts in a given year, his win percentage is consistently in the 20-30% range. He’s versatile as well, saddling top stakes runners like Immortal Eyes and MD Million Classic winner Regal Solo, down to the low-level claimers.
Throughout the Laurel Park Fall Meet, I’ll post full card selections only for Saturday race days. But one cannot resist capping an Opening Day card.
Selections for the Opening Day at Laurel Park, Thursday, Sept. 19th are below. If need be, an update will be posted after early scratches are announced on race day morning.
Selections for all races posted were handicapped based on making multi-race wagers such as DOUBLE’s, Pick-3’s and Pick-4’s.
1st race – $5,000 Claiming for 3 y.o. and up – 1 1/8 miles
#3 – Bet the Cat (6-1) $$$ LONGSHOT PLAY $$$
#6 – Laurelcoveproposal (12-1)
#1A – Imoratas (4-5)
POE #1 - Peasant SCRATCHED
2nd race – $5,000 Claiming for 3 y.o. and up – 7 furlongs
#2 – Flying Master (3-1)
#1 – Tripplite (9-5)
#8 – Sandbagin’ Lover (8-1)
3rd race – $16,000 Maiden Claiming for 2 y.o. fillies – 5½ furlongs
#7 – Clapping (3-1)
#2 – Miz Marzy
#3– Danees Do Be Do(15-1)
#4 - Looksgoodfromhere (8-1)
4th race – $5,000 Claiming for 3 y.o. and up – 1 1/16 miles
#3 – Key to a Cure (3-1) *** BEST BET ***
#8 – Sky Maggy (2-1)
#4 – Silent Shot (8-1)
5th race – $5,000 Claiming for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 1 mile on TURF
#3 – Love Shack (7-2)
#2 – Theatricality (5-1)
#4 – Broad Contour (12-1)
6th race – $42,000 Allowance N1X for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 1 1/16 miles
#3 – Sheer Drama (3-5)
#1 – Long Legged Girl (9-2)
#4 – Purple Plum (3-1)
7th race – $40,000 Maidens for 2 y.o. fillies – 5½ furlongs on TURF
#6 – Daring Dancer (5-2)
#3 – Venice Queen (3-1)
#9 – Lundi Gras (9-2)
8th race – $42,000 Allowance N1X for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 1 1/16 miles on Turf
#1 – Handoverthecat (9-5)
#9 – South Andros (12-1)
#10 – Channel the Green (10-1)
9th race – $8,000 Maiden Claiming for 3 y.o. and up – 7 furlongs
#3 – Wolseley Bay (5-1)
#1 – Denver Duel (6-1)
#7 – Safe Net (12-1)