Eighttofasttocatch and Roadhog Pursue MD Million Day Hat Tricks

Eighttofasttocatch and Roadhog Pursue MD Million Day Hat Tricks
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club

Thanks to Jim McKay’s love of his home state and thoroughbred horse racing, Maryland breeders have one day a year that they can stand proud and potentially pick-up a few new clients. McKay originally proposed the concept and remained Chairman of the Board until his death six years ago. Today, 20 other states and Canada hold a similar event to celebrate their own stallions/state or (in Canada’s case) province breds.

Introduced in 1986, the Maryland Million, a program of races restricted to the offspring of Maryland-based stallions, contested at Laurel Park, has been duplicated by more than 20 other states. Maryland-sired thoroughbreds are nominated before they become 2-year-olds and remain eligible for life to run in the Maryland Million races. After twenty-eight runnings, more than 220 stallions have been represented in Maryland Million races. Twenty-two times attendance figures have topped 20,000 for the event. 

Twenty-nine horses have won more than one Maryland Million event. Eight previous winners are entered on Saturday, including three looking for back-to-back scores: Jonesin for Jerry (Distaff), Monster Sleeping (Ladies) and Eighttofasttocatch (Classic). The latter also won the Classic in 2011. Roadhog looks to three-peat in the Turf.

Only five (5) runners have won three (3) times on Million Million Day… Safely Kept (Distaff-1989-90-91), Countus In (Ladies-1989-90-91), Mz. Zill Bear (Ladies-1993-94-95), Docent (Sweepstakes-2001 & Classic-2002-03) and Ben’s Cat (Turf Sprint-2010-2011-2012).

This year Eighttofasttocatch (Classic-2011, 2013) trained by Tim Keefe is 3-5 M/L favorite to capture his third Classic victory, while Elizabeth Merryman will saddle Roadhog (Turf-2012, 2013), who goes for the natural hat trick in the Turf, trying to join the 3-time winner club.


Eighttofasttocatch w/ Gigi  Photo - Anne Frederick, Maryland Million Ltd.

Ben’s Cat has a chance rewrite the Maryland Million record books. Owner/trainer King T. Leatherbury pre-entered the 8-year-old son of Parker’s Storm Cat in both the $125,000 Turf and $100,000 Sprint. In a reversal of Leatherbury’s comment a week ago (“… leaning towards the Sprint.”), Ben’s Cat was only entered in the Turf. This sets up a rematch with Roadhog who him by a neck in the 2013 Turf. If Ben’s Cat can prevail on Saturday, he’ll be the first four-time Maryland Million Day stakes winner.

                Roadhog edges Ben's Cat in 2013 MD Million Turf - Photo Jim McCue MJC     

The first 4,000 full-paid admissions and Maryland-licensed owners and trainers will each receive a free Maryland Million Sport Cap. On-track entertainment between races will include two pony races, Suttler Clydesdales, Goshen Foxhounds, Great Falls Vaulters and Special Olympics Maryland.

Every year I lobby for wiener (Dashsund) dog races, but it falls on deaf ears. For 2015, how about Chesapeake Bay Retriever races? At least that breed is the official Maryland state dog.

Horse Player Now’s Night School tour seminars will be located on site in the trackside “Tips” restaurant. Jeremy Plonk and the Horse Player Now gang will be on hand to provide expert analysis of the card.

HRTV will have a live presence for the entire card with hosts Caton Bredar and Dick Jerardi on site. First post for Saturday’s 11-race program is 12:15 p.m. EDT at Laurel Park.

Maybe Caton and Dick could use some help from yours truly, as last year my LONGSHOT PLAY OF THE DAY (Maddy’s Dance in the Distaff) scored and returned $29.20 to WIN along with having 8 winners on the 11-race card, including 6 Top Pick winners.

For Saturday races the weather forecast calls Mostly Sunny skies, with 0% chance precipitation. Anticipate a FAST MAIN TRACK and FIRM TURF. Selections for the Jim McKay’s MARYLAND MILLION DAY at Laurel Park, Saturday, Oct. 18th are posted below. Selections posted were handicapped based on making multi-race wagers such as DOUBLE’s, Pick-3’s and Pick-4’s using all three (3) listed for each race in each leg.

1st race – $100,000 MD Million Nursery for 2 y.o. – 6 furlongs

#6 – Legal Punch (5-1)

#5 – Golden Years (7-5)

  #7 – Bullheaded Boy (8-5) --- SCRATCHED  

2nd race – $100,000 MD Million Distaff Hcp for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 7 furlongs

#6 – Ann’s Smart Dancer (7-2)

#2 – Steady N Love (8-1)

#3 – Classy Coco (9-5)

3rd race – $50,000 Maiden for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 1 1/16 mile on Turf

#2 – Jar of Hearts (4-1)

#11 – For Finery (6-5)

#4 – Buffed (12-1)

4th race – $100,000 MD Million Sprint Hcp for 3 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs

#5 – Always Smiling (5-1)

#8 – Tujoes (9-2)

#2 – Avarice (2-1)

5th race – $125,000 MD Million Ladies for F&M 3 y.o.and up – 1 1/8 mile on Turf

#8 – Jerry Love (8-1)

#3 – Pagan Priestess (12-1)

#9 – Moral High Ground (30-1)

6th race – $50,000 MD Million Starter Hcp for 3 y.o. and up – One Mile

#8 – True Compass (6-1)

#12 – The Camden Comet (5-1)

#7 – Outbacker (7-2)

7th race – $50,000 Maiden for 3 y.o. and up – 1 1/16 mile on Turf

#5 – Directory (3-1)  *** BEST BET ***

 #13(AE)* – T Sizzle (4-5) --- SCRATCHED  

 #14(AE)^ – Sayonara (12-1) --- SCRATCHED 

#9 – Grandiflora (6-1) *if one of the AEs does not draw in

#1 – Phlash Phelps (5-2) ^if both of the AEs do not draw in

8th race – $100,000 MD Million Lassie for 2 y.o. fillies – 6 furlongs

#10 – Rocky Policy (5-1)

#8 – Sara Rocks (15-1)

#6 – Fancy Love (10-1)

9th race – $125,000 MD Million Turf for 3 y.o. and up – One mile on Turf

#7 – Loves Last Chance (15-1)  $$$ LONGSHOT PLAY $$$

#9 – Roadhog (3-1)

#11 – Talk Show Man (4-1)

10th race – $150,000 MD Million Classic for 3 y.o. and up – 1 1/8 mile

#3 – Eighttofasttocatch (3-5)

#6 – Irish Lion (20-1)

#4 – Concealed Identity (15-1)

11th race – $50,000 MD Million Distaff Starter Hcp for F&M 3 y.o. and up – One Mile

#9 – Aix En Provence (5-2)

#11 – Breezy Girl (15-1)

#3 – Lucy Boo (10-1)

Maryland Million Fact: Not for Love who stands at Northview Stallion Station, leads all stallions with 16 potential runners in this 29th Maryland Million Day. Progeny of Not For Love have captured 28 Maryland Million races in the last 11 years from 192 starters, including four victories in 2009 and 2011. His sons and daughters could be competing in all nine stakes races.

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                Meet Gary Quill

  I am the most passionate person on the planet when it comes to thoroughbred horse racing! One sunny summer day in 1964 at Timonium Race Track is where my Dad and mentor introduced me to The Sport of Kings. Since that day, I have had the pleasure to visit over 40 different tracks across North America. Though an IT professional by trade, Ive had a part-time gig with the Maryland Jockey Club since 1988.

here are thousands of rail-birds who claim to be great handicappers. Well, I dont claim to be the best just the most passionate and one that wont tout chalk. Like a savvy stock broker, I look for value and often find it. Unlike the talking heads on horse racing television networks and the dozens of websites featuring handicappers opinions, Im ACCOUNTABLE. That is, good or bad, youll always know how my previously posted picks performed along with a running record of my BEST BET and LONGSHOT Play of the Day selections for Maryland tracks (Laurel and Pimlico) at TheRacingBiz, see "The GQ Approach".

   In addition to focusing on the Maryland thoroughbred racing circuit, each year I follow the Derby Trail and post GQs Derby Double Dozen in early February. 

   My personal mission is to rejuvenate interest in thoroughbred horse racing. Being able to share my energy, thoughts and opinions on this sport via HRN will certainly help the cause.


"I lost $2 at Santa Anita and I've spent $3 million trying to get it back." - Mickey Rooney

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