2012 was a Very Good Year for Maryland Racing

2012 was a Very Good Year for Maryland Racing
Photo: Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire

With just a handful more racing days remaining in 2012, it’s time to reach back into your memory bank and think about the most exciting race you witnessed this year. We tend to recall those races that caught national attention. The 2012 Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes were all exciting. How about the Alpha / Golden Ticket dead heat in The Travers?

Where is it written that only (graded) stakes races are worthy of being mentioned in a list of “Most Exciting Races of 2012”? If you are a true fan of the Sport of Kings, you can appreciate the beauty of a terrific stretch duel to the wire or an amazing closing kick, whether it be in a Grade 1 or low level claiming race.

With that being said, were you one of maybe just a few hundred who witnessed an awesome race at Beulah Park, Portland Meadows or whatever small track you follow on a regular basis? Or it could be a race at a major track that happened one weekday with little fanfare. If so, share your story and link to video of the race (if available).

Here are my Top 10 Maryland races of 2012

10. Black-Eyed Susan – May 18th– Race 10 @ Pimlico


 In Lingerie was looking tight as a drum while impressively pulling away from the field.


 9. 107-1 Winner – March 21st – Race 9 @ Laurel Park


A 1 for 18 lifetime low-level claimer Wire Funds proves that running on turf versus dirt can be like night and day. This one was first time on grass (for $10,500 tag) while stepping up from the $5k claiming ranks on dirt, failing to have hit the board in his previous 5 outings. After winning this one, he came back to win his next 3 on the lawn against $12.5k Claimers, $25k Claimers and $43k Allowance company.


  8. Mr. Diz Stakes – April 7th– Race 10 @ Pimlico

Reigning MD Horse of the Year Ben’s Cat rallies to take 3rd consecutive Mr. Diz Stakes.



  7. Near Triple Dead Heat – March 16th – Race 7 @ Laurel Park

After racing 7 furlongs, no measurement could separate Milwaukee Chief and Artic Raven, while Let Me Be Frank settled for SHOW money a mere whisker behind those two. 



. Ladys Legend for the Cure – May 18th– Race 4 @ Pimlico

Class Rules may have won easily but it was 59-year-old Jennifer Small in who was in the irons, and the other retired female jockeys who made the 3rd annual People’s Pink Party a memorable $40k Allowance NW1X race.


5. Rapid Redux notches #22 – January 4th – Race 6 @ Laurel Park

This $5,000 Starter Allowance would be the 6-year-old geldings final race. Retired with a record 22 race win streak intact, he won a total of 28 races from 42 career starts.


4. Frank J. DeFrancis Dash – October 27th – Race 9 @ Laurel Park


Action Andy rallies in deep stretch to catch Il Vilano at the wire. What really hurts is that I had Il Vilano. How many times is the cameraman wrong when showing the winner on the gallop out in a tight photo?!  

3. Pimlico Special – May 18th– Race 12 @ Pimlico

Alternation puts in a game performance as he gets the better end of the head bob versus Nehro. Watch the slow motion replay at the wire. Nehro actually catches and gets ahead of Alternation 5 feet before the wire. Once again, guess who had Nehro at 6-1?!
The next day I had Steve Asmussen (Nehro’s trainer) crying on my shoulder saying, “How in the hell did he not win that race?!” 

. Double Dead Heat – October 8th – Race 7 @ Laurel Park 

Truly a horse racing rarity, as Rockaby Bay and Masterel hit the wire simultaneously for the WIN while just a neck behind Elkhorn Creek and Colonel Bill could not be separated for the SHOW purse, in this $25k Optional Claiming event.

1. 137th Preakness Stakes – May 19th– Race 12 @ Pimlico

I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister, Round 2. If this stretch run doesn’t give you goose bumps, then you must not be breathing.

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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, I’ve 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 don’t claim to be the best… just the most passionate and one that won’t 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 handicapper’s opinions, I’m ACCOUNTABLE. That is, good or bad, you’ll 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 “GQ’s 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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