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The Maryland Million never disappoints. Every year, since its founding in 1986, the state’s signature day of Thoroughbred racing – sorry Preakness – delivers something. There can be poignancy, magic, a few tears, redemption, rookie success, long-overdue wins and everything in between.

scenicw_various_102018_020.jpg(Photographs by Lydia A. Williams, Allison Janezic and Mark Moody)

 The 2018 version, run at Laurel Park Oct. 20, proved to be a worthy successor. Crabcakes won for the second consecutive year, leading other repeat winners My Sistersledge and Talk Show Man. Jockey Edgar Prado won a record-breaking 18th Million race. Trainer Jeff Runco collected his first. Longtime Maryland breeders and Maryland Million supporters Bob Manfuso and Katy Voss won their first Classic. And Laurel continued its resurgence from the cobwebs of old, showcasing a new sportsbook room, additional box seating, an extended Maryland Million village of hospitality tents and even a music festival in the parking lot. The result was a day of racing with 22,000 fans and wagering handle of $5.704 million (less import), the highest since 2007.

The best performances, fittingly, came on the racetrack.

A ‘Classic’ Horse

Trainer Katy Voss watched Saratoga Bob cling to the lead at the top of the stretch of the 11⁄8-mile Classic – and wondered if the tall, long-striding son of Friesan Fire could hang on as challengers arrived on all sides.

“Any minute he looked like he could get beat,” the trainer said. “His sprint numbers are better and he’s not that good a work horse by himself. I didn’t know if he could make it [the distance], but he’s never had a bad race.”

And he didn’t have one in the Classic either, as Prado kept Saratoga Bob in front to win by a half-length over Dothat Dance after 1:51.28. Clubman, who took a slight lead late, was three-quarters of a length back in third. Bred by Voss and partner Manfuso, the Classic winner is out of their mare Lucky Dance. The daughter of Kafwain won three races, all at Laurel, and has produced four winners. Saratoga Bob has work to do to match his half-brother, 12-time winner No More Excuses, but is catching up. 

r11w_saratogabob_102018_025A.jpgSaratoga Bob (Friesan Fire) and new Maryland Million jockey leader Edgar Prado get away from the field in the Maryland Million Classic

In the Classic, the 4-year-old sat just off Pal Cal early, took the lead after a half-mile in :49.09 and prevailed while between horses late. The win was his third of the year, and a long way from a scary heat-stroke episode in August.

“I’m just glad it was 60 degrees today,” co-owner Wayne Harrison said, after his horse had left the winner’s circle and been hosed down before heading back to the barn. After the race in August, Voss sent the bay gelding to the farm for 10 days while looking at the Million and the weather. 

“There were no races for him, but I knew the Find [Stakes, for Maryland-breds, at Laurel Sept. 29] was coming, so I just pointed for it,” she said. “I knew it wouldn’t run on the grass and it was a lot tougher race than this. So having that race under his belt, that put him where he needed to be.”

The 51-year-old Prado, who won his first Maryland Million race in 1992, got the ride because of a long relationship with Harrison, Voss and Manfuso.

“We’ve wanted to use him on our horses, but even though he’s based here, he travels a lot,” Voss said. “He came back from Florida and it worked out. Though Edgar is older, he is still a very, very good rider. Put a horse under him and you can count on him to get the job done.”

Prado improved to 3-for-6 on the horse, winless for other jockeys.

“The first time I rode him I liked him and I thought he was a good horse,” said the Hall of Famer of a 4-length maiden win in April. “Today he settled nice and he listened to me. I thought the horses were going to swallow me up (in the stretch), but he dug in. The horse is getting better and better.”

The win broke a tie with Ramon Dominguez at the top of the Maryland Million leaderboard, and extended a long relationship between the jockey and the state. A native of Peru, Prado rode in Florida and New England before coming to Maryland in 1989 and truly launching his career. He led the country with 536 wins in 1997 and ultimately moved to New York, won an Eclipse Award, gained Hall of Fame induction and became the eighth jockey to pass 7,000 North American wins. Based in Maryland again, he rides fewer races but is a sought-after veteran.

“Every time you win a race it’s important, it’s an achievement, it’s a plus for your career,” he said. “If it was easy, everybody would do it and there would be no meaning to it. The Maryland Million was a very big deal when I rode here before and it’s still important. Coming back here and trying to pass Ramon – he’s a great rider, it’s not an easy thing to do – is pretty special.”

While Voss and Prado answered the serious racing questions, Manfuso and Harrison were almost giddy with victory.

“You never expect to win a race like this,” said Manfuso, for whom the horse is named. “Well, it’s pretty special. Especially since Wayne and I are so close and have known each other for 20 years.”

r11w_saratogabob_wincircle_102018_024.jpgThe Stronach Group’s Belinda Stronach (second from right) presents the owner’s trophy to Bob Manfuso (right) and Wayne Harrison (center with Prado), as co-owner/trainer Katy Voss (second from left) accepts the trainer’s trophy.

The two men met at Pimlico Race Course, in a bar “flipping quarters,” if you believe Manfuso, or in a bar at Laurel by way of a mix-up over the word pharmacist, if you believe Harrison.

“I knew Marty, the bartender, and he wanted to know whose turn it was to buy,” Harrison said. “Then he asked Bob if he knew me and he told me Bob was a pharmacist. I needed a prescription filled and I asked him if he could fill it. What he was, was in the pharmaceutical business. So I said, ‘Well, are you going to fill it or not?’ And we’ve been friends ever since.”

Harrison, who owns a Rockville, Md., roofing and sheet-metal company, once fixed a roof for Manfuso and Voss at their Chanceland Farm in West Friendship, Md. They’ve been partners on horses before, but at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic yearling sale in 2015, Manfuso noticed his friend was bidding on a horse from the Chanceland consignment. Harrison landed the colt for $13,000, and hadn’t even made it to the Baltimore Beltway before his phone rang.

“You know you’re going to sell me 25 percent of that horse,” Manfuso said. “I let you buy it.”

“Absolutely,” Harrison replied and they were partners.

When it came time for a name, there was only one choice.

“He’s always at Saratoga and he walks his dog every day,” Harrison said. “I thought what better name than Saratoga Bob.”

Two for Crabcakes

Crabcakes is a 4-year-old daughter of Great Notion, now owned by Wayne and Susie Chatfield-Taylor, of Morgan’s Ford Farm in Front Royal, Va. But make no mistake – Crabcakes is all-Maryland, born and bred at Buckingham Farm near Chestertown on the Eastern Shore and named for one of the state’s favorite foods.


“There may not be a dry eye in the place,” said Wayne Chatfield-Taylor after Crabcakes won her second consecutive Maryland Million race in the Distaff. “Everyone feels good about this filly. It’s so wonderful. So wonderful. We’re so lucky to have this filly.”

The Chatfield-Taylors inherited Crab­cakes and 19 other horses owned and bred by Susie’s best friend Binnie Houghton, who passed away about a year ago. Houghton and her husband Eddie told the Chatfield-Taylors for 15 years that they would inherit the horses. But they couldn’t have imagined this.

Sent off at 2-5, Crabcakes turned aside challenges throughout the 7 furlongs and denied a late run from multiple stakes winner My Magician by a half-length at the finish. The victory pushed the dark bay’s record to nine wins, four seconds and a third from 15 starts. She’s earned $418,532.

After running nine times last year, Crabcakes got a late start to 2018 – winning an allowance at Laurel in July and placing second in the Jameela Stakes on the turf at Laurel in August. A month before Million Day, she blitzed four foes in an allowance at her home base of Penn National in a tune-up for her autumn target.

“They wrote that for me, and I begged them to let that race go,” said her trainer Bernie Houghton, Binnie’s nephew. “She came into this good and she was really good today. She’s bigger and stronger than she was [as a 2-year-old], but she’s kind of the same she’s always been too.”

Jockey Forest Boyce, aboard for the ninth consecutive time (six wins), paid credit to her mount’s gameness.

“She was not going to let that horse go by without a fight,” she said. “She was getting a little tired because they were pressing her the whole way and she’s just so game. You can feel her getting tired and when that horse came she just hit another gear.”

 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic’s Paget Bennett (center) presents the Distaff bowl to Crabcakes’ owners Wayne and Susie Chatfield-Tayloralong with (second left) Betsy Houghton (trainer Bernie Houghton’s mother) and jockey Forest Boyce.
Susie Chatfield-Taylor leaves all the decisions to Bernie Houghton.

“My job,” she says, “is just to love her. We also have her mother [Aunt Elaine] and her full-brother on our farm.” 

Actually, it’s a 50-year story of friendship; a lifetime of love and trust.

When Susie was in high school, she met Binnie, who was about 10 years older, already married, the mother of two and running a farm. They became “great friends” as Susie worked on the farm, exercising and riding horses.

“We did a lot of stuff together before I married my husband, and afterward, too,” Susie said. “And when we got married, they had a fire engine we borrowed to go to the courthouse in Chestertown for our wedding. It was Halloween.”

“You can’t make this stuff up,” said Wayne. “We will be married for 41 years in a week or so.” 

Brother act in the Nursery

Trainer Marya Montoya called the colt she sent out for the $100,000 Nursery “very green” and admitted “he’s just figuring it out.”

If that’s the case, the son of Bandbox named Follow the Dog may have graduated from finishing school in the 6-furlong stakes for 2-year-olds. He broke well, rated four-wide of the leader and had the others – well – following.

r6m_followthedog_102018_007A.jpgFollow the Dog and jockey Julian Pimentel  show the way in the stretch of the Nursery, giving first-year sire Bandbox his first stakes winner.

“He has a lot of talent,” said owner David Wright. “I was simply in awe.”

For any number of reasons. 

First, the performance. He won by 31⁄4 lengths. Second, Follow the Dog is a half-brother to the 2017 Nursery winner Clever Mind – giving broodmare Two’s Cozy a unique double. Third, Wright named the gray colt in honor of his terrier, Waldorf, who died this year.

“It’s a sentimental story,” said Wright, whose silks and stable name also pay tribute to Waldorf. “Everyone told us what a nice horse he was, so I gave him his name, Follow the Dog, because that’s what he was doing. He was following my dog and I thought a lot of him. I don’t have any children, so I am spending what would have been that college education money on the horses. I had already registered the name before I got this horse.”

Bred in Maryland by Sycamore Hall Thoroughbreds, Follow the Dog was purchased for Wright by Virginia horseman Woodberry Payne for $40,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic yearling sale in 2017.

Wright paid credit to the horsemanship of three people – Payne, Montoya and Sycamore Hall’s David Wade.

“I like gray horses and I saw Bandbox had some horses in that sale,” the owner said. “I think there were 13 of them. Wood­berry looked at all of them. You know, he doesn’t say much so when he said, ‘This is the one,’ I listened. He said he was the total package. That’s what’s written on my catalog page. He took the horse to his place, got the Virginia certification on him and got him ready for Marya.”

Follow the Dog finished second in his debut at Laurel in August, won by disqualification at Parx Sept 14, and was fourth at Parx (while earning an “erratic” chart comment) three weeks before the Million card. Montoya added blinkers for the Nursery, and the move paid off.

“With Follow the Dog, focus is an issue,” the trainer said. “We knew he needed blinkers, but I wanted to give him a few races without them so he could get the feel of what it was like in a race on the track.”

Putting on a show, again

Talk Show Man walked into the paddock for the Laurel Dash Stakes in September and spoke up – without making a sound. The 8-year-old hadn’t run since December and was 29-1 in the 6-furlong turf sprint, but looked like a young Muhammad Ali stepping through the ropes for a sparring session – fit, sleek, ready, on a mission.

Mike Harrison’s homebred finished fourth but emerged even fitter, sleeker and readier for his real target – the 1-mile Maryland Million Turf, a race he won in 2014. Sent off as the 3-1 second choice behind 2015 and 2016 winner Phlash Phelps in a field of nine, Talk Show Man rated in mid-pack early for Jevian Toledo before launching a sustained bid five wide off the turn. He caught Phlash Phelps inside the final sixteenth and won by a half-length. Both are sons of leading Maryland sire Great Notion, who had three winners on the day.

Harrison, watching from the benches on the clubhouse apron, cheered like a bettor with a big ticket on the line.

“At this point in his life, I knew he was good, I knew he was sharp, I’ve seen his works and I believe in him but you still don’t know until the race comes,” said the owner. “I know what Phlash Phelps is about too. He’s a good horse too, and there are some other nice horses in there too. We just hoped he’d put in the kind of run that he has in himself and he did. He’s incredible.”

r10w_talkshowman_102018_009A.jpgA Great Notion exacta: Talk Show Man (2) powers past Phlash Phelps in the Turf.

The win completed another comeback for Talk Show Man. In 2014, one start after winning the Turf, he was bumped hard and fell in a race on the dirt but returned to win his first two starts in 2015. He lost his next six starts, missed the 2016 season entirely and returned in April 2017. He won just once last year, but was good enough to be third [beaten a head] in the Turf. He finished last year with two subpar efforts, however. Harrison, a veterinarian, and Smith ordered some tests at New Bolton Center.

“We were thinking it was his back because he had that terrible fall,” said Harrison. “They said no, after working it up with scintigraphy and some blocks they said it was maladaptive repetitive stress syndrome. It means bone bruising from hard work and the bones are not remodeling the right way and the only solution to that is time off and rest.”

Harrison bases his veterinary practice at his family’s Willowdale Farm in Butler, Md., the perfect place for a break. Talk Show Man knows the place well, and might as well have Harrison as his last name.

“One-hundred percent, he’s a member of the family,” said Erin Harrison, the owner’s daughter who works in the vet practice. “We were there the night he was born and he is a special, special horse and very much loved by everyone on the farm. He’s a big puppy dog on the farm, but he’s all business when he’s at the racetrack. He really knows is job. You go and visit him after and if he’s not done a good race he knows it and he’s like, ‘Don’t look at me, don’t talk to me, I want to be in the back of the stall’ but if he’s won he’s strutting around the barn and all proud of himself and wants all the attention we can give him.”

Produced from the Haymaker mare Mark Me Special, Talk Show Man will be pretty proud of his 2018 Turf win. The win was his eighth in 36 starts and he stacked his career earnings to $453,306 with the $68,750 payday. 

“He’s just been a fine horse,” Smith said. “He’s run some bad races, naturally, but he’s a good horse around the barn, easy to train and just a good horse to have.”

The win was Smith’s eighth in the Maryland Million program, the third most all-time (along with four others) behind Dale Capuano’s 11 and King T. Leatherbury’s 10.

“We’re trying to make it as good as we can make it,” the trainer said of the program. “And the breeding program is one of the best things we have going for us. And the farms, and everything else. I have a couple broodmares of my own that I breed here in the state. It’s good for us and everybody else here.”

My Sistersledge repeats in Ladies

My Sistersledge (second from right), a daughter of Etched,digs in late to repeat
in the Ladies, much to the delight of owners/breeders John and Cheri Banner.

Last year, winning a Maryland Million race was new for John and Cheri Banner. This time around, in the same race with the same horse, it might have been better.


“Oh, it’s cooler definitely,” said Cheri, co-owner and breeder of Ladies winner My Sistersledge with her husband John. “Last year we hoped and we dreamed, but we were kind of in awe of being here. I’ve been thinking about it since last year – keeping her going, keeping her on target. There’s so many people that John and I are so grateful to it’s amazing.”

Banner pointed out Mike Trombetta, jockey Julian Pimentel, Florida trainer Johnny Collins for the early work, Bill Boniface for getting their mare Blushing Bride to his Bonita Farm stallion Etched and David Schwartz for being a mentor of sorts. Years ago on something of a whim, John Banner went to a sale at Calder Race Course, met Schwartz (a Thoroughbred owner who bred Breeders’ Cup Distaff-G1 winner Unbridled Elaine, the dam of Etched). 

The racing roots go back to John’s trips to Monmouth Park with his father, also named John. The challenge was to hit an exacta or trifecta without spending more than $4 on a ticket. John’s first job was at a Monmouth concession stand. Cheri always wanted a horse as a child but never got one. Now, she and her husband are owners and breeders of a two-time Maryland Million winner.

My Sistersledge started 2018 with two losses at Gulfstream Park, but got back to winning at Laurel from Trombetta’s base at Fair Hill Training Center in April. She scored again in July and was third in the Jameela in August. Looking for a prep for the Million, Trombetta aimed for a tough three-other-than allowance at Laurel Oct. 6. Rain sent the race to the dirt, a surface she’d tried just once before, but Trombetta stayed in and got lucky. She went to the front and won for fun while collecting $34,827.

“We had a choice after it was rained off the grass, we could run on dirt or scratch,” he said. “If I scratched her, I’d have to breeze her again, so I used the race, basically, as a vehicle to get to today. I’m glad we ran. The main track that day was perfect. I just couldn’t justify scratching her and working. I ran her and surprise, she was good enough to win.”

The 4-year-old filly was even better in the Ladies, catching pace-setting longshot My Vixen late to prevail by a neck with Magician’s Vanity third. My Sistersledge won for the sixth time in 20 starts and pushed her earnings to $315,355. She’s won half her eight starts (with a second and three thirds) on Laurel’s turf course. The Banners sent her to Trombetta in 2017, after seven starts at Gulfstream.

“I looked her up, the first thing that came to mind when I saw her was, ‘This is a Maryland Million horse,’ ” said the trainer. “She’s been a good girl, yep. She’s exceeded all our expectations. She keeps getting it done. Those kinds of horses, as you know, are few and far between.”

Runco gets his Million

With 13 consecutive 100-win seasons and more than 4,000 lifetime victories, trainer Jeff Runco has done plenty in racing. But until 2018, he’d never won a Maryland Million race. Lewisfield changed that – in a big way – with a laugher in the Sprint. The son of Great Notion let Greatbullsoffire have the first fraction of :21.70 for a quarter-mile, then took over through a half in :44.27 and 5 furlongs in :56.28 while increasing the advantage on six rivals. Alone at the wire, Lewisfield won by 83⁄4 lengths in 1:09.08 as the 1-5 favorite for Runco, owner/breeder Linda Zang and jockey Jevian Toledo.

Lewisfield ended a five-race losing streak (three in graded company, one by disqualification and a few with rough trips) while winning for the sixth time in 13 starts. The 4-year-old gelding, who gave away 8-16 pounds to the field, got everything right this time.

Near the finish of an easy Sprint win, Lewisfield (Great Notion) gets a pat from Jevian Toledo.

“He wants to lay close under a hold like a lot of horses and once he got a good trip and got to sit against the bit he can do that,” said Runco. “He can throw those kind of fractions down and finish up in 1:09. With these sprints, you’ve got to get a good trip. They’re all tough races and they’re all good horses. I expected him to run well but you never know until they get in the gate.”

At “about 17 hands,” Lewisfield towers over former jockey Runco and most horses. Size is only part of the package, however.

“He’s not a pet,” Runco said. “He wants to train, he wants to eat and he wants to get groomed and taken care of but he’s not one you’re going to go pet because he’ll definitely bite your arm off. He’s got an orange cone in front of his stall, put it that way. I think that attitude helps him on the racetrack. He’s tough.”

Based at Charles Town, Runco paid credit to exercise rider Colton Gustines for keeping Lewisfield on the straight and narrow in the mornings.

“He’s just quick on his feet, a very athletic horse and a tough horse to ride,” said the trainer. “Colton does a great job.”

r5w_lewisfield_wincircle_102018_013.jpgOwner/breeder Linda Zang (third from right) accepts Waterford crystal from Anchor and Hope Farm’s Grace Merryman, with Jeff Runco (second right) receiving the trainer’s trophy from Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Lewisfield placed in the Maryland Sprint Stakes-G3 at Pimlico in May, and was fourth behind top sprinters Limousine Liberal and Whitmore in the Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes-G2 in July. Runco hopes to take another shot at the big time with his stable star.

“He’s got a graded win in his future, it just has to go right,” he said. “Those graded races, there’s five horses like him in every race. I still say he’s going to get a graded stakes in his career. If he throws one of those down like today that will serve him well.”

Gonzalez wins a pair

Claudio Gonzalez got his first trainer’s license in New Jersey, but shortly thereafter won his first race in Maryland. Now, he says, the state is home.

Which is what made Maryland Million Day so special for the Laurel meet-leading trainer, when Hashtag Selfie won the Distaff Starter Handicap and My Star Potential won the Lassie.

Hashtag Selfie

“Everything I have now is here at Laurel,” said Gonzalez, who has 40 horses on-site. “[These are] big races to win for me. This is where I stable all my horses and this is the big day in Maryland racing.”

Hashtag Selfie, a dark bay 4-year-old daughter of Medallist, was winless before coming to Gonzalez two years ago. Now, she’s won eight times. My Star Potential, in her first year of racing, has won twice in three starts.

Lassie winner My Star Potential (top), a daughter of the late Tritap

Asked his secret, Gonzalez smiled.

“Ah, that’s my magic,” he said. “But the key to today’s races is to break well. There are too many horses in the races today, so you have to break well. If you don’t do that, it’s over.”

Gonzalez and owner Robert Bone claimed Hashtag Selfie from her breeder Mike Harrison and trainer Hammy Smith for $25,000 in June 2017. She won her first start for the new connections, for $16,000, a month later. She won once more last year and improved to 6-for-12 in the Maryland Million opener.

In the Lassie, Euro Stable’s My Star Potential led a stallion superfecta as the first four finishers are daughters of Tritap, who stood at Heritage Stallions for two seasons before he died in 2016.

Following the advice of Gonzalez, owner Valter Ramos spent $50,000 to buy My Star Potential at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale in May. Bred in Maryland by Cary Frommer, the gray filly won her debut at Timonium in September and finished second in a Parx allowance before the stakes win. 

For Ramos, who owns a construction firm, the win (and a second with My Magician in the Distaff) made for a fun day.

“I love horses and dogs,” he said. “I love them. It’s fun, I come here in the morning and watch the horses train and relax. I don’t like to go to bars and things like that. I come here, see the horses, relax and then I go to work. This is big, big, biiiiiggg, big, big. It’s a dream. I have a winner and a second on the Maryland Million Day. I never thought that would happen.”

A real ‘Escape’ artist

When Unbridled Escape, a 5-year-old mare by Unbridled Mate, ran off and left her field of challengers far behind in the Turf Distaff Starter Handicap, it didn’t surprise her owner/breeder Karen Clark.

r2m_unbridledescape_102018_012A.jpgNamed for an eventful foaling night, Unbridled Escape shows the way early in the Turf Distaff Starter.

She was thrilled, but found it fitting, as her horse arrived in the winner’s circle, an 11-1 longshot, after a 10-length win in the day’s second race. It wasn’t the first time she’d run away.

“When she was born, she was born a little early to a mare that was having her first foal and [the mare] had her under the fence, so she was born on the other side of the fence [from her mother],” said Clark with a smile. “She got up and wandered off. We found her the next morning out in the wheat field. So we called her Unbridled Escape, because she had wandered off and escaped the paddock.”

Clark lives on a farm outside of Chestertown on the Eastern Shore, where she has four Thoroughbreds.

“It’s really a grain farm,” Clark said. “The farm doesn’t have a name. We’re just grain farmers. We’re just rural people, not big Thoroughbred people. We have a grain farm we take care of and I do this because I enjoy it and it’s my hobby.”

Clark loves to spend her time searching for pairings for her mares. Looking for a mate for Precious Tax, she saw the Nicks rating, which suggests how a stallion’s line will mesh with that of a broodmare sire.

“We liked Unbridled Mate,” Clark said of the Unbridled stallion then standing at Royal Wux Farm in Chestertown. “We nicked him and got a triple A Nicks score. We saw the potential for the stallion we wanted with the mare [Precious Tax] we have. We said let’s go for it and see what we get. We took a chance and look what we’ve got. It doesn’t get much better than this.”

The day’s four starter handicaps were opened to Maryland Million-nominated runners and Maryland-breds, which got Unbridled Escape into the race since her sire was not Maryland Million-nominated at the time of the breeding. 

Unbridled Escape’s trainer Kelly Deiter, who has been training for Clark about eight years, says the gray was bred for grass, but that might have gone undetected by the betting crowd on Maryland Million Day.

“We haven’t had a lot of opportunities to run her on the turf,” Deiter said. “Races kept getting canceled or moved to the dirt. But we’ve taken advantage this year as much as possible.”

That lack of turf races, however, might have actually proven to be a good thing coming into the Maryland Million.

“She ran a mile at Delaware [Oct. 1], Clark said. “The race came off the turf and ran on the dirt and it set her up fitness-wise. And then, with a few little works in between – I mean, she’s just a wonderful horse. She’s a speed horse.

“Winning on Maryland Million Day is so exciting, you would not believe. The thrill of actually breeding your own horse, matching it up and seeing it on the track all the way through. It’s an unbelievable feeling.” 

T Sizzle tackles a win

When T Sizzle won the eighth, a 7-furlong Starter Handicap with a stretch rally, it set off a joyful celebration by owners/breeders Dr. Leonard and Patricia Pineau. The Pineaus own Triple Tree Stables, a 40-acre farm in Glyndon, Md., 20 acres of which are given over to broodmares and their babies.

“T Sizzle has been a very good horse,” said Leonard Pineau. And special to the whole family, as the Pineaus’ oldest daughter Jen had a big hand in naming the horse after Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs.

r8a_tsizzle_102018_020.jpgMaryland-bred T Sizzle (right) fights off Sebray late in the Starter Handicap.

“We were at Cafe Hon eating dinner one night and Suggs walked in,” said Patricia. “Our daughter asked if she could go ask him if he would mind if we named the horse T Sizzle after him. We told her to wait until he was done eating, and then she approached him and he was very nice and said we could use the name.”

When T Sizzle the horse won his first race they got word to T Sizzle the Raven and he posted it on the internet. 

Now trained by Mary Eppler, the Maryland-bred son of Pure Prize won for the fourth time in 39 starts. 

Work(s) pay off for Barin

Trainer Ann Merryman watched Barin one day at her Pimlico base and wasn’t happy.

“It just got screwed up and they didn’t quite do enough,” she said of the 4-year-old Maryland-bred gelding and a workmate. “He doesn’t breeze fast, he’s just not that kind of horse and I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to make you go again.’ ”

After a brief regrouping, Merryman’s set went to the starting gate, stood for a bit and worked again. The second one was better and combined the pair of 3-furlong moves must have done something because Barin upset the Maryland Million Turf Starter Handicap at 11⁄8 miles on the grass. Like the other starter races on the card, this one was open to Maryland-breds in addition to Maryland Million-eligible horses. The result was a big field, and a competitive finish.

r7a_barin_102018_009.jpgBarin (blue blinkers) shows the way late in the turf starter handicap for trainer Ann Merryman.

Sent off at 23-1, the son of Pioneerof the Nile rallied wide off the turn and outdueled Martini Kid to score by a neck for owners Richard Blue Jr. and Thomas Obrecht. 

Bred by Marathon Farms, the dark bay won for the second time in 25 starts. Barin made eight starts for his breeder and was claimed by his current connections for $16,000 in March 2017. 

Claimed to be a turf horse, Barin had struggled to get on the surface because of the weather. The grass, and the extended distance (and maybe that workout schedule) helped halt a seven-race losing streak.

“I’ve told everybody this horse wants to run all day and nobody would listen, but it looks like he will,” said Merryman. “It’s been such a terrible turf year we just figured that today they would stay on (the turf) because it was Maryland Million Day. He’s a cute horse. I’m happy for him.”

Race Results

Capital bank
Maryland Million Classic

$150,000-guaranteed, 3-year-olds and up, 11⁄8 miles, 1:51.28, track fast. 

SARATOGA BOB, 119, b.g., 4, Friesan Fire—Lucky Dance, by Kafwain. Owned by Wayne Harrison, Robert T. Manfuso and Katharine M. Voss; trained by Katharine M. Voss; bred by Robert T. Manfuso and Katharine M. Voss (Md.). $82,500.

Dothat Dance, 119, b.g., 5, Louis Quatorze—Guess the Dance, by Austin Powers (Ire). Owned by Richard Brooks Jr.; trained by Noah Abramson; bred by Chandley Farm LLC (Ky.). $30,000.

Clubman, 119, b.g., 4, Not For Love—Otherwise Perfect, by Lemon Drop Kid. Owned by Gladys Martinez; trained by Jonathan Maldonado; bred by Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Quin Bowman & Rebecca Davis (Md.). $15,000.

Margins—1⁄2, 3⁄4, 1. Others—Pal Cal 114 ($7,500), Crouchelli 114 ($4,500), Legend’s Hope 119 ($2,700), Legend’s Hope 119 ($2,700), Goodluckjohnathan 119 ($2,700), Flash McCaul 119 ($2,700), Admiral Blue 119 ($2,700), Tattooed 116 ($2,700). Winning jockey—Edgar Prado. Groom’s award—Lester Joseph (Dothat Dance).

Maryland Million Ladies

$125,000-guaranteed, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, 11⁄8 miles, turf, 1:55.74, course yielding. Weight: 119 pounds.

My Sistersledge, dk.b./br.f., 4, Etched—Blushing Bride, by Miesque’s Son. Owned by John and Cheryl Banner; trained by Michael J. Trombetta; bred by John Banner and Cheri Banner (Md.). $68,750. 

My Vixen, dk.b./br.m., 6, La Reine’s Terms—Intriguing Story, by Not For Love. Owned and bred by Mary Slade (Va.); trained by Gary Capuano. $25,000. 

Magician’s Vanity, dk.b./br.m., 6, Street Magician—So Vain, by Mr. Greeley. Owned and bred by R. Larry Johnson (Va.); trained by Michael J. Trombetta. $12,500.

Margins—neck, 13⁄4, 11⁄2. Others—Penitence ($6,250), Saint Main Event ($3,750), Love’s Legend ($2,500), Forgiving ($2,500), Complete St. ($2,500), Hot Friesia ($2,500). Winning jockey—Julian Pimentel. Groom’s award—David Gallegos (Complete St.).

John Deere
Maryland Million Turf

$125,000-guaranteed, 3-year-olds and up, 1 mile, turf, 1:38.64, course yielding.

TALK SHOW MAN, 119, b.g., 8, Great Notion—Mark Me Special, by Haymaker. Owned and bred by Michael J. Harrison DVM (Md.); trained by Hamilton Smith. $68,750.

Phlash Phelps, 119, b.g., 7, Great Notion—Love Me Twice, by Not For Love. Owned by Hillwood Stable LLC; trained by Rodney Jenkins; bred by Carol A. Kaye (Md.). $25,000.

Grandiflora, 119, dk.b./br.g., 7, Scipion—With Flora, by With Approval. Owned by Richard Blue Jr. et al; trained by Ann Merryman; bred by Richard Blue Jr. (Md.). $12,500.

Margins—1⁄2, 13⁄4, 11⁄4. Others—Willy d’Rocket 119 ($6,250), No Bull Addiction 119 ($3,750), Somekindofmagicin 119 ($2,500), Elementary 114 ($2,500), Daniel Le Deux 119 ($2,500), Love You Much 119 ($2,500). Winning jockey—Jevian Toledo. Groom’s award—Jose Aguirre (Talk Show Man).

Maryland Million Distaff Hcp.

$100,000-guaranteed, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, 7 furlongs, 1:22.85, track fast.

CRABCAKES, 123, dk.b./br.f., 4, Great Notion—Aunt Elaine, by Charismatic. Owned by Morgan’s Ford Farm; trained by T. Bernard Houghton; bred by Buckingham Farm (Md.). $55,000. 

My Magician, 118, b.m., 6, Street Magician—My Rib, by Partner’s Hero. Owned by Euro Stable; trained by Claudio Gonzalez; bred by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman and Brooke C. Bowman and R. Larry Johnson (Md.). $20,000.

Anna’s Bandit, 120, b.f., 4, Great Notion—Onearmedbandit, by No Armistice. Owned by No Guts No Glory Farm; trained and bred by John Robb (W.Va.). $10,000.

Margins—1⁄2, 21⁄2, 21⁄2. Others—Item 117 ($5,000), Wowwhatabrat 116 ($3,000), Up Hill Battle 116 ($2,000), Cee Bee Gee Bee 118 ($2,000). Winning jockey—Forest Boyce. Groom’s award—Gordon Turner (Up Hill Battle).

Bourbon Courage standing
 at Anchor & Hope Farm
Maryland Million Lassie

$100,000-guaranteed, 2-year-old fillies, 6 furlongs, 1:11.73, track fast. 

My Star Potential, 119, gr./ro.f., Tritap—Cheers Darling, by Cuvee. Owned by Euro Stable; trained by Claudio A. Gonzalez; bred by Cary Frommer (Md.). $55,000.

Belial, 119, gr./ro.f., Tritap—Perverse, by Distorted Humor. Owned by Lynch Racing LLC and Norah B Stable LLC; trained by Cathal Lynch; bred by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman and Dr. Brooke Bowman (Md.). $20,000.

Miss Philly Dilly, 114, gr./ro.f., Tritap—My Rib, by Partner’s Hero. Owned by Delancey Stable LLC and Angelinos Racing LLC; trained by Ben W. Perkins Jr.; bred by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman and Dr. Brooke Bowman (Md.). $10,000. 

Margins—11⁄2, neck, neck. Others—Knock Out Kid 119 ($5,000), Zig 114 ($3,000), Little Cat Gee 119 ($1,280), Who U Gonna Call 119 ($1,280), Barbsgray Lion 119 ($1,280), Better Yet 119 ($1,280), Knitted Gloves 119 ($1,280), Little Miss Raelyn 119 ($1,280), Yours to Keep 119 ($1,280). Winning jockey—Jomar Torres. Groom’s award—Eduardo Garcia Ramirez (My Star Potential).

Harford County
Maryland Million Nursery

$100,000-guaranteed, 2-year-olds, 6 fur­­­­­longs, 1:10.14, track fast. 

Follow the Dog, 122, gr./ro.c., Bandbox—Two’s Cozy, by Cozzene. Owned by Waldorf Racing Stables LLC; trained by Marya K. Montoya; bred by Sycamore Hall Thoroughbreds LLC (Md.). $55,000.

Sky Magician, 117, dk.b./br.g., Street Magician—Sky Copper, by Sky Mesa. Owned and bred by R. Larry Johnson (Md.); trained by Michael J. Trombetta. $20,000. 

Outofthepark, 117, dk.b./br.g., Bandbox—McCoughtry, by Purim,. Owned by Hillwood Stable LLC; trained by Rodney Jenkins; bred by William L.S. Landes. (Md.). $10,000.

Margins—31⁄4, neck, nose. Others—Lippi Lorenzo 122 ($5,000), Known Quantity 117 ($3,000), Tappin Cat 122 ($2,000), Scrap Copper 122 ($2,000), Hall Pass 122 ($2,000), He’s Not Curly 122 ($2,000). Winning jockey—Julian Pimentel. Groom’s award—Luis Mochoa (Sky Magician).

Imagining standing
at Anchor & Hope Farm Maryland Million Sprint

$100,000-guaranteed, 3-year-olds and up, 6 furlongs, 1:09.08, track fast.

Lewisfield, 126, b.g., 4, Great Notion—Smart Crowd, by Crowd Pleaser. Owned and bred by Linda L. Zang (Md.); trained by Jeff C. Runco. $56,770.

Greatbullsoffire, 116, b.c., 4, Bullsbay—Great Hostess, by Great Notion. Owned by Kathleen Willier; trained by Hamilton A. Smith; bred by Sycamore Hall Thoroughbreds LLC (Md.). $20,000.

Stolen Love, 118, ch.g., 8, Not For Love—Thief in Style, by Cat Thief. Owned and trained by by Edward Maher; bred by Classic Thoroughbred XII (Md.). $10,000.

Margins—83⁄4, 11⁄2, 1. Others—Onemoregreattime 115 ($5,000), No More Talk 117 ($3,000), Chinquapin 110 ($2,000), Rol Again Question 115 ($2,000). Winning jockey—Jevian Toledo. Groom’s award—Jose Aguirre (Greatbullsoffire).

Apple Ford Lincoln & Marama Farm Maryland Million/
MD-BRED Turf Distaff
Starter Handicap

$60,000-guaranteed, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, who had started for a claiming price of $11,000 or less since Oct. 22, 2017, 11⁄8 miles, turf, 1:55.41, course yielding.

Unbridled Escape, 118, b.m., 5, Unbridled Mate—Precious Tax, by Black Tie Affair (Ire). Owned and bred by Karen Clark (Md.); trained by Kelly L. Deiter. $33,000.

Capucine, 114, b.m., 5, Courageous Cat—Enter Stage Left, by Lucky Lionel,. Owned by Silhouette LLC; trained by Milan Milosevic; and bred by Edmund T. Mudge IV (Md.). $12,000. 

Eyerish Inspired, 116, gr./ro.m., 5, Paddy O’Prado—Kinlin, by Unbridled. Owned by Shirley Dullea; trained by William H. Wolfendale III; bred by Dark Hollow Farm (Md.). $6,000. 

Margins—10, 31⁄4, nose. Others—Miss Gray 114 ($3,000), Participate 122 ($1,800), Oh So Lovely 112 ($768), Running Tide 108 ($768), Bring Me Answers 120 ($768), Arbutus 110 ($768), Borino 114 ($768), Include a Check 120 ($768), Little Sister 115 ($768). Winning jockey—Jose Betancourt. Groom’s award—Howard “Tink” Throckmartin (Eyerish Inspired). 

Holy Boss standing at Anchor
& Hope Farm Maryland Million/MD-BRED Turf Starter Handicap

$60,000-guaranteed, 3-year-olds and up, who had started for a claiming price of $11,000 or less since Oct. 22, 2017, 11⁄8 miles, turf, 1:56.01, course yielding.

Barin, 113, dk.b./br.g., 4, Pioneerof the Nile—Barynya, by Broad Brush. Owned by Thomas Obrecht and Richard Blue Jr.; trained by Ann W. Merryman; bred by Marathon Farms Inc. (Md.). $33,000.

Martini Kid, 114, dk.b./br.g., 5, Lemon Drop Kid—Chic Corine, by Nureyev. Owned by Matson Racing Stable; trained by Michael M. Moore; bred by Barak Farm (Md.). $12,000. 

Redeemed Gentleman, 114, ch.g., 3, by Redeemed—Gentle Flow, by Gentlemen (Arg). Owned by Reality Horse Racing; trained by Anthony Aguirre; bred by Morgan’s Ford Farm (Md.). $6,000. 

Margins—neck, 1⁄2, neck. Others—Cannon’s Roar 115 ($3,000), Broad Expanse 112 ($1,800), Zen’s Land 120 ($900), No Knock Raid 122 ($900), Lon’s True Passion 112 ($900), Here’s to Mike 122 ($900), Publishanditerate 113 ($900), Senor Louie 120 ($900). Winning jockey—Jevian Toledo. Groom’s award—Jaime Salazar (Redeemed Gentleman). 

Alzheimer’s Association Maryland Million/MD-BRED Distaff Starter Handicap

$50,000-guaranteed, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, who had started for a claiming price of $7,500 or less since Oct. 22, 2017, 7 furlongs, 1:23.99, track fast.

Hashtag Selfie, 123, dk.b./br.f., 4, Medallist—Level With Me, by Rock Slide. Owned by Robert D. Bone; trained by Claudio A. Gonzalez; bred by Michael J. Harrison (Md.). $27,500.

Truly Hot, 117, b.f., 4, Pollard’s Vision—Wood Not, by Kissin Kris. Owned by Mary E. Eppler Racing Stable Inc. and Triple Tree Stable; trained by Mary E. Eppler; bred by Dr. and Mrs. A. Leonard Pineau (Md.). $10,000. 

Chobee Girl, 114, b.m., 5, Great Notion—Twointhelowglow, by Not For Love. Owned by Smart Angle LLP; trained by Mark J. Reid; bred by Jennifer Blomquist Johnson and Richard Alan Johnson (W.Va.). $5,000. 

Margins—13⁄4, 41⁄2, head. Others—Gimme Kimmy 114 ($2,500) Stormy Mama 116 ($1,500), Value Added 116 ($750), Include Gold 116 ($750), Nancy R 113 ($750), No More Excuses 120 ($750), Proud Maid Marian 116 ($750), Northern Prancer 113 ($750). Winning jockey—Carlos Carrasco. Groom’s award—Francisco Sanchez (Stormy Momma). 

Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey Maryland Million/MD-BRED
Starter Handicap

$50,000-guaranteed, 3-year-olds and up who had started for a claiming price of $7,500 or less since Oct. 22, 2017, 7 furlongs, 1:23.32, track fast.

T Sizzle, 117, b.g., 7, Pure Prize—Wood Not, by Kissin Kris. Owned by Triple Tree Stable; trained by Mary E. Eppler; bred by Dr. and Mrs. A. Leonard Pineau (Md.). $27,500.

Sebray, 115, ch.g., 5, by Sightseeing—Breezy Bray, by Yarrow Brae. Owned by Sue Mancilla and Margarita Orellana; trained by Carlos A. Mancilla; bred by William Harris (Md.). $10,000.

A True Gentleman, 110, dk.b./br.g., 4, by Bullsbay—Dara Gold, by Stop the Music. Owned by Wasabi Ventures Stables LLC; trained by Dorothy E. Worton; bred by Northview Stallion Station Inc. (Md.). $5,000.

Margins—neck, 21⁄2, 4. Others—Glory Hound 115 ($2,500), Visual Effect 117 ($1,500), Who Stole My Sock 110 ($500), Helloitsme 115 ($500), Daystrike 116 ($500), Sventastic 112 ($500), Worth His Salt 122 ($500), Be Back 112 ($500), Gamblin 124 ($500), The Iron Bank 112 ($500), Who Broke the Bank 117 (DNF). Win­ning jockey—Trevor McCarthy. Groom’s award—Gabriel Amaro (Daystrike).




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