Christmas arrived early for Maryland’s racing community after an emergency meeting held by the Maryland Racing Commission resulted in approval of the Maryland Jockey Club’s plan for racing in 2011, which included 146 days of live racing. The meeting convened almost 24 hours after the commission had unanimously rejected the MJC’s revision of its initial plan presented to the MRC Nov. 29, where they proposed to conduct less than a “full year” (146 days) of live racing, which would have shut down racing in the state.
- Charles Town was set to host its first graded race in its 77-year history as the
$1 million Charles Town Classic was named a Grade 3 by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s American Graded Stakes Committee. Also upgraded in the region were the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes, to Grade 2, and Parx Racing’s Turf Monster, to Grade 3. Of note was the loss of the Pimlico Special’s Grade 1 status due to a two-year hiatus making it ineligible for grading.
- Webb Carroll Training Center in St. Matthews, S.C., had a fantastic roster of graduates, with a program that turned out the likes of Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner War Emblem, major winners Offlee Wild, Tale of the Cat and Old Fashioned, along with stars such as top filly Havre de Grace (who would be named Horse of the Year by year’s end) and Payton d’Oro. With third-generation Thoroughbred horseman Webb Carroll at the helm for 25 years, the business attracted clients large and small, including George Strawbridge Jr., Lazy Lane Farm, Dan Ryan, Bayard Sharp, Sonny Hine and Richard Golden.
In October 2016, Carroll’s assistant Travis Durr purchased the training center from his boss.
- Tony Dutrow ranked as the leading Mid-Atlantic-based trainer by money-earned in 2010 (with $6,365,868), and ninth on the national list of leading trainers, and his remarkable 29 percent win ratio was the highest of any trainer among the top 50. Along with collecting his 1,500th career victory, Dutrow’s horses won a total of 19 stakes, eight graded, including Saratoga’s Grade 1 Ballerina with Rightly So.
- Hall of Fame trainer Mackenzie “Mack” Miller, who gained his greatest success with the late Paul Mellon’s Rokeby Farm in Virginia, died at age 89. Launching his career with horses after serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, Miller gained national prominence as private trainer for Charles Engelhard, developing grass champions Assagai and *Hawaii, as well as major winners Halo, Mr. Leader and Tentam.
Hired by Mellon in 1977, Miller was involved in all phases of Rokeby Farm, and saddled Virginia-bred Sea Hero to win the 1993 Kentucky Derby-G1 and Travers Stakes-G1. In all, he trained 72 stakes winners, including 1987 Travers and Whitney Stakes-G1 winner Java Gold, champions Leallah and *Snow Knight and top handicap horses Winter’s Tale and Fit to Fight.
Miller retired from training 1995, when the Rokeby racing stock was dispersed.