Offspring of Not For Love dominated the 24th Maryland Million Day at Laurel Park, with four victories on the 12-race program, increasing his Maryland Million wins to 20, two shy of longtime leader Allen’s Prospect.
The sire of at least two winners on every Maryland Million card since 2002, Not For Love had his biggest year with Target Sighted (Turf), Talkin About Love (Ladies), Love That Dance (Oaks) and Take Down Two (Sprint Starter Handicap). Not For Love missed one when Cuba, winner of the previous year’s Classic, was upset in attempting a repeat as former claimer Sumacha’hot, a son of Mojave Moon who had been cross-entered in the Starter Handicap, easily defeated the defending champion.
In other Maryland Million news, in response to dwindling Maryland-sired foal crops, the Maryland Million program was eliminating foal nominations, starting with the 2009 foals, who would automatically become Maryland Million certified if their sire was fully nominated to the program.
- Tarry Bratton’s Ghost Ridge Farms in Felton, Pa., landed Jump Start to stand for the 2010 season. With more than $4 million in progeny earnings in 2009, the 10-year-old son of A.P. Indy who began his stud career at his birthplace, Overbrook Farm in Kentucky, six years earlier, jumped to the top of the Pennsylvania sires list and ranked second in the Mid-Atlantic region behind Not For Love. Jump Start was the sire of 18 stakes winners from his first four crops, five graded, including 2009 Hollywood Gold Cup-G1 winner Rail Trip. Northview Stallion Station acquired controlling interest in Jump Start in 2011 and stood him at Northview PA in Peach Bottom from 2012 until his death this year. The leading Mid-Atlantic sire for three consecutive years from 2015-17, Jump Start has led or was runner-up on the Pennsylvania sire list nine times since 2009. The sire of 71 stakes winners and earners of nearly $67 million lifetime, he ranks as the region’s leading sire of 2019 through early November.
- Despite a rain-soaked evening, fans endured to witness Mark Russell’s dazzling 3-year-old Russell Road score by 8 lengths in the West Virginia Breeders Classic at Charles Town. Bred by Robert H. Lloyd, the James W. Casey trainee added a ninth stakes win to his resume from 14 starts.
- Confucius Say was officially retired to his birthplace, the Funkhouser family’s O’Sullivan Farms in Charles Town, at age 11. A son of the late O’Sullivan stallion Eastover Court, the two-time West Virginia Breeders Classic winner (2001, 2002) won or placed in 20 stakes, and made nearly half of his 42 starts after a 31⁄2-year absence due to a tendon injury. “We went one year, then we went two years, then we went three years and we had people laughing at us,” Funkhouser said. “Then we brought him back when he was 7 years old and people said, ‘Aw, he’ll never do anything.’ He did pretty well when he was back.” His earnings were just shy of $1 million, but the result of the 2007 West Virginia Breeders Classic was still in the courts, as winner Eastern Delite had come back positive for caffeine; Funkhouser believed the results would come out in runner up Confucius Say’s favor. They did. Confucius Say was awarded the victory, which pushed his earnings to $1,037,555.
- After stints in flat racing and over hurdles, 8-year-old Maryland-bred Seeyouattheevent gave owner and Great Meadow founder Nick Arundel a second International Gold Cup timber stakes score to go along with his 2007 win. “This horse has been through a lot over the years, so for him to come back and win this race, two years after winning it, is really special,” said Arundel. “He’s been in the family a long time and I’m extremely proud of him and the job everyone did getting him ready.”