LAUREL PARK — The latest edition of Maryland Million Day was staged here Saturday on a picture-perfect fall afternoon. Nearly a dozen horses bred by farms in Kent County were seeking a share of the moderate fame and modest fortune that coincide with winning on the program that highlights the top progeny of stallions standing in the Free State.
The feature race was the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic for older runners traveling the one-mile and one-eighth distance once around the Laurel Park main track. The lone local product, Clubman, was the tepid 5-2 favorite from post four with Julian Pimentel in the irons. The 5-year-old Not For Love gelding trained by Rodolfo Sanchez-Solomon and bred by veterinarian Tom Bowman, wife Chris Bowman and daughters Quin Bowman and Rebecca Davis — all of Chestertown — had been third in the Classic one year earlier.
When the gates opened, Prendini, Forest Fire and Trifor Gold displayed the best early speed, while Clubman settled into sixth between horses as the leaders cruised through moderate early fractions of 24.2, 49.1 and 1:13.2.
Prendini and Forest Fire continued to move as a team on the far turn, while Trifor Gold backed out of it and Clubman continued to loom just behind the leaders between horses in fourth.
At the top of the lane, Forest Fire surged past Prendini to take a short lead and Clubman was just behind them in fourth while under serious urging. But as Forest Fire and Prendini battled to the wire, Clubman had little to offer in the lane and was passed by several rivals, settling for sixth in a disappointing effort.
Three races earlier in the $100,000 Maryland Million Lassie for 2-year-old fillies, Worstbestideaever (Jose Betancourt) overcame her 30-1 long shot status to rally from well off the pace to finish third. Favored Hello Beautiful (Sheldon Russell) drew clear in the lane to a three-length score in 1 minute, 10.33 seconds for the six furlongs — her second win in five starts and the first Maryland Million victory for trainer Brittany Russell.
Worstbestideaever, a juvenile daughter of Bourbon Courage trained by Lynn Ashby and bred by the Bowmans, has finished second once and third once in three winless outings to begin her career and tripled her lifetime earnings past $15,000. She should be able to garner her diploma against maiden special weight foes sometime in the near future.
One race earlier in the $125,000 Maryland Million Ladies at nine furlongs on the turf, Something Magical (Sheldon Russell) led through modest fractions through the first three calls. But the 4-year-old daughter of Street Magician bred by the Bowmans had nothing to offer in the lane as Zonda drew clear to a three-length score over two-time defending winner My Sistersledge.
In a $50,000 Maryland Million starter handicap for older males on the dirt, a pair of local products went in quest of the top prize. They were standing next to one another in the stall when the starting gate opened. Worth His Salt (Trevor McCarthy) was the solid 9-5 favorite at post time while Easy River (Alex Cintron) was a solid 7-1 shot.
Through much of the race, eventually won by 67-1 bomb Port Louis (Avery Whisman), Easy River and Worth His Salt were racing fourth and fifth, respectively. And that’s precisely where they finished.
Easy River, a 6-year-old Not For Love gelding trained by Scott Lake and bred by the Bowmans and Rebecca Davis, finished fourth in a good showing while being carried out in the lane by Crush It. Worth His Salt, a 5-year-old Roman Ruler gelding bred by Charles and Cynthia McGinnes of Chestertown, settled for fifth.
Easy River owns a 2-2-4 slate and just over $45,000 banked from 14 starts this year. He has a 5-5-10 slate and a $220,000 bankroll from 42 career outings.
Worth His Salt owns a 3-1-1 slate and nearly $78,000 banked from 12 starts this year and sports an 8-7-5 slate and nearly a $240,000 bankroll from 37 career tries.
In the finale of the 12-race Maryland Million program, Old Line Magic was sent out as a 24-1 shot as the one filly in a field of sophomore maiden special weight runners contesting one mile on the turf. Old Line Magic delivered a credible effort for trainer Dorothy Worton; the 3-year-old daughter of Street Magician bred by the Bowmans and R. Larry Johnson settled for sixth.
She has finished second three times and fourth once in six tries overall.