Horse racing

TED BLACK

TOWSON — Voting will end today for the state-bred division champions and horse of the year. Ballots were distributed online Jan. 15 by the Maryland Horse Breeders Association.

Among the nominees are numerous Kent County products.

The top Maryland owner, trainer, jockey, breeder, broodmare and stallion, as well as the champion Maryland-breds of 2019, will be acknowledged at the third annual Maryland Renaissance Awards in February.

The Renaissance Awards were created to recognize the best of Maryland racing and breeding from the previous year and are a cooperative effort between the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Maryland Jockey Club. 

There were no local products among the candidates for champion Maryland-bred 2-year-old filly, 3-year-old filly, older filly or mare, and champion turf runner.

Among the noms in the juvenile colt category is Monday Morning Qb, bred by the Bowman & Higgins Stable, who capped his freshman season by taking the $100,000 Heft Stakes at Laurel Park.

Monday Morning Qb is slated to compete next in the Grade III, $200,000 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct, an early prep for the Kentucky Derby.

Stranger Danger, bred by Charles and Cynthia McGinnes of Thornmar Farm near Chestertown, is a nominee in the 3-year-old male division. He won six of eight starts and captured a pair of Grade I events in Jamaica, though his earnings on the year when translated to United States currency barely exceeded $50,000.

Stranger Danger could get some support in a division where Preakness Stakes participant Alwaysmining is the solid favorite, but his two Grade I triumphs in Jamaica may not hold much weight among the voting block altogether.

There are two local products in the older male division. Clubman and Pete's Power Play (McGinneses) will get some consideration, although multiple stakes winner Cordmaker looms the favorite for this title.

Clubman was bred by veterinarian Tom Bowman, wife Chris Bowman and daughters Quin Bowman and Rebecca Davis — all of Chestertown’s Dance Forth Farm.

Clubman, Pete's Power Play and Monday Morning Qb also are among the candidates for champion sprinter.

While every horse in each division is a candidate for Maryland-bred horse of the year for 2019, Sharing is the odds-on favorite. She won three of four starts and earned more than $750,000, capping the campaign with a victory in the Grade I, $1 million Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita last fall.

Sharing is the only Maryland-bred that is a finalist for the Eclipse Award's champion 2-year-old filly.

It seems likely she will be the Maryland Racing Media Association's Maryland-based Horse of the Year.

* * *

QUEENS, N.Y. — Still Having Fun, the champion Maryland-bred sprinter and 3-year-old male of 2018, ventured north to Aqueduct on Saturday for the Grade III, $150,000 Toboggan Stakes.

Amid the snowy conditions at the Big A, Still Having Fun led the field down the backside and through the far turn. The McGinnes-bred then weakened in the lane and faded to fifth as Mind Control prevailed narrowly as the even-money choice over Nicodemus and Sunny Ridge while getting the seven furlongs in 1 minute, 24.23 seconds.

Still Having Fun earned $6,000 for the journey and now sports a 5-3-2 slate and $543,000 banked from 18 career tries.

One race earlier on the Laurel card Saturday, Clubman rallied from well off the pace to finish third in the $75,000 Jennings Stakes. 

Alwaysmining prevailed as the 1-5 choice by getting the one-turn mile in 1:37.75.

Clubman closed willingly in the lane and now owns a pair of third-place finishes from two starts in 2020 after running third in the $35,000 Mint Mission Stakes at Charles Town one week earlier.

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