HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Although the Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia tracks have been shuttered amid the COVID-19 pandemic, horses bred in Kent County have continued to perform well at several of the few remaining ovals that have been conducting live racing although no patrons are permitted to attend those venues.
At Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, on April 2, Pete's Play Call lived up to his billing as the 8-5 favorite in a six-furlong event for $40,000 claimers when he wrestled command from two rivals down the backside, edged clear on the far turn and then drew clear in the lane to a four-length score in 1 minute, 9.48 seconds.
The 7-year-old Munnings gelding was bred by Charles and Cynthia McGinnes of Thornmar Farm near Chestertown.
Pete's Play Call, trained by Michael Maker, recorded his first win in four starts this year.
The McGinnes-bred now owns a 10-7-6 slate and nearly $440,000 banked from 37 career outings.
Pete's Play Call began his career on the West Coast and hardly did so with any lasting impression. He did not win either of his two starts at age two in 2015 and he recorded only one victory in 11 outings the following year, a maiden claiming event at Santa Anita Park in California.
But instead of being mired in complete obscurity, Pete's Play Call turned around his career the following season.
At age four in 2017 the McGinnes-bred won three times and finished second three times in seven outings, earning nearly $135,000 along the way. He captured a starter allowance event at Santa Anita on Jan. 27, traveled across the country to take an allowance event at Belmont Park in New York on May 6 and then defeated claimers on Aug. 18 at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York.
Pete's Play Call was equally good in 2018 when he won three times from eight tries and earned just over $120,000. He won a starter allowance event at Oaklawn Park on March 8, then notched his lone tally in Maryland five months later when he won an allowance affair at Laurel Park on Aug. 18, and then traveled north to win an allowance/optional claiming event at Aqueduct on Nov. 21.
Last year, Pete's Play Call had another productive campaign, winning twice in five starts and more than $100,000, and capped the season with his first career stakes score.
In the summer of 2019 he captured another allowance/optional claiming event at Saratoga. Five months later, he prevailed in the $100,000 Bonapaw Stakes at the Fair Grounds in Louisiana. It was his first stakes score and earned him a spot among the list of nominees for champion Maryland-bred sprinter of 2019.