Saturday’s $150,000 dollar Maryland Million Classic is the centerpiece of what is annually one of the most anticipated and cherished days of racing on the historic Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred racing circuit.
The 1 1/8-mile race, first held in 1986, closes out Maryland Million Day at Laurel Park, where $1 million dollars in purses is distributed to horses in 11 stakes races restricted to nominated horses sired by stallions standing in Maryland.
This year’s 34th Maryland Million Classic drew a field of 11, including last year’s Winner, SARATOGA BOB. Here then is brief look at the entrants:
1. SARATOGA BOB (9-2) Jockey: Jevian Toledo Trainer: Katherine Voss
Did Win this race last year pressing then dueling throughout but faces a tougher field this time around. Hasn’t moved forward off that effort and has run a very long campaign finally getting a break in June. Needs a race to get back into form.
2. LEGEND’S HOPE (30-1) Jockey: Weston Hamilton Trainer: Edward Maher
If he can clear the field and get on an easy, loose lead he can be very dangerous especially against much easier. Chances are he does not get that set up here and faces much, much tougher foes.
3. PRENDIMI (8-1) Jockey: Jorge Vargas Jr. Trainer:Luis Carvajal Jr.
This 4 yr-old gelding comes into this race in good form. Has raced every month this year going back to March. He is being asked to take on more ground, but a repeat of any of his best efforts puts him right in the Win mix.
4. CLUBMAN (2-1) Jockey: Julian Pimentel Trainer: Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon
Finished 3rd in this race last year and is likely to finish about that again this year. This gelding is best going one turn. 1 1/8th miles going 2 turns is maybe just out of his Win zone. Will close for a piece but fade for the Win spot.
5. CROUCHELLI (20-1)Jockey: Taylor Hole Trainer: Robert Vukelic
Closed for a 5th place finish in the 2018 running of this race as one of the favorites. An outsider this year.
6. TATTOOED (15-1) Jockey: Angel Cruz Trainer: Timothy Keefe
Finished in the back half of the field in this race last year. Has raced a lot since then and his efforts in early 2019 were quite good but in coming off a 4 month layoff, that form just hasn’t been there.
7. FOREST FIRE (6-1) Jockey: Paco Lopez Trainer: John Servis
This gelding makes just his 5th start in 2019 and projects to move forward off those two Wins at Parx. This colt is 2 for 2 in the Exacta on the Laurel Park surface. Will face somewhat easier here and should have plenty left in the tank.
8. TAPPIN CAT (10-1) Jockey: Jorge Ruiz Trainer: Gary Capuano
This 3 year-old has more upside than most in here as he continues to climb forward in his form cycle. He has missed the Trifecta just once in 9 starts and his lone route race was quite good. Going 1 1/8 miles will not pose a problem.
9. TRIFOR GOLD (15-1) Jockey: Daniel Centano Trainer: Mark Shurman
This 3 year-old and the veteran, will need the lone lead to secure a Win, but that set-up just won’t happen Saturday. This gelding faces tougher here and will take them as far as he can before yielding late.
10. DOTHAT DANCE (20-1) Jockey: Horacio Karamanos Trainer: Ferris Allen
Shocked a few people with a 2nd place finish in this race last year at odds of 35-1. Could do it again here but does have new connections. That last race was much better than it looks.
11. TORCH OF TRUTH (6-1) Jockey: Trevor McCarthy Trainer: Jamie Ness
Almost had two Wins in a row but hung in his last race as the extra 16th of a mile appeared to be too much. Looks best when traveling up to a mile. Has been very consistent not missing the Superfecta in 10 lifetime starts- against easier competition.
Summary: As is the case with most state-bred races across the country, anything can happen, especially underneath the Winner.
The strategy of the Daily Racing Blog in any race that seems wide open is to beat the Morning Line favorite, and this contest offers great Value in regard to betting against CLUBMAN.
The Play: We will play a Trifecta Key using the #7 and 8 on top of the 1-3-4-11. So the ticket should read: 7-8 with 1-3-4-7-8-11 with 1-3-4-7-8-11. We’ll also do a four horse Exacta Box with the 3-4-7-8, and Win bet on the 7 and 8.
Best of luck no matter how you play it.