From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Michael R. Cox’s Classy Coco swept by her filly and mare rivals as she romped to victory in the $100,000 Maryland Million Distaff at Laurel Park.
Trevor McCarthy was at the controls as the 4-year-old won off by six lengths in 1:23.93 for the 7-furlong distance over the fast main track. Steady N Love came along late to take second over Jonesin for Jerry, who loomed a threat but gave way and finished third.
“I broke her sharp today. I knew there was going to be a lot of pace in there and made sure we were not too far out of it,” McCarthy said. “She said to me ‘come on, let’s sit back and settle a little bit’. She got herself together and around the turn she started inching up on her own. At the top of the lane she was home free. They were really moving early. I knew they were going to come back to me and we were going to catch up. I had no worries.”
The daughter of Not For Love becomes the 30th horse to win multiple Maryland Million races, winning the Lassie two years ago.
Bernie Houghton trains Classy Coco, who finished fourth in this race in 2013. She paid $5 as the betting favorite.
“She is a little finicky sometimes but we always thought she was a nice horse,” said Houghton, a former Maryland Jockey Club racing official. “I thought Trevor gave her an excellent ride. I told him to keep her out of the dirt and when she’s ready to go, let her go. I was happy with the fast fractions up front. It set up perfect for her. As she gets older, she likes to come off the pace.”
The victory was the first Maryland Million score for the 20-year-old rider, who tops the jockey standings at the current fall meeting with 33 trips to the winners’ circle.
“My grandparents are here. My grandmother is very proud of me,” added McCarthy. “She came down last year and she’s always betting. She said she’s going to stop betting on me because I give her too short a price.”
McCarthy and Houghton will team up later on the card with Rockin Jojo in the Lassie (race 8).