American Sailor
A Great Time, winner of The Very One, is entered but probably will not run in the Turf Sprint. Photo by Allison Janezic.

When the entries were drawn for this Saturday’s 35th edition of the Maryland Million card at Laurel Park, trainer Michael Trombetta was among those local conditioners who could finally breathe a sigh of relief. The big day was really going to happen.

Trombetta officially has seven horses entered for the Maryland Million. Four likely will post, but he’ll probably sit one out, and two others that are the also-eligible list may not draw in. Still, Trombetta is grateful that the entire card would be able to take place amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think all of us are just happy that we’ll be able to run this Saturday,” Trombetta said. “I am not sure how many of my owners will be there, but I am sure Country Life Farm will have a number of people there. They rarely miss a day at the races and I know they’re not going to miss Maryland Million Day. We’re all just hoping to have a little luck and hope that our horses run their best and everyone gets around there safely.”

The trainer’s eight Maryland Million wins since the event returned to Laurel Park in 2005 are two more than any other conditioner has recorded. The eight wins also put him in a six-way tie for the third most wins of any trainer, three behind leader Dale Capuano.

Trombetta is eager to see if Miss Nondescript can add to that in the Maryland Million Lassie for two-year-old fillies at six furlongs on the main track. Miss Nondescript scored in her career debut at Monmouth Park in early September by edging American Bastet for a nose score in 58.15 for the five furlongs. The juvenile daughter of Mosler makes her stakes debut on Saturday for owner-breeder Barak Farm.

“It’s been a little while since she’s run, but I’ve had her a few weeks now and she’s looked good,” Trombetta said. “She ran a nice race in her debut when she was able to chase down that filly on the front end and just get her at the wire. I’m hoping that she runs well again this weekend.”

Trombetta’s two entries in the revived, $75,000 Maryland Million Turf Sprint at 5 ½ furlongs on the lawn, A Great Time and Street Copper, drew alongside one another in posts one and two. But the conditioner is looking at leaving the mare, who won The Very One Stakes at Pimlico earlier in the month, at home on Saturday.

Street Copper, a five-year-old Street Magician gelding owned and bred by R. Larry Johnson, will be making his first start since the 2019 Maryland Million Turf. He  sports a solid 3-3-2 slate and $140,000 banked from 18 career outings.

“I’m not going to run her, but I think Street Copper should be there,” Trombetta said. “[Street Copper] has been away a long time, but he’s been doing good. Of course, we won’t know until he runs this Saturday. We gave him plenty of time off and he seems to be doing okay coming into it. I thought he was training well and there are not many turf races left for him after this one so I wanted him to make this race.”

Then one race later in the Maryland Million Nursery, Trombetta will saddle Sky’s Not Falling, the freshman half-brother to Street Copper. The Seville gelding will make his sixth start at his sixth different track.

A winner at first asking on July 1 at Delaware Park, Sky’s Not Falling has been second once and third three times in four stakes tries since then at four different strips. He will make his Laurel Park debut on Saturday, marking the first time the Maryland-bred, Maryland-based runner has started in the Free State.

“He’s doing really good,” Trombetta said. “That last time out he ran well in that stakes up at Presque Isle, but I think he’ll be better back on the dirt. He’s run well each start so far, so I’m hopeful that he will run another good race on Saturday.”

Sky’s Not Falling is the tepid 3-1 morning line favorite in a bulky field of 13.

While Trombetta does not expect Never Enough Time to get in off the also eligible list for the Distaff, he is eager to see how well Let’s Play Nine will fare in the Sprint. A four-year-old Super Ninety Nine gelding bred by Barak Fark and owned by Country Life Farm, Let’s Play Nine has been idle seven months since winning an allowance on the dirt at Laurel. He’s won three of four in his career.

“He’s been off for a little while, but he’s been training good coming into this,” Trombetta said. “There really have not been a lot of spots for him to run since we started back, but I think he’s coming into this race really good. I’m just hoping to have a little luck this weekend and hoping they all run up their capabilities. It’s always a great day for Maryland racing, and it will be just as special this year even with everything that’s happened.”