Maryland Million draws 281 pre-entries
A bevy of defending champions and local stars headline the pre-entries for the 38th Jim McKay Maryland Million, which will take place at Laurel Park on Oct. 14.
Among the defending champions are last year’s Classic winner Ournationonparade (Cal Nation), who is pre-entered for a repeat bid. Bred by John E. Williamson III, this 6-year-old gelding has won once this year from seven starts while finishing stakes-placed three times. He became the first horse to win both the Nursery (2019) and the Classic last year, and will try to become the sixth horse to win back-to-back editions of the Classic, joining TImely Warning (1990-91), Algar (1997-98), Docent (2002-03), Eighttofastocatch (2011, 2013-14), and Admirals War Chest (2015-16).
Ournationonparade is one of 21 Classic pre-entries, eight of whom are Maryland-bred but not Maryland-sired. Maryland-bred horses may participate in a Maryland Million race if less than eight Maryland Million-eligible horses are entered.
Other notable Maryland-sired Classic pre-entries include Double Crown (Bourbon Courage), who won the Polynesian Stakes at Pimlico on Sept. 10 and has earned more than $738,000 in his career, and Tappin Cat (Tritap), who finished third in the 2019 Classic and second in 2021.
Last year’s Maryland Million Distaff winner and the reigning Maryland-bred Horse of the Year, Fille d’Esprit (Great Notion), highlights 23 pre-entries in the $100,000 Distaff, 18 of whom are Maryland-sired. The Sweet Spirits Stables LLC-bred 7-year-old mare looks to face a tough field. Potential rivals including Luna Belle (Great Notion), a two-time Maryland-bred champion and 2021 Maryland Million Lassie winner, Malibu Beauty (Buffum), second to Fille d’Esprit in last year’s Distaff, Malibu Moonshine (Bourbon Courage), last year’s Lassie winner and Response Time (Mosler), who won the Timonium Distaff on Aug. 26 at Timonium. Malibu Beauty is also pre-entered in the Classic and the Ladies.
The top two finishers in the Sept. 16 Ben’s Cat Stakes at Pimlico are pre-entered for the $100,000 Turf Sprint: Witty (Great Notion), a half-brother to top turf sprinter Caravel and Sky’s Not Falling (Seville (GER)), who won the Turf Sprint last year. Grateful Bred (Great Notion), the 2021 Turf Sprint champion, is also among 29 total pre-entries (23 Maryland-sired)
The top three finishers in last year’s $125,000 Turf are pre-entered for this year’s renewal: defending champion Wicked Prankster (Mosler), second-place Street Copper (Street Maigican) and third-place Crabs N Beer (Blofeld). They’re among 26 pre-entries (17 Maryland-sired) for this year’s edition of the 1 1/8-mile contest.
Coconut Cake (Bandbox), the winner of last year’s $100,000 Ladies, is pre-entered for a title defense. She’ll try to become the sixth horse to win multiple editions of the Ladies, joining Countus In (1989-91), Mz. Zill Bear (1993-95), Hail Hillary (2003-04), Monster Sleeping (2013-15) and My Sistersledge (2017-18). 17 others (11 other Maryland-sired) have also pre-entered the Ladies.
The $100,000 Sprint, going six furlongs on dirt, drew 26 pre-entries, 17 of whom are Maryland-sired. Last year’s Nursery winner, Johnyz From Albany (Blofeld), is pre-entered both here and in the Turf Sprint. Other Sprint pre-entries include Coastal Mission (Great Notion), who won the Russell Road Stakes at Charles Town Aug. 25 and Twisted Ride (Great Notion), a three-time stakes winner this year who is also graded-stakes placed on the season.
26 2-year-olds each were pre-entered in the $100,000 Lassie and the $100,000 Nursery. Both races feature 22 Maryland-sired pre-entries. Just Great (Great Notion), a perfect 2-for-2 at Delaware Park and stakes-placed Remember Me (Imagining) headline the Lassie, while recent sharp maiden winners Blame the Tux (Holy Boss), Catahoula Moon (Golden Lad) and Full Proof (Bourbon Courage) may loom largest in the Nursery field.
The Maryland Million action is rounded out by four starter races: the Turf Distaff Starter Handicap and the Turf Starter Handicap, each worth $50,000, and the Starter Handicap and the Distaff Starter Handicap, worth $40,000 apiece.
A complete list of pre-entries for each race is available on MarylandMillion.com.
Final entries will be taken and drawn on Sunday, Oct. 8.
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