2019 Maryland Million Classic Cheat Sheet

Racing
Admirals War Chest pulled away to win the 2016 Maryland Million Classic by 3 ½ lengths under Tyler Hole. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Saturday’s $150,000 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 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. Three also-eligibles are entered but will only draw into the race if there are four or more scratches out of the original field. Whether you are interested in making a couple of bucks on the race or just want to know a little bit about this year’s runners, we’ve got you covered with our 2019 Maryland Million Cheat Sheet.

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club

1. Saratoga Bob (9-2)

Jockey: Jevian Toledo

Trainer: Katherine Voss

Owners: Wayne Harrison, Robert Manfuso, and Katherine Voss

Career record: 16 starts – 4 wins – 3 seconds – 4 thirds

Career earnings: $231,832

Earnings per start: $14,490

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 100

Pedigree: Friesan Fire – Lucky Dance, by Kafwain

Color: Bay

Age: 5

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This gelding won last year’s Maryland Million Classic by a hard-fought half-length over Dothat Dance and Clubman, but he has failed to reach the winner’s circle in his most recent four races and overall has only won once in five starts this year. In his Million Classic win last year with Edgar Prado in the irons, he pressed the pace and edged away from longshot Dothat Dance, who is also back for this year’s renewal. Since then, however, Saratoga Bob has reverted back to his usual closing style, and it will be interesting to see whether jockey Jevian Toledo stays with that strategy in a field full of stalkers and closers or urges his mount to a more prominent early position.

Bet Saratoga Bob in the Maryland Million Classic Stakes.


2. Legend’s Hope (30-1)

Jockey: Weston Hamilton

Trainer: Edward Maher

Owner: Edward Maher

Career record: 42 starts – 4 wins – 5 seconds – 4 thirds

Career earnings: $152,538

Earnings per start: $3,632

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 91

Pedigree: Not For Love – Lunar’s Legend, by Polish Numbers

Color: Chestnut

Age: 6

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This gelding finished eighth, beaten 18 ¼ lengths, in the 2017 Maryland Million Classic but improved somewhat and finished sixth, defeated by 5 ¾ lengths at 33.90-1 odds, in last year’s renewal. He’s also lost his most recent two starts by a combined 25 ½ lengths, one of those coming on turf. If you’re looking for positives, he did post a gate-to-wire, 6 ½-length win three starts back in a one-mile claiming race at Laurel, departing from his usual stalking style and earning his career-best Equibase Speed Figure. But he’ll deservedly be one of the longest shots contesting a competitive Maryland Million Classic on Saturday.

Bet Legend's Hope in the Maryland Million Classic Stakes.


Joe Labozzetta/EQUI-Photo

3. Prendimi (8-1)

Jockey: Jorge Vargas Jr.

Trainer: Luis Carvajal Jr.

Owner: G. J. Stable

Career record: 17 starts – 4 wins – 5 seconds – 3 thirds

Career earnings: $213,770

Earnings per start: $12,575

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 98

Pedigree: Dance With Ravens – Cigno d’Oro, by Tour d’Or

Color: Dark bay or brown

Age: 4

Running style: Press the pace/stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This gelding will be making his first career start at Laurel Park on Saturday after racing primarily at Monmouth Park and Tampa Bay Downs throughout his career. He has won twice so far in 2019 in seven starts, taking a six-furlong handicap at Monmouth back in May before being moved from second to first after another six-furlong handicap at Monmouth in June when the winner was disqualified. Prendimi has also shown some ability when racing a mile or longer, posting a good runner-up effort in his most recent start, a Sept. 22 one-mile and 70-yard allowance/optional claiming race at Monmouth. If he takes to Laurel’s main track, he has a good shot of hitting the board in the Classic.

Bet Prendimi in the Maryland Million Classic Stakes.


Coady Photography

4. Clubman (2-1)

Jockey: Julian Pimentel

Trainer: Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon

Owners: Caonabo Stable

Career record: 33 starts – 9 wins – 4 seconds – 4 thirds

Career earnings: $390,077

Earnings per start: $11,821

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 109

Pedigree: Not For Love – Otherwise Perfect, by Lemon Drop Kid

Color: Bay

Age: 5

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The morning-line favorite among the confirmed 11 Maryland Million Classic starters enters off of a disappointing fourth-place finish behind also-eligible Cordmaker in the Sept. 28 DTHA Governors Day Handicap at Delaware Park … but prior to that put forth one of the best performances of his career in the Maryland Coalition Stakes on Aug. 24 at Timonium. In that 6 ½-furlong race, he settled behind horses before making a sustained move for the lead entering the turn, and Clubman then drew away to win by 9 ½ lengths. Clubman also came within a half-length of Cordmaker in a seven-furlong stakes at Laurel back in June, and won three races impressively earlier this year. If he can summon the form he showed in those races, he’s got a good chance to reach the winner’s circle in the Maryland Million Classic after finishing third last year and fourth in 2017. Jockey Julian Pimentel, who rode Clubman to victory at Timonium, gets the mount Saturday; he is currently fifth in wins and fourth in earnings at Laurel through Oct. 16.

Bet Clubman in the Maryland Million Classic Stakes.


Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club

5. Crouchelli (20-1)

Jockey: Taylor Hole

Trainer: Robert Vukelic

Owner: Robert Vukelic

Career record: 21 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 3 thirds

Career earnings: $102,384

Earnings per start: $4,875

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 92

Pedigree: Outflanker – Likeunotloveu, by Not For Love

Color: Dark bay or brown

Age: 4

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: On the positive side, this gelding has plenty of experience racing at Laurel Park, and both of his wins have come on its main track in two-turn races, including his first start of 2019. But he’s struggled since that start, finishing sixth, fifth, seventh, and then fourth four times in a row heading into the Million Classic. He should be one of the longest shots on Saturday and will need a very swift pace to set up his rally and give him a (remote) chance to hit the board. Jockey Taylor Hole won back-to-back Maryland Million Classics in 2015 and 2016 on Admiral’s War Chest; he was aboard Crouchelli last year for a fifth-place finish.

Bet Crouchelli in the Maryland Million Classic Stakes.


Dottie Miller

6. Tattooed (15-1)

Jockey: Angel Cruz

Trainer: Timothy Keefe

Owners: Kenneth Holt, Theodore Montuori, and Palumbo Racing Stable

Career record: 19 starts – 4 wins – 5 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $171,249

Earnings per start: $9,013

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 98

Pedigree: Etched – Tough Talkin Lady, by Oratory

Color: Dark bay or brown

Age: 4

Running style: Press the pace/stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Last year, this gelding broke poorly and never threatened in the Million Classic, finishing last of 10. He’s done much better since then, winning twice at Laurel in one-mile allowance races and also finishing second four times. His most recent two starts – a fourth-place finish at Delaware Park and a well-beaten seventh-place finish behind Top Line Growth at Laurel on Sept. 27 – have been subpar, but if he can recover his early-season form, Tattooed could be an intriguing longshot in Saturday’s race since he usually gives a good effort in his starts. Trainer Timothy Keefe has won three runnings of the Maryland Millions Classic, all with state-bred star Eighttofasttocatch (2011, 2013, 2014).

Bet Tattooed in the Maryland Million Classic Stakes.


Dottie Miller

7. Forest Fire (6-1)

Jockey: Paco Lopez

Trainer: John Servis

Owner: Shirley Lojeski

Career record: 12 starts – 6 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $186,990

Earnings per start: $15,583

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 99

Pedigree: Friesan Fire – Majestic Forestry, by Forestry

Color: Dark bay or brown

Age: 4

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: If his morning-line odds of 6-1 hold up by the time the starting gate opens on Saturday, Forest Fire could very well hold the best betting value in the Maryland Million Classic. He enters off of two game wins in two-turn races at Parx Racing, where he dueled for the lead and outfought his foes to score by a neck both times. Although he’s spent most of his racing career at John Servis’ home base of Parx, Forest Fire does have two races on Laurel’s main track under his belt from earlier in his career, as he won a one-mile allowance/optional claiming race in February 2018 and then lost the one-mile and 70-yard Private Terms Stakes by three quarters of a length in a gritty effort. His Equibase Speed Figures are a bit light compared with the other leading contenders in the Million Classic and he lacks stakes experience, but his forwardly placed running style is a big asset, and so is his jockey as Paco Lopez is one of the best pace riders in the business.

Bet Forest Fire in the Maryland Million Classic Stakes.


8. Tappin Cat (10-1)

Jockey: Jorge Ruiz

Trainer: Gary Capuano

Owners: Non Stop Stable

Career record: 9 starts – 3 wins – 4 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $99,837

Earnings per start: $11,093

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 101

Pedigree: Tritap – Elusory, by Broken Vow

Color: Bay

Age: 3

Running style: Press the pace/stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This 3-year-old gelding enters the Maryland Million Classic off of his career-best race, a one-length win in a six-furlong starter allowance at Delaware Park Oct. 3. He profiles as an intriguing longshot in the Million if he can successfully extend his ability out to a two-turn distance. In his only career start beyond three-quarters of a mile, he ran second by eight lengths to Million Classic foe Top Line Growth in a one-mile race on June 8 at Laurel. At the very least, Tappin Cat has a good shot to add value to exacta and trifecta tickets, considering his current form. Jorge Ruiz, third in earnings and tied for third in wins at Laurel’s current meet through Oct. 16, picks up the mount.

Bet Tappin Cat in the Maryland Million Classic Stakes.


Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club

9. Trifor Gold (15-1)

Jockey: Daniel Centeno

Trainer: Mark Shurman

Owner: Copper Penny Stables

Career record: 12 starts – 1 win – 3 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $89,219

Earnings per start: $7,435

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 91

Pedigree: Tritap – Gold Scammer, by Gold Tribute

Color: Bay

Age: 3

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This locally-based gelding should be among the early leaders in the Maryland Million Classic, but he has had trouble finishing his races ever since winning his career debut back in November 2018 at Laurel. He was ambitiously placed early in his career after that score, facing off against the likes of Alwaysmining and King for a Day a few times without success. In his more recent races, he’s shown signs of renewed competitiveness, finishing third in a six-furlong allowance at Laurel in early September and then second by 1 ¾ lengths to Million Classic foe Torch of Truth after failing to hold on to the early lead. He’ll have to step up his game substantially to reach the winner’s circle for the second time in his career Saturday.

Bet Trifor Gold in the Maryland Million Classic Stakes.


Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club

10. Dothat Dance (20-1)

Jockey: Horacio Karamanos

Trainer: Ferris Allen

Owner: Burning Daylight Farms

Career record: 45 starts – 4 wins – 7 seconds – 8 thirds

Career earnings: $246,553

Earnings per start: $5,479

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 102

Pedigree: Louis Quatorze – Guess the Dance, by Austin Powers

Color: Bay

Age: 6

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The runner-up in last year’s Maryland Million Classic returns to dirt for Saturday’s renewal after making his nine most recent starts on turf. He’s primarily been a grass horse for his lengthy career, making 29 of 45 starts there and posting three of his four career wins on turf. Last year’s Million Classic was the second start in a six-race string of dirt races, and it was his best effort by far on that surface. His only win since returning to turf came back in May at Pimlico, where he took a 1 1/16-mile starter/optional claiming race by 2 ¼ lengths on a yielding turf course. Distance should not be a problem for this long-winded type, and his best races going back through his past performances give him a shot at hitting the board at long odds, much as he did last year at 35.70-1. But he’s a definite outsider as a win candidate.

Bet Dothat Dance in the Maryland Million Classic Stakes.


Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club

11. Torch of Truth (6-1)

Jockey: Trevor McCarthy

Trainer: Jamie Ness

Owner: Joseph Besecker

Career record: 10 starts – 2 wins – 4 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $87,099

Earnings per start: $8,710

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 102

Pedigree: Not For Love – Amber Comet, by Amerrico’s Bullet

Color: Chestnut

Age: 4

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Along with Forest Fire, this gelding has the most upside in the Million Classic field when compared with most of the other, veteran runners. He enters the race in good form, winning a one-mile allowance race at Delaware Park by 1 ¾ lengths and then losing by a half-length (as the 3-5 favorite) in an about 1 1/16-mile Laurel allowance on Oct. 6. The quick turnaround for Saturday’s race is a positive, and another plus in his corner is retaining Trevor McCarthy, who was aboard Torch of Truth in the two abovementioned starts and currently is the leading jockey at Laurel Park’s meet by both wins and earnings. Look for McCarthy to move his mount toward the rail from his outside post in the starting gate as soon as possible in order to save ground and work out a good, stalking trip through the far turn.

Bet Torch of Truth in the Maryland Million Classic Stakes.


Eclipse Sportswire

12. Cordmaker (1st also-eligible, 7-5)

Jockey: Victor Carrasco

Trainer: Rodney Jenkins

Owner: Hillwood Stable

Career record: 17 starts – 8 wins – 2 seconds – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $424,890

Earnings per start: $24,994

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 110

Pedigree: Curlin – Tanca, by Polish Numbers

Color: Chestnut

Age: 4

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This gelding would be a logical favorite in Saturday’s Maryland Million Classic if he were to draw in, which is unlikely to happen as four Maryland-bred and Maryland-sired horses in the original field of 11 would have to be scratched first. He’s a three-time stakes winner sired by the mighty Curlin and nearly won the Grade 3 Pimlico Special Stakes earlier this year with a late rush, only to finish third by a half-length to Tenfold.

Bet Cordmaker in the Maryland Million Classic Stakes.


Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club

13. Top Line Growth (2nd also-eligible, 5-2)

Jockey: TBA

Trainer: Kelly Rubley

Owner: The Elkstone Group

Career record: 7 starts – 4 wins – 0 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $284,498

Earnings per start: $40,643

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 106

Pedigree: Tapizar – Orinoquia, by Whywhywhy

Color: Bay

Age: 3

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Similar to Cordmaker, Top Line Growth is a standout compared with most of the 11 horses safely entered in the Maryland Million Classic, but a lot of defections would have to occur for him to make the starting gate. He was elevated to first in the Iowa Derby back in July after finishing second by a head and also ran competitively in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx Sept. 2, finishing third. Even more impressive, this gelded son of Tapizar set a new Laurel Park track record for one mile on dirt (1:34.07) back on June 8, romping by eight lengths in an allowance race.

Bet Top Line Growth in the Maryland Million Classic Stakes.


Taylor Ejdys/EQUI-Photo

14. Bonus Points (3rd also-eligible, 5-2)

Jockey: Julian Pimentel

Trainer: Michael Trombetta

Owner: Three Diamonds Farm

Career record: 28 starts – 6 wins – 5 seconds – 6 thirds

Career earnings: $555,334

Earnings per start: $19,833

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 107

Pedigree: Majestic Warrior – Baby Love, by Not For Love

Color: Bay

Age: 5

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: It’s doubtful that this veteran gelding will make the field in the Million Classic, but if he does he is worthy of consideration as an exacta or trifecta filler. Since winning the 1 1/8-mile John Campbell Stakes at Laurel back in February, he’s gone off form, finishing third twice in his four subsequent starts. He’s got some serious back class, however, hitting the board in two Grade 3 Kentucky Derby preps in 2017 and also winning that fall’s Maryland Million Classic by 2 ¾ lengths for then-trainer Todd Pletcher in one of his career-best efforts.

Bet Bonus Points in the Maryland Million Classic Stakes.

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