(Edited Maryland Million release)
At a Sept. 18 news conference, officials of the Maryland Million announced the event has been officially designated as Jim McKay Maryland Million, which was approved by the Maryland General Assembly during the 2009 legislative session.
McKay, the Hall of Fame broadcaster, originally proposed the Maryland Million concept and remained chairman of the board until his death on June 7, 2008. The newly minted Jim McKay Maryland Million, a program for the offspring of Maryland-based stallions, will take place at Laurel Park on Saturday, Sept. 26. Delegate Sandy Rosenberg spearheaded the effort to honor McKay. Rosenberg and Mary McManus Guba, McKay’s daughter, attended the news conference.
"My father was an extremely shy man. For him to come up with this idea and then to go out and pitch it and sell it was an extraordinary thing for him to do," Guba said. "I know that he is looking down right now and going ‘Gee, they named it after me’."
Maryland Million officials also announced they will donate the net proceeds from supporting events to a number of Maryland organizations that work to rehabilitate and re-home Thoroughbred race horses after they retire. Officials from Leighton Farm, Unicorn Center Inc. and Encore Thoroughbreds were present at Sept. 18 announcement. In addition, Maryland Million Ltd. will contribute to the Baltimore City Mounted Police Unit, which has been threatened with elimination because of budget problems.
The Laurel Park racing office announced that a total of 186 pre-entries (167 horses as 19 were cross-entered) to the 12 races which comprise the 2009 Jim McKay Maryland Million.