Multiple graded stakes winners Duckhorn has arrived for stallion duty at Barbara Rickline's Xanthus Farms near Gettysburg, Pa.
Duckhorn, the overwhelming 6-5 morning line choice for Saturday's $200,000 Maryland Million Classic, will not start because of a quarter crack in his right front foot.
After early scratches 116 were entered Thursday for the 10 races on Maryland's Million Day at Old Hilltop.
A total of 124 offspring of Maryland stallions are entered to race Saturday in the 10 races of the Maryland Million at Pimlico Race Course, 26 more than were entered in 2001. Only one race failed to attract double-digit entries.
James Tafel's Unshaded put in his second consecutive work wearing blinkers Thursday at Churchill Downs as the Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner prepares for the June 15 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. Another likely Foster entrant, Hawthorne Gold Cup winner Hail The Chief, had his scheduled work pushed back due to the weather and Ben Ali winner Duckhorn is no longer under consideration for the 1 1/8-mile, $750,000 race.
Hail The Chief takes Gold Cup to complete huge week for trainer Niall O'Callaghan.
Michael Tabor's Duckhorn proved to be in his element on the wet track at Keeneland Sunday, taking the $103,984 Ben Ali Stakes by seven lengths over New Orleans Handicap winner Parade Leader.
Ground Storm caught pacesetter Duckhorn in the stretch, then pulled away to a two-length victory in Saturday's $109,200 Stymie Handicap (gr. III) on the inner-track at Aqueduct.
A full field of 14 horses, including the Gary and Mary West entry of Mongoose and Ubiquity, was drawn Wednesday for Saturday's $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park.
Morton Fink's Guided Tour tracked Duckhorn through the early going before reeling in the leader with just over a quarter-mile to run en route to winning Saturday's $400,000 Washington Park Handicap (gr. II) at Arlington Park.
Morton Fink's Guided Tour rallied in the stretch to upset 7-10 favorite Captain Steve in Saturday's $831,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. II).
The axiom "speed kills" holds true about every second race for Duckhorn. The other times he worries trainer Patrick Byrne half to death. Fortunately for Byrne and owner Michael Tabor, the "good" Duckhorn showed up for the $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) May 19. Of course, that was bad news for his half-dozen opponents, who spent a mile and a quarter watching the rear end of the roan 4-year-old colt.
The National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) was a puzzle just waiting to be assembled by Guided Tour at Sportsman's Park on April 22. The out-of-town star was supposed to ship in, overcome the challenge of invading speedster Duckhorn, add another $120,000 to his earnings, and leave everybody else in the field of five to cash their checks. Puzzle solved. All the pieces were in place -- until a stout-hearted Illinois-bred named Chicago Six scattered the preordained solution all over the drying-out racetrack.
From Gulfstream Park
It's the old versus the "now" as nine horses contest the $200,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap, the Grade 1 fixture that will have its 56th running on Saturday.
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