Not Abroad and his jockey, Nick Petro, took advantage of an opening along the rail and won the $142,500 Maryland Million Classic Stakes Oct. 6 at Laurel Park. Not Abroad charged through the gaping hole in the far turn and then drew away, taking the 1 1/8-mile race by four lengths (VIDEO).
The Classic was one of 11 races on the Jim McKay Maryland Million card for runners sired by Maryland-based stallions. Purses totaled just over a million dollars. The 27th annual event drew a crowd of 18,420 fans.
Earlier on the card, Ben's Cat became the fourth horse to win a Maryland Million race three consecutive years with his victory in the $101,000 Turf Sprint (VIDEO). The odds-on favorite defeated Heros Reward by three-quarters of a length. A 6-year-old gelded son of Parker's Storm, Ben's Cat covered 5 1/2 furlongs on a firm course in 1:01.64.
Earlier runners with Maryland Million "three-peats" were Hall of Famer and Eclipse Award winner Safely Kept (Distaff, 1989-91), Countus In (Ladies, 1989-91), and Mz. Zill Bear (1993-95).
Trained by Petro's brother, Michael, Not Abroad is owned by Tim Cunningham and is a son of Not For Love and the Broad Brush mare Timely Broad. His Classic triumph was his eighth win in 33 career races. The 5-year-old horse finished second in the 2010 Classic and third in the 2011 edition of the race.
Not Abroad has career earnings of $606,515 and has won four added-momey events. He came into this year's Classic off of a runner-up finish in the Sept. 8 Carl Hanford Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park.
"I was happy with his performance," said Nick Petro following this years' Classic. "Real early we got stuck on the inside and I wasn't happy with my spot. But we got closer and closer, and everything worked out. We figured there would be a few horses outside of us with speed, so we went in thinking, 'Sit.' We did and it worked out great when it was time to go. He was good, real good."
Not Abroad broke next-to-last in the six-horse field at the start and ran in fourth early before edging closer. The third betting choice, he turned in a winning time of 1:51.06 over a fast track.
Bowman & Higgins Stable and Thomas Sutton & Huckleberry Farm bred Not Abroad in Maryland.
Other Maryland Million card winners included Classy Coco in the $97,000 Lassie Stakes (VIDEO), Motherload Hipster in the $49,500 Distaff Starter Handicap (VIDEO), Pagan Priestess in the $99,000 Ladies Stakes (VIDEO), and Bold Affair in the $95,000 Distaff Handicap (VIDEO).
Additional winners were Jazzy Idea in the $99,000 Oaks (VIDEO), Keep Momma Happy in the $102,000 Nursery Stakes (VIDEO), Action Andy in the $95,000 Sprint Handicap (VIDEO), Roadhog in the $102,000 Turf Stakes (VIDEO), and Varborough in the $51,000 Starter Handicap (VIDEO).