After being rained out Oct. 8, the 20th Maryland Million is set to go Saturday at Laurel Park with Presidentialaffair and Aggadan headlining a $250,000 Classic field. The day also features six horses who won last year back to defend their titles.
Presidential Affair, a 6-year-old gelding who won last year's Classic, returns with jockey Stewart Elliott for trainer Marty Ciresa. The pair will break from the rail.
Cancellation of last week's Million was announced at 8 a.m. last Saturday. Presidentialaffair had shipped to Laurel that morning in advance of the announcement and had to make a quick U-turn and return to his Monmouth Park base.
"The weather hurt us a little bit, but when he's trained he's been great," Ciresa said. "The one-post works out fine for us. He's always been good in the gate, and he was going to end up on the rail eventually."
The son of Not for Love
is trying to join Timely Warning (1990-1991), Algar (1997-1998), and Doccent (2002-2003) as repeat winners of the Classic.
The runner-up in last year's Classic was Aggadan. The Richard Dutrow Jr.- trainee has finished second in his last three starts, the Skip Away Stakes and Salvatore Mile at Monmouth Park, and an optional allowance test at Saratoga.
Jockey Ramon Dominguez gets the mount on Aggadan, and the pair will break from post six.
The only other runner with a stakes win on his resume is Play Bingo, who beat fellow Maryland-breds in last year's Northern Dancer Stakes at Pimlico. The son of Polish Numbers will be ridden by Ryan Fogelsonger.
The $150,000 Sprint
looks like the most competitive field with defending champion My Poker Player the sixth choice in a nine-horse field at 8-1. The son of Not For Love
has just one victory since his driving score at Pimlico last October.
Bowie-based Saay Mi Name was tabbed the 2-1 choice. The 5-year-old won two stakes in August and tuned up for this race with an impressive second place finish in the $100,000 Charles Hadry Stakes, Sept. 10.
Second choice in the Sprint at 3-1 is Cherokee's Boy, who won a route stakes at Charles Town just last Sunday. The 5-year-old was cross-entered in the Maryland Million Classic as well, but trainer Gary Capuano opted for this race.
After last Saturday's postponement the son of Citidancer
won the $50,000 HBPA Governor's Cup in record time moving him into 20th place on the all-time Maryland-bred earnings list with $876,286. A victory Saturday would move him into the 16th spot.
In 37 career races, Cherokee's Boy has failed to pick up a check just one time: the 2003 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
"I think he has a better shot of winning or picking up a piece of the purse," Capuano said.
"He's been pretty sharp – sharper than I'd like to see him. Going 1-3/16 miles (in the Classic) it's likely he would run three quarters then quit. He has natural speed. If he breaks 4-5 lengths behind the field and makes a late run, he'd have a better chance of winning the Sprint. We're trying to do what's best for the horse. If we ran in the Classic, Presidentialaffair and Aggadan would have to be left at the gate for things to go our way."
Other interesting races of note will be the $150,000 Distaff
, highlighted by Grant's Moon, Spirited Game, and My Pretty Woman.
The $150,000 Turf
field also figures to be very competitive with the one-two finishers from last year, Dr Detroit and Private Scandal, back. The field also features 2002 winner La Reine's Terms.
The field for the $250,000 Maryland Million Classic:
1-- Presidentialaffair (Elliott, 3-2)
2-- Off The Glass (Horacio Karamanos, 15-1)
3-- Play Bingo (Fogelsonger, 5-1)
4-- Bruceybruceybrucey (Jeremy Rose, 10-1)
5--Five Steps (Abel Castellano, 6-1)
6--Aggadan (Dominguez, 9-5)