Presidentialaffair Seeks Repeat in Maryland Million

(from Maryland Jockey Club release)
The 20th Maryland Million for the offspring of Maryland sires attracted 112 entrants to the twelve-race program Saturday at Laurel Park.

In the feature event, the $250,000 Maryland Million Classic at 1 3/16 miles, defending champion Presidentialaffair is the 9-5 favorite. The 6-year-old gelding will be reunited with jockey Stewart Elliott for trainer Marty Ciresa.

The son of Not For Love can join Timely Warning (1990-1991), Algar (1997-1998) and Docent (2002-2003) as repeat winners of the Classic. Presidentialaffair won the Jim McKay Breeders' Cup at Pimlico in April and was an impressive third in the Pimlico Special (gr. I), but has been off the board in the Stephen Foster (gr. I) and Iselin (gr. III).

"He's been in steady training," Ciresa said. "We were trying to get him right after detecting an issue that prevented him from running well in his last few starts. He ran so sharp off the layoff (in the Jim McKay) I thought for sure he'd win the Pimlico Special.

"We've been 2-minute licking him in the mornings. We don't need to put speed into him. He's a very fast horse on his own. He's so tough. He trains very hard. Riders always rave about him when they come back. Like most good horses, he overcomes his minor aches and pains with an overwhelming desire to run and win."

Ciresa is also looking at Friday's $500,000 Meadowlands Breeders' Cup (Grade II) for his star, but said Presidentialaffair is better than 50/50 to run in the Million.

Last year Presidentialaffair beat Aggadan by 1 1/2 lengths. The 6-year-old Carnivalay horse returns as well and is a deserving second choice on the morning line at 2-1. Trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., Aggadan has finished second in four added money races this year. Dutrow will employ Ramon Dominguez, the Mid-Atlantic's top jockey, for the first time.

The best local entrant is Cherokee's Boy (4-1), a 5-year-old Citidancer horse who won three stakes this summer – the Brandywine Handicap at Delaware and the Skip Away and Salvatore Mile (gr. III) at Monmouth Park. Trainer Gary Capuano will give a leg up to Travis Dunkelberger on Saturday. Cherokee's Boy is working his way to becoming the 16th Maryland-bred millionaire. He currently ranks 23rd with $845,596 in earnings during his 36-race career.

"We are super proud of him," co-owner Dave Picarello said. "He has collected a check in every race but the Preakness (2003). He tries every race. We think the distance might be too far but it is Maryland Million Day, you have to take a shot. I feel confident he'll make a good showing."

The only other runner with a stakes win on his resume is Play Bingo (6-1), 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.

$250,000 Maryland Million Classic (10th race, 5:37 p.m.), 3 & up, progency of stallions standing in Maryland, 1 3/16 miles
PP. Horse, (Jockey), ML Odds
1. Off The Glass (Horacio Karamanos), 20-1
2. Cherokee's Boy (Travis Dunkelberger), 4-1
3. Aggadan (Ramon Dominguez), 2-1
4 Presidentialaffair (Stewart Elliott), 9-5
5. Play Bingo (Ryan Fogelsonger), 6-1
6. Five Steps (Abel Castellano), 8-1
7. Bruceybruceybrucey (Mario Pino), 12-1

Elsewhere on Maryland Million Day:

$150,000 Oaks (3rd race -- 1 1/8th miles --1:42 p.m.)
Eight fillies and mares are running including Lexi Star, who is a perfect two-for two this year, the ultra consistent Sticky and stakes veteran Lisaized.

$150,000 Sprint (4th race --6 furlongs --2:15 p.m.)
Eight to start, including defending champion My Poker Player, multiple stakes winners Crossing Point and Saay Mi Name and the improving Love's Strong Hart. Graze, from the Tim Hooper barn, has won five in a row but is stepping up into stakes company for the first time.

$150,000 Ladies (5th race –1 1/8th miles (T) -- 2:48 p.m.)
Grade III winner Love Match looks to be the mare to beat. The daughter of Partner's Hero was third in this spot in 2004. Rowdy, who finished ahead of Love Match in that race, also figures.

$125,000 Lassie (6th race --7 furlongs --3:21 p.m.)
Ten two-year-old fillies are entered.

$100,000 Turf Sprint (7th race --5 furlongs (T) --3:54 p.m.)
Twelve are expected including defending champion Namequest and stakes winners Shades of Sunny and Satan's Code.

$125,000 Nursery (8th race --7 furlongs --4:27 p.m.)
Ten two-year-olds will run, including two impressive runners from Graham Motion's powerful stable: Creve Coeur and I Dot.

$150,000 Turf (9th race –1 1/8th miles (T) -- 4:59 p.m.)
The 1-2 finishers from 2004, Dr Detroit and Private Scandal, are back but the favorite could be 2002 winner La Reine's Terms, who has earned nearly $725,000 in his career. Stakes winners Class Concern and Irish Colony are also in the mix.

$150,000 Distaff (11th race --7 furlongs --6:08 p.m.)
Nine fillies and mares are entered including Grant's Moon, Spirited Game, My Pretty Woman and Key Storm.