Michael's Pride Upset Tops Maryland Million Races

(from Laurel Park report)
An overheated pace set up the late charge of Edward Turner's Michael's Pride, the winner of the $100,000 Maryland Million Sprint Handicap at six furlongs on the main track.

Sent to post at 14-1, Michael's Pride, a recent $40,000 claim into the barn of Howard Wolfendale, followed the pacesetters from a comfortable distance, then emerged from the pack to collar frontrunner Crossing Point (third). He withstood the final assault of Deer Run (second) in a time of 1:09.21 to win by a head.

"Everything worked out perfectly," said winning rider Jozbin Santana. "Howard told me to let him do whatever he was comfortable with and that's what I did. They were going pretty fast up front and got tired. We were there to catch them."

"My owner claimed this horse specifically to run him in this race," Wolfendale said. "He told me this would be a good Maryland Million horse. Jozbin ran a great race for us."

(Chart, Equibase)

Move Those Chains Hits Hole, Wins Million's Turf
For three quarters of a mile, Patricia Runyon's Move Those Chain was merely awaiting running room. When Move Those Chains found somewhere to go, the Polish Numbers colt blasted through a gaping hole and raced away to post an easy victory in the $100,000 Maryland Million Turf.

Jockey Ramon Dominguez, aboard his third winner of the afternoon with two races to go on the card, was the pilot of record of Move Those Chains, but he appeared to be mostly there as a passenger. The colt covered the nine furlongs in 1:47.28 and finished three lengths ahead of a rallying Watchman's Warning. Private Scandal was third.

The winner, the post time favorite, paid $4.60. He became the third offspring of Polish Numbers to win a race on today's eleven race card.

Move Those Chains is trained by Kevin Boniface. "I knew this colt would get better when he got a little age on him and I think he'll be a better 5-year-old. He's really coming into his own. I noticed that last eighth went in eleven and change and he did it without the rider asking him. Originally I had planned on stopping him for the year but off of this performance I may have to find one more spot. This really was a major step for him. It all came together today."

This was Boniface's second Maryland Million victory. He conditioned Docent in 2001. His father, Bill, leads all trainers with eight Maryland Million victories.

(Chart, Equibase)

Willa On The Move Popular Distaff Winner
With Marathon Farm's Willa On The Move, it's merely aim, shoot and score. The stakes winning filly steered to the middle of the racetrack under jockey Mario Pino and powered to victory in the $100,000 Maryland Million Distaff Handicap for fillies and mares.

Racing in the colors of Baltimore Orioles Majority Owner Peter Angelos and trained by Tony Dutrow, Willa On The Move was just too much for her filly and mare counterparts, scoring by two lengths over a very game Finally Here. Front runner Bronze Abe clung to third. The winner paid a measly $2.80 as choice.

"She was just loafing," Pino said. "There are a couple more gears in there. We were just creeping by. I didn't want to get to the front too early. She had a little extra there. She could have gone a lot faster. She didn't really seem interested until I got her to the outside. Once she had clear sailing she just opened up and kept her eye on the horse down inside of her. Every time it seemed she would get a little closer she would just pick it up a little bit more."

Angelos, along with Maryland Million founder Jim McKay, were on hand in the winners' circle to accept the trophy on behalf of Willa On The Move.

After the post race interview, Maryland Jockey Club president Joe De Francis announced that the Baltimore Breeders' Cup (gr. III), run at Pimlico Race Course in April, will be re-named the Jim McKay Breeders' Cup.

(Chart, Equibase)

All Hail Hillary in Million Ladies Win
Larry Slavin's Hail Hillary, the stakes tested filly who had raced exclusively at Arlington Park in Chicago, made the $100,000 Maryland Million Ladies her homecoming dance, scoring a narrow victory over eight other fillies and mares in the nine furlong test on the turf.

Journeyman jockey Abel Castellano Jr patiently rode the daughter of Yarrow Brae, who is trained by David Kassen, to victory. Content to stalk the pace from fourth place, Castellano had a ton of horse under him when he sent the filly up and after the leaders as they spun into the lane. They swept wide and charged ahead to win by just a neck. Supposedly finished second. Leebearski was third.

Hail Hillary covered the nine furlongs in 1:46.86 over the firm turf. She paid $5.80 as the favorite.

(Chart, Equibase)

River Cruise Floats to Oaks Victory
Jockey Jeremy Rose spent the entire nine furlongs atop Sondra Bender's River Cruise looking back for rivals, but when no one stepped forward, she rambled on to register a driving two-length score in the $100,000 Maryland Million Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.

Larry Murray trains River Cruise for Howard and Sondra Bender, Maryland owners and breeders who were notching their fourth victory in Maryland Million races. The Benders were not in attendance because they were attending a wedding in the Bahamas.

The Not For Love filly is now three for six lifetime, with a stakes victory in the Twixt Stakes at Laurel also on her resume.

Today she beat Valley Of The Gods (2nd), Coquettish ( 3rd) and three other rivals in 1:50.3 for the 1 1/8 mile.

(Chart, Equibase)

Nursery Aim Right for Polish Rifle
Ronald Parker's Polish Rifle performed to his pre-race billing in the $100,000 Maryland Million Nursery for 2-year-olds, taking the seven furlong test in commanding fashion.

The bay son of Polish Numbers, one of two horses in the race trained by Tony Dutrow, was kept to task from his outside post by jockey Mario Pino, then edged forward, separated himself from the others and galloped away to a handy nine-length score. Musical Vision, the other Dutrow trainee, finished second. Misty County was third.

The winner, who was clocked in 1:23.17 for the seven panels, paid $3.80.

(Chart, Equibase)

Richetta Romps in Lassie
Richetta took the lead on the turn and pulled away under jockey Ramon Dominguez. Sent to post an easy win as the favorite, Richetta covered the seven furlongs in 1:24 and paid $4.60. Grant's Moon was a gallant second, rallying to finish 4-1/2 lengths behind the winner. He Loves Me finished third.

Dominguez let the daughter of Polish Numbers sit outside and just off the pacesetters, then set her down around the turn and was a willing passenger as she picked it up and quickly drew away. Richetta is trained by Robin Graham and stabled at Laurel Park.

(Chart, Equibase)