Docent Tries For Repeat in Maryland Million Classic

From Laurel Publicity Staff:

In Saturday's $200,000 Maryland Million Classic at Laurel Park, 2002 winner Docent will try to join Timely Warning (1990 & 1991) and Algar (1997 & 1998) as back-to-back winners of the race. The Classic is the headline event of a day featuring 11 stakes races and purses of $1,025,000.

The Tim Ritchey trainee will face eight rivals and carry highweight of 123 pounds including jockey Clinton Potts. Maryland Jockey Club oddsmaker Frank Carulli has tabbed the 5-year old as the overwhelming 3-5 favorite. The son of Waquoit has won 14 of 26 starts and has four added money victories this year.

"There are at least two legitimate speed horses in here and that's what we want," said Potts, who is a perfect two-for two aboard Docent. "The post position (two) is great so we can save ground. I went out to work him the other morning and he dragged me around in a minute flat at five-eighths of a mile. He is a runner and it looks like we have a great chance."

Docent's biggest rival could be Shiny Sheet, the only mare in the field who is trained by Charlie Hadry. The 5-year old has finished in the money five times in six starts this year and is a multiple stakes winner. Carulli has made her the second choice in the morning line, at odds of 6-1.

"It looked like this year the race came up a little bit light," said Hadry. "She's doing really well and is relatively fresh. She'll get the distance and we are just going to give it a try. It is a one time thing because it is restricted, but we are going to go for it."

The Classic and three other races (Distaff, Turf and Sprint) will be televised live on Baltimore's WNUV-TV. Bruce Cunningham and John Buren will host and Carulli will conduct post race interviews with the winning connections.

Introduced at Laurel in 1986, the Maryland Million, a program of races for the offspring of Maryland-based stallions only, has been duplicated by 19 other states. It is the third biggest day in Maryland racing behind Preakness and Pimlico Special days.

The nation's leading jockey (Ramon Dominguez), trainer (Scott Lake) and owner (Michael Gill) based on wins will all be at Laurel on Saturday. Dominguez is the only rider to have a mount in all 11 races, while Lake will saddle Carnie's Dancer in the Distaff. Gill could have as many as 12 runners in eight races with three different conditioners.