Longshot Sumerset Upset Maryland Million Classic Field

Theodore W. Hoover's Sumerset, a 30-to-1 longshot, overtook Lightning Paces down the stretch to win by a neck in the $200,000 Maryland Million Classic, the feature race in the 16th running of the Maryland Million at Pimlico.

The 4-year old son of Allen's Prospect, winless since taking an allowance at Laurel in January, beat a field that included Concerned Minister, the 4-to-5 favorite, 2000 Classic winner Testing, and Lightning Paces, a winner of four straight.

``I was just hoping the horse would run well,'' jockey Jeremy Rose said. ``I had never worked the horse or been on the horse, so I was just trying to feel him out and see how he wanted to run. He surprised me.''

Sitting fourth along the back stretch, Sumerset began to make his move around the final turn, overtaking Concerned Minister, Big Becker and, finally, Lightning Paces to complete the 1 3/16 miles in 1:57.2.

Sumerset, who finished fourth in consecutive races at Delaware Park, paid $63.60, $26.00 and $11.20. Lightning Paces paid $13.60 and $7.00, and P Day paid $2.60. Testing finished fourth, and Concerned Minister was seventh.

Timothy Ritchey, who recently took over Sumerset's training, said changing the horse's shoes, equipment and environment paid dividends.

``I saw a few things that we needed to change right off the bat, and obviously it helped,'' Ritchey said. ``We didn't think we could beat the bottom horse (Concerned Minister), but we did think we could hit the board.''

Other winners on the card included Docent, in the Sweepstakes; Bell Visage, in the Starter Handicap; Night Breeze, in the Lassie; Case of the Blues, in the Distaff; Along Came Mary, in the Oaks; Stal Quest, in the Ladies; Pal's Partner, in the Nursery; Elberton, in the Turf; Jorgie Stover in the Sprint; and Blazing Colors, in the Handicap.

The 11-race card with a total purse of $1.05 million was composed entirely of horses either born on Maryland breeding farms or sired by state stallions.

(Chart, Equibase)