Thursday, September 24, 2009

Maryland Million draws 114

Joe DeVivo,
Daily Racing Form

The millionaire turf sprinter Heros Reward and 3-year-old filly Blind Date, both Grade 3 stakes winners this season, and the 3-year-old colt Not for Silver, a Grade 2 winner two starts ago, are the three biggest stars on Saturday's 24th edition of the Maryland Million at Laurel Park.

Entries for the 12-stakes program for Maryland-sired horses, rechristened Jim McKay Maryland Million Day, were drawn Wednesday with 114 horses. Six of the races attracted fields of 10 or more, led by the Lassie with 14 2-year-old fillies.

Heros Reward, 11 for 24 lifetime on turf with earnings of more than $1 million, was good enough to compete in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint last fall. Now 7, he won the Grade 3 Shakertown at Keeneland this past spring and tuned up for Saturday's Turf Sprint by winning the restricted Mister Diz last time out.

Heros Reward's 11 rivals in the 5 1/2-furlong Turf Sprint include the 4-year-old filly Kosmo's Buddy, who upset males in this event last year.

Blind Date, winner of the Grade 3 Virginia Oaks on turf at Colonial Downs and 6 for 8 lifetime, should be a standout against seven other 3-year-old fillies in the one-mile Maryland Million Oaks.

Not for Silver, a dominant winner of the Grade 2 Carry Back at Calder in July, will face eight other sprinters in the six-furlong Sprint, including defending champion Celtic Innis.

The featured $200,000 Classic at 1 1/8 miles drew a field of 10, including three winners from the 2008 Maryland Million card.

Cuba is the defending Classic champion, but is just 1 for 8 since then. He will be challenged by Broadway Producer, who won last year's Maryland Million Turf and followed up by taking the 1 1/16-mile Jennings Handicap on dirt two starts later, along with the filly Sweet Goodbye, whose 6-for-8 lifetime record includes last year's Maryland Million Oaks and the $75,000 Pink Ribbon at Charles Town in her lone start this year.

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