10/12/2017 3:16PM

213 pre-entries taken for Maryland Million Day


The gang will certainly all be on hand at Laurel Park next Saturday for the 32nd Jim McKay Maryland Million Day. A total of 213 pre-entries were taken Wednesday for the 11 Maryland Million races, which include seven stakes and four starter races.

The pre-entries will thin out noticeably on Wednesday when entries are taken, because the pre-entries include a number of horses who are cross-entered in more than one race.

Maryland Million Day will offer total purses of $1.02 million. The races are primarily for Maryland-sired horses, who account for 134 of the pre-entries. The other 79 pre-entries are horses who are Maryland-bred but not Maryland-sired. Those horses can get into a Maryland Million race only if it attracts less than six entrants. If a Maryland Million race draws more than six entries, Maryland-bred horses will be put on an also-eligible list and can draw in if a field scratches down to less than six horses.

The contingent of horses who are Maryland-bred but not sired includes John Jones, who is cross-entered in the $150,000 Classic, $125,000 Turf, and $100,000 Sprint. Just Howard, recent winner of the Grade 3 Commonwealth Derby, is entered in the Turf but he is by English Channel and therefore not Maryland-sired.

Admirals War Chest will have a chance to make Maryland Million history in the 1 1/8-mile Classic. Trained by Corby Caiazzo and owned and bred by Stephen Sinatra, Admirals War Chest has won the race the past two years and the Classic has never been won by the same horse three straight years.

The only three-time winner of the Classic is Eighttofasttocatch, who won the race in 2011 and 2013-14 for trainer Tim Keefe and owner Sylvia Heft.

Three other horses have won the Classic twice: Docent (2002-03), Algar (1997-98), and Timely Warning (1990-91).

Admirals War Chest went wire to wire in both of his wins. He returned from an 11-month layoff to finish fifth, beaten 12 lengths, in a third-level optional-claiming race at Laurel last Sunday.

Other Maryland Million race winners who are pre-entered this year include Nicaradalic Rocks (2016 Sprint), Rockin Jojo (2016 Ladies), Item (2016 Lassie), Talk Show Man (2014 Turf), and My Magician (2014 Lassie).

The $60,000 Turf Starter Handicap and the $60,000 Turf Distaff Starter Handicap are new to the schedule this year.