09/24/2010 3:22PM

Five back to defend in Maryland Million

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Five defending champions are among the 180 pre-entries for next weekend’s Jim McKay Maryland Million at Laurel Park.

All Giving in the $100,000 Distaff, Roaring Lion in the $100,000 Sprint, Natural Seven in the $100,000 Sprint Turf, Talkin About Love in the $100,000 Ladies, and Serenadia in the $50,000 Distaff Starter Handicap are expected to attempt to repeat their success from last year in the 25th annual event for the offspring of Maryland sires on Saturday, Oct. 2.

The featured $150,000 Maryland Million Classic, however, lost defending champion Sumacha’hot, who sustained a minor leg injury during training this week. The field is expected to include 2008 champion Cuba and Regal Solo. The pair ran second and third in last year’s race.

Among the nominees, 24 horses were cross-entered in more than one race, including the undefeated 4-year-old Ben’s Cat and star 2-year-old filly Twelve Pack Shelly.

A gelding trained by King Leatherbury, Ben’s Cat is pre-entered in both the Sprint and Turf Sprint. He is 3 for 3 at the six-furlong distance of the Sprint and captured the Mister Diz Stakes on the grass in his last start.

Trainer John Salzman Jr. has a similar tough decision to make with his talented Twelve Pack Shelly, who set a Laurel track record in her debut in April. She is nominated to both the $100,000 Lassie and the $100,000 Nursery. Twelve Pack Shelly has won three straight, including stakes at Monmouth Park and Charles Town.

Overall, 13 previous winners are nominated, including the last three in the Sprint Turf - Kosmo’s Buddy (2007), millionaire Heros Reward (2008), and Natural Seven (2009).

The post position draw for the $1.05 million event will be held on Wednesday.