10/03/2012 4:30PM

Laurel Park: Three defending champions return on Maryland Million Day


Defending champions Ben’s Cat, Eighttofasttocatch, and Sloane Ranger headline the fields that were finalized Wednesday for Saturday’s Jim McKay Maryland Million at Laurel Park.

The 11-race card will offer total purses of $1.05 million to the offspring of Maryland-based stallions. It’s the second biggest day of racing on the Maryland racing calendar, topped only by Preakness Day.

Eighttofasttocatch is a part of a six-horse field for the featured $150,000 Classic (race 10). The 6-year-old Eighttofasttocatch’s only win this season in five starts came in the Harrison Johnson Memorial Stakes in March. He has not hit the board in three subsequent starts, including a ninth-place finish in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special on Preakness weekend and a fifth in the Japan Racing Association last month on the Laurel turf.

Eighttofasttocatch is cross-entered against 11 rivals in the $100,000 Turf.

Ben’s Cat will seek to become the fourth horse to win a Maryland Million race three straight years when he faces 10 opponents in the $100,000 Turf Sprint. He became the first millionaire trained by long-time horseman King Leatherbury when he won last month’s Grade 3 Turf Monster Handicap at Parx.

Sloane Ranger edged 2010 Classic winner Regal Solo in last year’s Sprint and the two will square off again in Satuday’s $100,000 Sprint, which drew a field of nine.