09/26/2009 11:00PM

Sumacha'hot steps up in Maryland Million Classic

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Roaring Lion romps home in the Maryland Million Sprint on Saturday under jockey Ramon Dominguez.

Owner-trainer Butch Cave clearly knew what he was doing when he chose to scratch Sumacha'hot from a $50,000 starter handicap early on Saturday's all-stakes card at Laurel Park to take a shot at the $200,000 purse up for grabs in the featured .

The 4-year-old Sumacha'hot, who would have been an odds-on favorite in a race for Maryland-sired runners who had started for a claiming price of $15,000 or less, instead stormed from far back under jockey Grant Whitacre to pull clear in the day's nine-furlong feature.

Cave claimed Sumacha'hot for $5,000 on Sep. 4, 2008 from John Boniface. Since then the gelding, a son of Mojave Moon, has been first or second 11 times in 14 starts,

In five starts during the spring and summer, Sumacha'hot had been running well in a series of $5,000 starter allowance events in Maryland and at Penn National in Pennsylvania. But he appeared like he might be overmatched in the Classic against a group that included three winners from last year's Maryland Million program, including Broadway Producer, the 3-2 favorite.

"This race was always in our plans," Cave said."We cross entered into the Starter but Grant came out this week and watched him gallop and after we watched we decided 'Let's go for it.'"

After dropping back some 16 lengths down the backstretch, Sumacha'hot ($15) didn't look like he would much involved in the race. He was still last of 10 coming around the far turn and only fifth, five lengths behind, with a furlong remaining. But in deep stretch, Sumacha'hot came flying fastest of all and won by 2 1/2 lengths.

"All I had to do was find him a hole and I was there," said Whitacre, the grandson of former jockey Jesse Davidson and the younger brother of Charles Town rider Brandon Whitacre. "This horse never breaks good and he didn't today. You just have to bide your time with him and really pick your spots to get through."

Cuba, the defending champion, emerged between horses to get second by a nose over Regal Solo. Broadway Producer finished fourth.

In winning for the sixth time in 10 starts this year, Sumacha'hot covered the distance on a wet-fast track in 1:50.26.

Elsewhere on the $1.2 million Jim McKay Maryland Million card, which attracted a crowd of 21,695:

* Roaring Lion ($4) gave jockey Ramon Dominguez his record 17th victory in Maryland Million races when he dominated the $125,000 Sprint by 3 1/2 lengths.

By winning his second stakes of the day, Dominguez broke a tie with Edgar Prado and Mario Pino, the winningest rider in Maryland history.

A 5-year-old based at Monmouth Park with trainer Bruce Levine, Roaring Lion is now 3 for 3 this season after completing the six furlongs in a swift 1:08.68.

* Heavy favorite All Giving ($3.40) cruised to a 2 3/4-length victory in the $125,000 Distaff.

It was the sixth lifetime stakes victory for the 5-year-old All Giving, who was ridden by Jonathan Joyce for trainer Flint Stites. She is now 13 for 35 lifetime with earnings of $504,835.

* Natural Seven ($11) set a track record for 5 1/2 furlongs on turf when he rallied to score by 1 1/4 lengths in the $100,000 Turf Sprint. A 5-year-old ridden by Dominguez for trainer Ben Feliciano Jr., Natural Seven completed the distance in 1:01.59. He missed by a nose in the same stakes last year.

Hero's Reward, a multiple Grade 3 winner, encountered traffic trouble and finished third as the 3-5 favorite, missing second by a neck to Citifest.

Trainer Dale Capuano indicated he still intends to take the 7-year-old to Woodbine for the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes on Oct. 17, a race he won two years ago, and is hoping to make a return trip in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, a race in which Hero's Reward finished fifth in 2008.

* The 3-year-old Target Sighted ($10.80), making just his second start on grass and only his fourth lifetime start, rallied to win the $125,000 Turf by 1 1/4 lengths, giving jockey Jeremy Rose his second win of the day.

Izzy Speaking, the 4-5 favorite, was pulled up by Dominguez nearing the far turn. Maryland Racing Commission veterinarian Dr. David Zipf reported that Izzy Speaking fractured the pastern bone in his right rear leg.

* Talkin About Love ($7.40), making her first start on turf following 27 races on dirt, rallied from last of six to post a two-length victory the $125,000 Ladies, a 1 1/8-grass race for fillies and mares. It was the second stakes win on the card for jockey Carlos Marquez.

* One race earlier, Marquez guided Love That Dance ($5.80) to a wire-to-wire, head victory over 3-5 favorite Blind Date in the $125,000 Oaks for 3-year-old fillies going one mile.

* The Philadelphia Park-based Lil Kiara ($7.20), coming off a maiden victory over New Jersey-breds at Monmouth Park two weeks ago, outfought Ben's Boots by a neck to win the $100,000 Lassie for 2-year-old fillies.

* Toboggan Slide ($4.20) remained undefeated in three starts with a 4 1/2-length score in the $100,000 Nursery for 2-year-olds.

* The 3-year-old Amazin Sun ($25.20) gave apprentice Joshua Navarro his first added-money victory when he got up by a neck in the $50,000 Starter Handicap at 1 1/8 miles.

* Take Down Two ($21) upset 1-9 favorite Vista Moon by a length in the $50,000 Sprint Starter Handicap at six furlongs.

* Serenadia ($6.40) edged 60-1 longshot My Sweet Nenana by a neck in the $50,000 Distaff Starter Handicap.