Saturday is the 35th edition of the Maryland Million Day at Laurel Park and a competitive field of seven will line up in the headliner, the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic.
The brainchild of sports broadcaster Jim McKay, the Maryland Million was first run in 1986 and features Maryland breds that will compete in eight stakes and four stater stakes on Saturday.
The Claudio Gonzales trained Harpers First Ride is the 8-5 morning line favorite for the Classic, the 11th race on the 12-race card. The gelding won the Pimlico Special (G3) in his last outing for his first graded stakes win.
A winner of eight of his 14 career starts, the gelding was claimed for just $30,000 last September out of his maiden win.
“Before the last race I expect him to run really good because he was showing me in the mornings that he was doing better than ever,” Gonzalez said. “Every race he gets better and better. I didn’t know if he could [win], but I knew he was going to be there and he ran so good. He came out of the race good, he breezed good the other day and came out of it good, so everything’s good.”
Top Line Growth is the 2-1 second choice on the morning line. The gelding was second in the Salvator Mile (G3) at Monmouth Park in his last start. He is perfect in his four trips over the Laurel Park main track.
Pimlico Special Replay
His last trip here was in August where he beat Alw-3 optional claimers off an 11-month layoff.
Cordmaker was third in the Pimlico Special and a second behind Harpers First Ride in the Deputed Testimony over the main track at Laurel Park on September 5. The gelding is a six-time winner over the surface.
First post for the Laurel Park card is 11:00am ET.
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Let’s head out to Laurel Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Laurel Park Race 11 The Maryland Million Classic 4:53 ET
4 Cordmaker 4-1
3 Monday Morning Qb 5-1
5 Harpers First Ride 8-5
7 Top Line Growth 2-1
The question here is if this gelding can turn the tables on Harpers First Ride, who has beaten him three times this year. Last out our top pick tracked the early pace while saving ground and finished up well for third while the winner set a pressured pace, but the fractions were not that fast. There figures to be more pace in here which could set things up nicely for our top pick. The Jenkins trainee is a six-time winner over the Laurel Park main track including three stakes. He looks headed in the right direction form wise and is getting seven pounds from the Pimlico Special winner and is going to end up offering more value for the top spot.
Monday Moring Qb
This colt faded to finish 11th last out in the James W. Murphy but that was over yielding ground on turf. We will toss that effort and hope he can move forward off a solid second in the Federico Tesio here two back at nine furlongs. That outing came off a seven-month layoff. The winner Happy Saver came back to beat older in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park in his next outing. He also is getting seven pounds from the likely favorite. No three-year-old has won this race which was first run in 1986. The Reid trainee looks as if he still has plenty of upside and figures to bounce back with the surface switch as he makes his third start off the bench.
Harpers First Ride
The gelding earned a career top speed figure in his win in the Pimlico Special. The gelding dueled for the early lead and finished well to win by two lengths over Owendale. He won the Deputed Testimony two back for his first stakes win. That was his sixth win in seven trips over the Laurel Park main track. He picks up four pounds and is going to face some pace pressure. He could regress off back to back career tops and his price may end up on the light side.
WIN: Cordmaker to win at 7-2 or better
EXACTA: 4 / 3,5,7 and 3,4 / 3,4,5