LAUREL -- Laurie Calhoun put her training time on hold while she studied for an accounting degree at the University of Maryland.
"Everything has fallen on Jerry [her husband] lately," she said yesterday at Laurel Race Course. "He's doing most of the work. All I do is get to stand in the winner's circle."
The Calhouns, of Libertytown, are hoping to make another trip to the winner's circle today when Baby o'Mine tests six rivals in the featured $50,000 Very Subtle Breeders' Cup Handicap.
Baby o'Mine is a four-year-old filly with modest bloodlines, but a surprisingly high achiever. In three starts this year, she has won once and finished third twice, earning $13,380.
"I sold that mare [Latham Girl, dam of Baby o'Mine] to the owners and now I'm sorry I did," said Laurie. "Then the owners ask us to train her."
Jerry Calhoun said Baby o'Mine is at her best as a turf sprinter, a rarity but certainly suitable for the conditions of this race, six furlongs over the grass.
He decided to run her anyway when a five-furlong race was taken off the turf at Delaware Park on June 6, and the horse responded with a solid third.
Two weeks later, Baby o'Mine beat male horses in a five-furlong sprint on grass at Pimlico and was on her way to this stakes.
"She just fits beautifully in this race," said Jerry Calhoun.
The principal competition is expected from Quick Casting, a length winner in an $85,000 claimer at five furlongs on the turf in her last start, and Dhaka, winner of three straight but untested on the grass.
Maryland Million set
The seventh annual Maryland Million, on Sept. 26, will highlight the 20-day meet opening at Pimlico on Sept. 10.
Twelve races with purses of $1,065,000 will be run for horses sired by Maryland stallions.
The feature will be the $200,000 Maryland Million Classic for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/4 miles. Also on the card is the $150,000 Maryland Million Ladies.
Six other stakes are scheduled during the meeting highlighted by the Grade III $100,000 Columbia Stakes, Sept. 12, for 3-year-old fillies going six furlongs.
Yesterday's card began in a thunderstorm with heavy rain, fog and lightning. The track was rated sloppy for the first six races, then upgraded to muddy after the weather cleared. Scratches were commonplace with three in the fifth race forcing cancellation of double-triple wagering. The 10th race was moved off the turf course to the main track because of the conditions. . . . The nominations for the $500,000 Grade I Philip Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park on Aug. 8, include Jolie's Halo, winner of the Fort McHenry Handicap, Strike The Gold, winner of the Pimlico Special, Timely Warning, a Maryland Million victor, and Excellent Tipper, Baltimore Budweiser Breeders' Cup winner. . . . Edgar Prado scored the only riding double on yesterday's card and moved to within one of jockey leader Mike Luzzi, who was blanked.