11-race program draws record wagering

$6,264,958 is bet overall

sires live through winners

Maryland Million

Horse Racing

October 12, 2003|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Bettors in and out of state wagered a record $6,264,958 on the 11 Maryland Million races. Ramon Dominguez, the winningest jockey in North America, padded his lead with three wins.

And two stallions who stood at the top of Maryland's sire roster -- both deceased -- lived on with victories by their offspring. Those were some of the highlights on a day of highlights at the Maryland Million yesterday at Laurel Park.


When Willa On the Move captured the $100,000 race by two lengths at 2-5 odds, it propelled Peter Angelos into the winner's circle for a rare racetrack appearance. The Orioles' owner owns a horse farm and about 20 horses, but seldom comes to the track.

"I do it quietly," he said of his racing and breeding operation.

A 4-year-old daughter of Two Punch, Willa On the Move won a Grade III stakes this summer at Saratoga Race Course. Her win in the Distaff for trainer Tony Dutrow was her sixth in 11 races.

"The pressure was on with Mr. Angelos here to watch and [this being] such a big day for Maryland racing," said Mario Pino, her jockey.


Dutrow and Pino also teamed to win the $100,000 race with Polish Rifle, a 2-year-old son of Polish Numbers. Polish Numbers, who died last summer after breaking a leg in a paddock accident at Northview Stallion Station in Cecil County, had two other Maryland Million winners.

Pino drove Polish Rifle to a nine-length victory over Musical Vision, also trained by Dutrow. The wins for Pino were his 12th and 13th in Maryland Million races. Only one jockey has more: Edgar Prado with 16.


Polish Numbers also sired the 2-year-old filly Richetta, dominant winner of the $100,000 race, the filly counterpart to the Nursery. Dominguez piloted her to victory for trainer Robin Graham.

Milton P. Higgins III, a veteran horse owner, bought Richetta for $100,000 earlier this year at a Timonium auction. He said his pedigree consultant rated the filly as "the best Polish Numbers pedigree she had ever seen." Richetta's dam is Riscay, a daughter of Rahy.


Polish Number's third winner was Move Those Chains, a 4-year-old colt bred and owned by Patricia Runyon. Ridden by Dominguez, he charged to a three-length victory in the $100,000 race.


Abounding with early speedsters, the $100,000 race set up for a closer, and Michael's Pride, a son of Not For Love, rallied from far back to win by a head. He collared the game front-runner, Crossing Point, at the wire.

This was Michael's Pride's second start for trainer Howard E. Wolfendale, whose owner, Edward E. Turner, claimed the 6-year-old horse for $40,000 from Michael Gill, the nation's leading owner.


Not For Love, who stands at Northview Stallion Station, also sired River Cruise, winner of the $100,000 race. Ridden by Jeremy Rose, the 3-year-old filly has won half of her six races for breeder-owners Sondra and Howard Bender.

The Benders, a fixture at Maryland races, couldn't make this one. They were in the Bahamas at the wedding of Sondra Bender's niece. Howard, especially, hated to miss the race, said Larry Murray, the Benders' trainer. "He tried everything to get that bride to move that date," Murray said.


Hail Hillary, a 3-year-old daughter of Yarrow Brae, traveled from Churchill Downs to win the $100,000 race for local jockey Abel Castellano Jr., Midwest trainer David Kassen and Chicago owner Larry Slavin.

"She's the sweetest horse we've ever owned," Slavin said. "She'll lay her head on my wife's shoulder and go to sleep."

Distaff Starter

Allen's Prospect, who died last month after a stellar career at Country Life Farm near Bel Air, sired Allens Blessing, winner of the $50,000 handicap. It was the 15th winner for the late sire, who leads all stallions in Maryland Million winners.


Irish Colony, a 3-year-old gelded son of Larrupin', captured the $50,000 handicap for trainer Ron Cartwright and breeder-owner Jim Ryan.

Sprint Starter

A 5-year-old gelded son of Valley Crossing, My Navy won a thrilling three-horse photo finish in the $25,000 handicap. John Schaefer, who owns My Navy with his wife, Joanna, was a Baltimore City councilman for 20 years.

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