2022 Maryland Million Classic Cheat Sheet: Get to Know the Horses

2022 Maryland Million Classic Cheat Sheet: Get to Know the Horses

Maryland racing takes center stage this Saturday, when Laurel Park hosts the 37th running of the Jim McKay Maryland Million. This year’s Maryland Million racecard is one of the best yet, with at least 10 horses in the main body of 10 of the 12 races on the card, and six races with 14 horses in the main body.

The highlight of the day is the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic Stakes, for 3-year-olds and up at 1 ⅛ miles on the dirt. Eleven Maryland-sired horses have entered, with a further two Maryland-breds on the also eligible list. It’s scheduled as the 11th race on the program, with a listed post time of 5 p.m. ET. The Classic, along with all the other races on the card, will be shown on FanDuel TV.

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Let’s meet the field for this year’s Maryland Million Classic:

1. Virginia Fulla (30-1 morning-line odds)

Jockey: Walter Rodriguez

Trainer: Daniel McKenzie

Owners: Sean Gardner and MIH Affiliates

Career record: 12 starts – 4 wins – 0 seconds – 3 thirds

Career earnings: $73,962

Earnings per start: $6,164

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 86

Pedigree: Madefromlucky – Falsehood, by Awesome Again

Age: 3

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: A son of Northview stallion Madefromlucky, Virginia Fulla is a Virginia-bred as his name suggests, making him one of two horses in the race who was not bred in Maryland. He’s climbed the class ladder with efficiency as of late, having won three races in a row. However, those were against much softer foes than he’ll see Saturday. He won a non-winners of two claiming race going away a few starts back, then rallied to win two races against conditioned claimers, the latter race by disqualification. Moreover, he has no early speed whatsoever. He likes to sit way behind early and then make one big late move. That strategy might work against lesser rivals, but much better horses are going to get the jump on him here. At best, he’s a horse who can be used on the bottom of superfectas.

2. Tappin Cat (8-1)

Jockey: Angel Suarez

Trainer: Gary Capuano

Owner: Non Stop Stable

Career record: 35 starts – 9 wins – 10 seconds – 4 thirds

Career earnings: $479,399

Earnings per start: $13,697

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 110

Pedigree: Tritap – Elusory, by Broken Vow

Age: 6

Color: Bay

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: What a difference a year makes. Last year, the offspring of the late sire Tritap went off at 3-5 in the Classic and finished second while trying to close after a wide trip. Since then, he hasn’t quite been the same horse. He won the Sussex Stakes going away at Delaware Park in July, but otherwise has been no better than third in six other starts, and his speed figures aren’t what they were last year. Having drawn much closer to the rail than last year, he should be able to rate off the pace while saving ground, but he’ll have to dig down and find his best form to win this one. Trainer Gary Capuano has won four Maryland Million races but has yet to win the Classic.

3. Double Crown (9-2)

Jockey: Horacio Karamanos

Trainer: Norman Cash

Owner: Built Wright Stables

Career record: 22 starts – 5 wins – 8 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $375,765

Earnings per start: $17,080

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 106

Pedigree: Bourbon Courage – Two Columbus, by Two Punch

Age: 5

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievement and interesting facts: Double Crown is one of two entrants in the field for Norman “Lynn” Cash, who is making his first appearance at the Maryland Million this year. As a 3-year-old, Double Crown won two stakes races and was graded stakes-placed twice. Last year, he was second in the Maryland Million Sprint behind Air Token. This year, he’s won just once, but that victory came in a tough 1 1/16-mile allowance optional claiming race at Colonial Downs. He rated off a fast pace that day and won by a length with an impressive speed figure. Last out, he was second in the Polynesian Stakes behind Benevengo, who snuck away to a loose lead and proved impossible to catch. Double Crown is proven at longer distances and will be dangerous if he gets some pace to run into. Jockey Horacio Karamanos is one of eight jockeys to win at least 10 Maryland Million races. However, he’s never won the Classic. Double Crown is a son of Anchor & Hope Farm stallion Bourbon Courage, who has six progeny in this year’s Maryland Million races, including likely Sprint favorite Fortheluvofbourbon.

4. Torch of Truth (10-1)

Jockey: Victor Carrasco

Trainer: Mike Trombetta

Owner: Marie Trombetta

Career record: 29 starts – 5 wins – 8 seconds – 5 thirds

Career earnings: $279,780

Earnings per start: $9,648

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 106

Pedigree: Not For Love – Amber Comet, by Amerrico’s Bullet

Age: 7

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This 7-year-old son of the late, great sire Not For Love finished fourth in last year’s Classic after saving ground most of the way. He started his 7-year-old campaign with a determined win in a tough allowance optional claiming race, but since then he has been winless in three starts. Torch of Truth returned to the races off a long layoff in the seven-furlong Challedon Stakes last out and showed little. That race was likely designed as a prep to get him ready for this spot. He’s better suited going longer distances, will likely get a good trip, and will benefit from having that race under his belt. Trainer Mike Trombetta ranks third among trainers in Maryland Million history with nine victories. Not For Love is the all-time leading stallion at the Maryland Million, having sired the winners of 37 different Maryland Million races.

5. Ain’t Da Beer Cold (6-1)

Jockey: Sheldon Russell

Trainer: Kenny Cox

Owners: Matt Spencer, Kelly Jo Cox, and Bonuccelli Racing

Career record: 20 starts – 5 wins – 4 seconds – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $250,594

Earnings per start: $12,530

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 102

Pedigree: Freedom Child – Distinct Affair, by With Distinction

Age: 4

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Named after a catchphrase of longtime Baltimore sportscaster Chuck Thompson, Ain’t Da Beer Cold is a son of Freedom Child, a former Country Life Farm stallion. He’s found his best stride as a 5-year-old, with back-to-back victories in his last two starts. Last out, he won an allowance optional claiming race at Timonium by a neck, defeating some of the rivals he’ll see here. Two of his three best speed figures on the Brisnet scale have come within his last three races, and he’s posted two consecutive triple-digit Equibase Speed Figures. If he keeps moving forward in Saturday’s race, he’ll be dangerous. Jockey Sheldon Russell has won 11 Maryland Million races, including the Classic with Regal Solo in 2010, Eighttofastocatch in 2011, and Monday Morning Qb in 2020. Freedom Child has sired the winners of three Maryland Million races.

6. The Poser (8-1)

Jockey: Jevian Toledo

Trainer: Hamilton Smith

Owners: Deborah Greene and Hamilton Smith

Career record: 30 starts – 4 wins – 6 seconds – 6 thirds

Career earnings: $258,463

Earnings per start: $8,615

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 106

Pedigree: Bandbox – Heavenly Moon, by Mojave Moon

Age: 5

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The son of the late Bandbox finished a neck behind Ain’t Da Beer Cold in his last race, but impressively won an allowance optional claiming race at Colonial Downs in the race prior. After a slow start to the season, he’s rounded into form as of late, having strong performances in his last three races. He was a solid-closing third in last year’s Classic after racing wide, so it’s reasonable to believe he can do better than that this year with a better trip. Maryland veteran Hamilton Smith has saddled eight Maryland Million winners, including two-time Turf champion Talk Show Man, but has not won the Classic. Jockey Jevian Toledo, one of the longtime leading riders in Maryland, is also looking for his first Classic victory.

7. Vance Scholars (9-2)

Jockey: Jorge Ruiz

Trainer: Dale Capuano

Owner: Steven Newby

Career record: 9 starts – 3 wins – 2 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $179,030

Earnings per start: $19,892

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 103

Pedigree: Holy Boss – Passionate Dancer, by Cat Thief

Age: 3

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Pacesetter

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Sidelined by a condylar fracture for the first part of his 3-year-old season, Vance Scholars returned to the races in August with a gate-to-wire win in the Bald Eagle Derby at Laurel Park. After a dull effort in the Virginia Derby, he wheeled back two days later and finished second in the Cape Henlopen Stakes racing at 1 ½ miles at Delaware Park. His last start, the Japan Turf Cup at Laurel, might have been his best one yet. In the 1 ¼-mile affair, which was washed off the grass and run on dirt, he dueled on a very destructive pace. The two horses he dueled with lost by 24 ½ lengths and 52 ½ lengths. With Armando R and Beacon Hill rolling from behind off the fast fractions, it looked like Vance Scholars was done for. However, he battled back gamely and held on for third, beaten just a length. You don’t see that kind of determination from a 3-year-old every day, and that effort makes him a major contender in Saturday’s race. He’ll likely deal with pace pressure once again, but he’s shown he can handle it. Trainer Dale Capuano is the all-time leading conditioner in Maryland Million history, with 14 wins. He won the Classic in 2006 with Due. Vance Scholars is by Anchor & Hope stallion Holy Boss.

8. Crouchelli (20-1)

Jockey: Forest Boyce

Owner and Trainer: Robert Vukelic

Career record: 53 starts – 4 wins – 7 seconds – 6 thirds

Career earnings: $294,383

Earnings per start: $5,554

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 103

Pedigree: Outflanker – Likeunotloveu, by Not For Love

Age: 7

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Much like his Maryland Million Classic rival Virginia Fulla, Crouchelli has no early speed whatsoever and it’s been his downfall in 2022. A son of Shamrock Farm stallion Outflanker, Crouchelli has yet to win in nine starts this year, but has hit the board four times, including a second-place finish at 53.60-1 behind Ain’t Da Beer Cold three starts back. He’ll need a lot to go right in front of him to have a serious win chance. Jockey Forest Boyce won the Classic in 2013 and 2014 with Eighttofastocatch.

9. Ournationonparade (5-2)

Jockey: Jaime Rodriguez

Trainer: Jamie Ness

Owner: Happy Got Lucky Stable

Career record: 24 starts – 7 wins – 1 second – 6 thirds

Career earnings: $291,521

Earnings per start: $12,147

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 106

Pedigree: Cal Nation – Parade of Colors, by Leading the Parade

Age: 5

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievement and interesting facts: You don’t often see a horse who made their last start at Churchill Downs in the Maryland Million, but Jamie Ness claimed this son of former Country Life stallion Cal Nation for $50,000 last out. He almost certainly had his eye on this race when he made the claim, and who can blame him? This gelding’s won three in a row, including a dominant 9 ¾-length win at Horseshoe Indianapolis two races back. Although he’s competed primarily in sprints in 2022, two of his best three Brisnet figures this year – including the race in Indiana – came at two turns. As long as Ournationonparade doesn’t get caught up in a fast pace, he’ll be in prime position to make a winning move on the far turn. Earlier in his career, he won the Maryland Million Nursery Stakes in 2019. Trainer Jamie Ness and jockey Jaime Rodriguez are dominant together at Delaware Park, but Ness does not win as much in Maryland as he does elsewhere, and Rodriguez rarely rides here. Since the start of the Delaware meet, Rodriguez is 5-for-40 on his Laurel Park excursions.

10. Prendimi (20-1)

Jockey: Paco Lopez

Trainer: Luis Carvajal Jr.

Owner: G. J. Stable

Career record: 33 starts – 6 wins – 9 seconds – 5 thirds

Career earnings: $480,205

Earnings per start: $14,552

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 104

Pedigree: Dance With Ravens – Cigno d’Oro, by Tour d’Or

Age: 7

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Pacesetter

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This New Jersey-bred son of former Northview stallion Dance With Ravens took advantage of a speed and rail-favoring track to win last year’s Classic in a 12.10-1 upset. He’s been no better than fourth in his three starts this year but has improved dramatically with each race. Last out, he hung on well after setting the pace in the Charles Hesse III Handicap at Monmouth Park, but got away with slow fractions he will probably not be able to set in Saturday’s Classic. If Prendimi pulls the surprise, he’d join Timely Warning, Algar, Docent, Eighttofastocatch, and Admirals War Chest as multiple winners of the Classic.

11. Monday Morning Qb (15-1)

Jockey: Will Humphrey

Trainer: Norman Cash

Owner: Built Wright Stables

Career record: 12 starts – 3 wins – 3 seconds – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $256,225

Earnings per start: $21,352

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 108

Pedigree: Imagining – How My Heart Works, by Not For Love

Age: 5

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Pacesetter

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Like Prendimi, Monday Morning Qb is also looking for his second Classic win, having won this race in 2020. A son of the late Anchor & Hope stallion Imagining, Monday Morning Qb missed the entire 2021 season and is winless in four starts this year split between Delaware Park and Parx Racing. He led most of the way and held third two back in a tough allowance optional claiming race but was well-beaten in the Governor’s Day Handicap last out after setting fast fractions. The outside post will not do Monday Morning Qb any favors. It might be hard for him to work out a good trip from there.

12. Cordmaker (also-eligible, 7-5)

Jockey: Victor Carrasco

Trainer: Rodney Jenkins

Owner: Hillwood Stable

Career record: 36 starts – 14 wins – 4 seconds – 7 thirds

Career earnings: $989,640

Earnings per start: $27,490

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 116

Pedigree: Curlin – Tanca, by Polish Numbers

Age: 7

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Because he’s not Maryland-sired, Cordmaker can only get in the Classic if it the field drops below eight Maryland-sired entries. If he does draw in, this veteran will be tough to beat. He’s won four stakes races in a row, most recently taking the Grade 3 General George Stakes in February. He has plenty of aptitude around two turns, sporting a 3-for-6 record at this distance. However, he hasn’t raced since that General George performance, so if he does make the starting gate Saturday we’ll see if he can run his usual race first off the bench. Cordmaker would push his career earnings past the $1 million mark with a win in the Maryland Million Classic.

13. Benandjoe (also-eligible, 12-1)

Jockey: Jean Alvelo

Trainer: Hugh McMahon

Owner: Larry Rabold

Career record: 38 starts – 7 wins – 9 seconds – 5 thirds

Career earnings: $330,286

Earnings per start: $8,692

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 105

Pedigree: El Padrino – Saar Treaty, by Saarland

Age: 6

Color: Bay

Running style: Pacesetter

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Benandjoe showed a new dimension to win his previous start, an allowance optional claiming race at Pimlico. Usually a pacesetter, he rallied from last to win the 1 1/16-mile race by a length over Maryland veteran Dixie Drawl and impressive next-out winner Uncle Irish. It was his first start in three months following a dull race in late June. Benandjoe usually runs in the low/mid-90s on the Brisnet scale, which should be good enough to contend. However, with his far outside post (if he draws in) he’ll run the risk of getting caught wide near the pace.