Going through that, Keefe understands how it can take time for both a person and a horse to comprehend what's necessary for success.

In the case of Eighttofasttocatch, he's never been an easy horse to work, because he wanted things his way and his way didn't include working along side otherhorses.

"But every time in training, I saw something better or different," Heft said. "But he looked gawky. I sat with Tim — who is a heck of a trainer — one day and said, 'He reminds me of a kid, a 16 year-old, who's 7 feet tall with lots of basketball talent. But he hasn't developed yet.' What we decided to do — with Tim's urging — was to go slow and not run him early."

Keefe took him to his farm to let him grow up. While he was there, Eighttofasttocatch had chips removed from his knees and didn't run as a 3-year-old. When he came back to the track, he started to put his lessons together.

As far as Gigi, Heft credits that idea to Keefe.

"I have nothing to do with the goat," Heft said, with humor in his voice. "That's Tim's department, and whatever Tim has done, it's working."

Heft said Catcher has been "something else" over the last year and a half, and his jockey Sheldon Russell lights up when he talks about him.

"I love him," Russell said. "He's matured and gotten better and better. It's just nice to see it. It's hard to be a horse and get better and better every time out and do it over a year and then two years. This one does that. We still don't know how good he can be."


Maryland Million Day

When: Saturday

Where: Laurel Park

First post: 12:35 p.m.

Tickets: Grandstand and clubhouse seats $5; box suite seats $7.50

For more information: laurelpark.com

Maryland Million Classic Post Position & Odds

1 Fred High 12-1

2 Cactus Charlie 10-1

3 Not Abroad 9-5

4 In the Juice 5-1

5 Eighttofasttocatch 7-5

6 Sumacha'hot 20-1

7 Regal Warrior 12-1