Skeedattle Associates' Grade 3 winner Just Howard, Maryland 's Horse of the Year in 2017, will get a bit of class relief when he makes his return to Laurel Park 's turf course in the ninth of 10 races today. Just Howard drew the rail in a field of 11 that includes four horses entered for main track only in the $45,000 second-level optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up at 11/16 miles over the All Along turf course layout. It will mark the first time on the grass at Laurel since Just Howard reeled off wins last summer and fall in the 11/16-mile Caveat Stakes against fellow Maryland-breds, the restricted Find Stakes over older horses and the Commonwealth Derby (G3).
More: Today's ninth race is the penultimate leg of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 5-10) which offers a jackpot carryover of $5,197.46. There will also be a carryover of $1,544.86 in the $1 Super Hi-5 for the opener, a maiden special weight for fillies and mares 3 and up scheduled for 11/16 miles on the Dahlia turf course. A total of 98 horses were entered for today's card, an average of 9.8 starters per race. Six grass races drew 68 entries, an average of 11.3 horses per race. On Friday, 92 horses were entered in 10 races, an average of 9.2 starters per race. There are seven races scheduled for the turf which attracted a total of 67 entries or 9.6 starters per race. ... Sunday's card will be highlighted by the $75,000 Polynesian Stakes, a 7-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up that is part of the revived Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship Series.
Men's college basketball
Terps win second gamewith ease on tour of Italy
Freshman forwards Jalen Smith and Bruno Fernando scored 18 and 17 points, respectively, to lead Maryland an 88-64 victory over the host Pisa All-Stars to improve to 2-0 during its preseason tour of Italy. Sophomores Darryl Morsell (Mount Saint Joseph) and Reese Mona helped put Maryland in control early in the second quarter. Freshman Aaron Wiggins finished with 10 points. "I thought we played pretty well tonight," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "We adjusted well and played a much better and complete game compared to Monday. Our trip to Italy is already halfway over; it's gone by quick, so we want to continue getting better and finish this tour 3-0." The Terps play today in Venice.
Four area boys teams earnFab 50 national rankings
Considered by Top Drawer Soccer as probably the toughest league in the country, the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference has three teams in its national preseason Fab 50 poll. Defending MIAA A champion McDonogh, which finished 20-2 last season, starts at No. 11 in the national poll, followed by Archbishop Curley at No. 23 and Loyola Blakefield at No. 33. C. Milton Wright, which brings a ton of experienced talent back from last year's Class 3A state title team, made the poll at No. 40.
Baltimore's Webster in 2ndat First Tee golf tourney
James "Mac" Webster of Baltimore is tied for second (6-under-par 138) in the First Tee of Greater Baltimore Junior Championship at Eagle's Nest Country Club in Phoenix heading into today's final round. Webster shot a 69 Wednesday to get within two shot of leader Evan Chien of Irvine, Calif. Bailey Shoemaker of West Edmeston, N.Y., lead the girls division (3-under-par 141).
Major League Lacrosse : The MLL will unveil winners for outstanding individual regular-season performances at its award show Aug. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the American Theater in Charleston, S.C., which will be aired on Lacrosse Sports Network. Chesapeake Bayhawks coach Dave Cottle is among the finalists for Coach of the Year.
NFL: Ken Mendenhall, who played center at Oklahaoma and went on to make 118 consecutive starts for the Baltimore Colts, was elected to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
— From Sun staff and news services