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Eighttofasttocatch the early favorite in Maryland Million Classic

Eighttofasttocatch, who has run two superlative races at Laurel Park, drew the No. 5 starting gate Wednesday and was named the favorite for Saturday's seven-horse Maryland Million Classic.

The Not for Love gelding — which has been given 7-5 odds — is one of 108 Maryland-siredhorses trained by 69 trainers who will start on the 10-race card at the 26th Jim McKay Maryland Million Day.

"I like the post," Eighttofasttocatch trainer Tim Keefe said. "We're near the outside. I like that. When you're inside, you have no choice but to go and that's not what we want to do with this horse. I'm happy with the post."

Keefe said he is not taking anything for granted, pointing to 9-5 second favorite Not Abroad (another of three Not For Love offspring in the race), In the Juice (Rock Slide) and Fred High (Crypto Star), who is 12-1, as strong contenders.

Fred High's trainer Linda Albert said she believes her horse has a chance.

"I know Eighttofasttocatch is the favorite," she said. "But I think my horse is going to like the distance [a mile and an eighth]. Since I've had him, he's had a first and a second. He's training well and he tries hard. We're hoping to do well."

Maryland Million Day ranks second only to Preakness Day on the state's horseracing calendar. Over its quarter century, 217 stallions have sired winners, while 182 breeders, 226 owners and 141 trainers have visited the winner's circle.

Among this year's entries, three sires will be represented for the first time — Medallist, Scipion and La Reine's Terms, who is the Million Day's oldest winner to date, having won the Turf race at age 10 in 2005.

The newcomers have a long way to go to catch up to the top Maryland Million sires.

This year, Not for Love, 21, is in a race of his own to become the all-time leading sire at the Maryland Millions. With 21 wins, he's just one behind the late Allen's Prospect, and he'll have a good chance to take the lead with 24 of his offspring in the running. He's represented in all 10 races.

An interesting entry not related to Not For Love is Regal Solo, who was bred by Allen Murray. Murray stands Regal Solo's sire, Preakness winner Louis Quatorze, at his Darlington farm.

Regal Solo won the Classic last year, but is returning to racing for the first time since that victory. His trainer Damon Dilodovico, who has worked hard to help the horse recover from bad feet, has chosen to enter him in the Million Sprint, taking the shorter distance of 6 furlongs over the Classic's 1 1/8th miles.

"His feet have been good, probably for a month now," Dilodovico said. "We thought it would be better to go short instead of long, given we've missed blocks [of training] at a time. It will be tough enough going six after being off this long."

With a victory, Regal Solo would become the first horse to ever win three different races on the Maryland Million card.

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

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

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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