Hey, Baltimore, give yourself a pat on the back.
You have helped save another sporting event.
Baltimoreans bought back the Orioles. Others are pushing hard to get an NFL team. Now, mostly through the aid of corporate Baltimore, enough sponsorship money was raised to ensure the eighth running yesterday of the Maryland Million.
This year's Million was moved from Pimlico to Laurel Race Course partly to place the sporting event more near the center of the Washington-Baltimore corridor.
And, of course, that's a laudable idea. The original intention of the Million founders was to move the event from track to track.
But there is a certain irony here.
It's no secret that Pimlico is gaining the reputation as an inner-city racetrack. Laurel, meanwhile, is located near the wealthier Washington suburbs.
L But who came up with the money to stage this year's Million?
Among the chief sponsors and their races were: Harborplace Maryland Lassie, the Baltimore Convention Center Maryland Starter Handicap, the Port of Baltimore Maryland Distaff and four Baltimore-based companies -- Jos. A Bank Clothiers, Crown Central Petroleum, First National Bank of Maryland and its credit card subsidiary, First Maryland Bancorp.
The closest thing to a sponsor from the "Washington-Baltimore" corridor was Baltimore Washington International Airport and USAir.
Come on, D.C., it's time to chip in.
A $15,000 Smile
The top-selling item at the charity auction held at the Maryland Million gala reception Friday night in Columbia was a $15,000 bid to participate in a project called "Operation Smile."
James Hindman, the founder of Jiffy Lube, Inc., and a former Maryland Million sponsor, and a friend, Joel Nicholson, made the bid to accompany Dr. William Magee to a foreign country where he performs corrective surgery on disfigured children.
Philanthropist-racehorse owner Jim Ryan is a major benefactor of the "Operation Smile" project.
Ryan bid $6,000 to have his horse, Awad, painted by Susan Sponenberg, an equine artist from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., who studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
New Orioles owner Peter D. Angelos, who also operates a racing stable, donated the use of a sky box for 12 people for one night at Camden Yards. It was purchased for $2,600 by the Fasig-Tipton horse sales firm.
The auction raised $31,500 for the Maryland Horse Foundation, which distributes the money to various equine charities.
Sentimental night at Timonium
Jimmy Croll is most famous among horse people as the trainer of Bet Twice, the Belmont Stakes and Pimlico Special winner, and of leading sire, Mr. Prospector.
But for 40 years, he also trained such good horses as Parka and Al Hattab for the Pelican Stable of the late Rachel Carpenter.
Croll attended the recent yearling sales at Timonium and purchased the half-brother to Futurity Stakes winner Holy Bull for $16,000.
The yearling toed out (crooked front legs), "but so did Al Hattab when I bought him as a yearling," Croll told Carpenter's cousin, Cynthia McGinnes of Chestertown.
Holy Bull, currently undefeated as a 2-year-old, broke his maiden by 20
lengths at Monmouth Park in August, the same day that Carpenter died. She left Croll the horse in her will.
"I wanted to buy the half-brother, to give him a chance on the track. I felt Rae [Carpenter] would have liked that," Croll said.
McGinnes' Thornmar Farm, meanwhile, was the leading consignor at the sales, selling 15 yearlings for $162,000.
Chip's Dancer coming back
Chip's Dancer, winner of the Goss L. Stryker, Private Terms and Deputed Testamony Stakes at Laurel earlier this year, could make his racing return on Nov. 13 in the Northern Dancer Stakes for Maryland-bred 3-year-olds.
The horse worked his first three furlongs on Friday at Delaware Park in his first morning drill since he fractured a foreleg last spring just days before he was scheduled to run in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.
The horse is owned by Chip Reed of Highland and is trained by Jerry Ferris. Ferris is shipping Chip's Dancer to Laurel in about a week along with four other horses to train for the fall and winter.
MISCELLANEOUS: Laurel/Pimlico is well-represented this weekend at the fifth annual racetrack Alcohol and Drug Abuse Conference in Louisville, Ky. Tony Schefstad, coordinator of the Horsemen's Counseling Program at the Maryland tracks and his assistant, Karen Peck, are serving on a panel entitled "Programs That Work." Schefstad and Peck are currently counseling 60 to 80 backstretch employees. Also attending: Laurel/Pimlico security agent John Key-- and Dan Seamans of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, who have also been asked to speak. . . . Laurel/Pimlico spent about $125,000 to promote yesterday's Maryland Million, using most of the money to buy television and radio advertising, according to Timothy Capps, vice president of communications. . . . Richard Norling, the Washington owner who has horses with Ron Cartwright, recently purchased Whipporwill Farm in Darlington. . . . Among the racing personnel serving on the board of Laurel Commons, the new backstretch housing project, are owner Ken Holt of Abingdon; former Laurel stall superintendent and retired trainer Hayes Brown, and Andre Wheeler of the Dean Gaudet stable.