Holy Bull might not be running in the Maryland Million, but his jockey, Mike Smith, will be at Laurel Race Course on Oct. 1 to ride in the rich 12-race series.
Smith, the nation's leading rider this year with more than $10 million in earnings and regular jockey of Horse of the Year candidate Holy Bull, acknowledged at Woodbine Race Course yesterday, where he finished last in the Molson Export Million on long shot Alynar, that he is Maryland Million-bound.
"I don't exactly know yet what horses I'll be riding, but I'll be there," Smith said.
Charlie Hadry, trainer for Maryland Million president Stuart Janney III, said he plans to run six or seven horses on the Maryland Million card and expects Smith to ride most of them.
"At least the three best ones -- Military Look [a previous double winner of the Sprint in 1993 and the Nursery in 1992], Warning Glance and Ritchie Trail," Hadry said.
He added that local agent Mitch Berman is representing Smith for the Maryland Million card.
In addition, the program's publicist, Joe Kelly, said trainer King // Leatherbury is rethinking his plan of running Taking Risks in the Kentucky Cup Classic on Saturday and might opt instead for the Maryland Million. The horse would face Preakness winner Tabasco Cat, Best Pal and Valley Crossing in Kentucky, but if he stays at Laurel, he would be the odds-on favorite in the Maryland Million Classic.
Kelly expects recent Jermone Handicap winner Prenup to start in the Maryland Million Sprint. That horse is ridden by Jerry Bailey, the sixth-leading U.S. jockey, who also could be available ride on the Maryland Million card if Prenup makes the start.
Preliminary entries for the race will be taken Thursday. Post positions will be drawn a week later.
One horse unlikely to run in the Maryland Million is Rose Law Firm, five-length winner yesterday of the $35,000 Queen Empress Stakes at Pimlico Race Course at a mile on the turf.
"This filly is better on the grass and I don't think I'd run her seven furlongs on the dirt [in the Maryland Lassie for 2-year-old fillies]," said Billy Boniface, who trains the horse for his brother-in-law, Howard County agribusiness operator Kenny Warfield.
But Boniface said he has three other Maryland Million entries -- Fly So High, who will run against Mz. Zill Bear in the Maryland Million Ladies, and the entry of Churchbell Chimes and Loved To Be Loved, who could be favored in the Maryland Million Oaks.
Albert Delgado rode Rose Law Firm yesterday and said he purposely kept the filly wide to avoid the chewed-up Pimlico grass course that is worn after a summer of use. "It's pretty nasty," Delgado said, echoing the sentiments of the other jockeys.
Rose Law Firm is a Boniface home-bred and is from the first crop of the Bonita Farm stallion Mr. Goldust, a son of Mr. Prospector.
NOTES: Robert Meyerhoff's Concern finished third as the 8-5 favorite yesterday in the Molson Export Million. Jockey Bailey said the horse had trouble handling the track. "He tried really hard, but he couldn't get across this kind of surface as good as he did down at Saratoga [where he was second in the Travers Stakes]," Bailey said. Concern was beaten by 4 1/2 lengths by winner Dramatic Gold and runner-up Bruce's Mill. . . . In addition to winning the Grade I Man o'War Stakes at Belmont Park with Royal Mountain Inn on Saturday, trainer Barclay Tagg finished third with Circus Music in the Montclair State College Stakes at The Meadowlands that day and fourth with Older But Smarter at Pimlico. . . . As expected, the Virginia Racing Commission has extended the decision process and won't award a license to build the state's first pari-mutuel track until Oct. 12.