Pimlico Race Course closes its 1995 live racing season this weekend, offering a grass stakes for older horses and a 3-year-old sprint as its final two features.
Today's $50,000-added Bald Eagle Handicap pits the filly Nellie Custis against males at 1 3/8 miles on the turf.
Donnie Miller Jr. rides the route-loving daughter of the late grass sire Val de L'orne. She and New Jersey invader Fancy Teddy are the only starters to have won stakes this year over the Pimlico turf course.
But Nellie Custis picks up 13 pounds after her last victory, and favoritism might revert to Augustin Stable's Summer Ensign, winner of the Grade III Seneca Handicap at Saratoga.
The race is so wide-open that track oddsmaker Clem Florio is choosing another horse, Trump Mahal, as the program pick.
Even though he is a former claimer, Trump Mahal recently has found new life on the grass, winning two of his past three starts.
Tomorrow, Frank Hopkins' 3-year-old colt, Aberfoyle, preps for the Maryland Million Sprint in the $30,000 Little Bold John Stakes at six furlongs.
Trainer Billy Boniface had considered using the race as a Million prep for Preakness runner-up Oliver's Twist. But Kevin Boniface, his son and assistant, said yesterday that it was decided the race was too short.
"We'll probably go in the Maryland Million Classic [at the Preakness distance of 1 3/16 miles] and will want to find a little longer prep for him," Boniface said. "He's definitely on target for the Million. I worked him a mile myself today [yesterday], and he went super."
Among Aberfoyle's competitors are War Hostage, who is prepping for the Maryland Million Turf; and Bob Meyerhoff's Scrub Brush.
Meyerhoff owns Pimlico's most famous equine resident, Concern, who runs next Friday night in the $500,000 Meadowlands Cup.
Maryland thoroughbred racing moves Tuesday to Laurel Park.