Nationally, things are quiet in stakes activity a week after the Breeders' Cup.
The Northern Dancer Stakes at Laurel, which carries a $100,000 purse and is restricted to Maryland-breds, is the richest event in the country today -- along with stakes that have similar-sized purses in California, New York and Kentucky.
Jose Santos, who rode Short Stay to a five-length victory in the Maryland Million Turf -- which was run in the slop on the main track -- again is the jockey on the Citidancer colt, who faces Private Terms Stakes winner Flying Punch. These two are the only added-money winners in the eight-horse Northern Dancer field.
Four of the starters -- Short Stay, Algar, Aggro Crag and Speedquestor -- carry Northern Dancer blood.
Goldminer's Dream, regarded as the state's best sprinter, drew the rail for tomorrow's seven-furlong Challedon Stakes.
The $60,000 race has attracted such runners as Foxie G., Mary's Buckaroo, Wise Dusty, South Bend and Meadow Lad, and is expected to be one of the most competitive stakes of Laurel's fall season.
"Our horse relishes the slop, and we would have liked to have seen how he fared against that competition," said David Hayden, about missing the Breeders' Cup Sprint last weekend at Belmont Park. Hayden and his wife, Joanne, own the horse.
The $1 million race was won by long shot Desert Stormer, and Da Hoss, who prevented Goldminer's Dream from starting when he scratched from the Mile and went in the Sprint, finished last. Classy Mirage also was a race-day scratch because of the wet track conditions, but her withdrawal came too late to allow Goldminer's Dream into the field.
Hayden said that the main reason trainer Ann Merryman is opting for the Challedon today instead of waiting for the Fall Highweight Championship Stakes at Aqueduct is that "tomorrow we get to run seven furlongs over the Laurel strip under most of the same conditions we could face this winter in the General George Stakes."
That Grade II, seven-furlong race with a $200,000 purse, is
Maryland racing's main winter attraction, along with the Barbara Fritchie Handicap.
Dale Capuano, trainer of Foxie G., said the General George is also the main long-range goal for his horse.
Services for Seward
Services for Bob Seward will be held today at 1 p.m. at Ruck's funeral home at 1050 York Road in Towson. Seward owned, trained and bred thoroughbreds at local tracks for nearly 35 years.
Seward, an insurance broker, died Wednesday at the University of Maryland Hospital as the result of a heart attack and complications from lung reduction surgery. He was 70.
Seward is best remembered for racing such horses as Presto Presto, a multiple stakes winner of $221,791, stakes-placed Outa de Question and Sudanese, a one-time king of the half-mile circuit.
Seward conditioned his own horses at times, but also employed such trainers as Billy Christmas, Elwood Kirk, John Bosley, Sergio Pradenas and J. B. Secor.
He operated Cliffwood Farm in Monkton, where Presto Presto and Outa de Question, now in their 20s, are pensioners. One of Seward's five children, Bart, is a former trainer and rode in amateur steeplechase races.