Five horses will vie for the $300,000 Maryland Million Classic, the featured race of the 12-race Maryland Million Day card Saturday at Laurel Park.
In the post-position draw yesterday, the two favorites for the race, Cuba and Five Steps, drew side-by-side starting gates. Cuba, in the No. 2 position with Pedro Cotto aboard and trained by Robert Dibona, is the 6-5 favorite. Five Steps, with J.D. Acosta in the irons and trained by Chris Grove, is 7-5. The defending champion, Evil Storm at 6-1, is the No. 4 and will be ridden by Jeremy Rose.
The other two horses in the Classic are Diamond David (No. 1 at 20-1) and Blue's Baby Boy (No. 5 at 20-1).
Perhaps the most anticipated race of the day will be the $150,000 Distaff. Nine of the starters have combined for 19 stakes victories. Jet Away Jane, Lexi Star and Talkin About Love are among the horses to watch in that field.
Lexi Star has won five stakes races and earned more than $575,000. Jet Away Jane has won five stakes races. And Talkin About Love has won more than $500,000.
A quirk in the post-position draw resulted in two horses getting numerically appropriate starting gates in the Turf Sprint (the sixth race). In the random draw that uses air-blown pingpong balls, Six String drew the No. 6 position and Natural Seven got the No. 7 gate.