Jockey Jeremy Rose, coming off a three-month suspension for striking a horse in the face at Delaware Park, ended a frustrating day at the Maryland Million at Laurel Park yesterday when he won the $200,000 Ladies, the seventh race of the day, aboard Miss Lombardi.
Until then, Rose - who has said he did not intentionally whip Appeal to the City in the face during a race June 23 - had been on chalk or near-favorite entries in the first five races yesterday. But although he finished in the money in four of those races, he managed nothing better than a second place, in the $200,000 Turf, the fourth race, with Dr. Rico.
Last year was a similar run for Rose, when he went winless in seven races before winning the Classic on Evil Storm. Yesterday, aboard Evil Storm in the Classic again, Rose finished third.
"It's always a relief to get a win because it takes some of the pressure off and it makes you ride a little more relaxed," Rose said after his seventh-race victory.
Rose's suspension from the Delaware Park incident was originally for six months, but the penalty was reduced to three months. He said he was reinstated Monday.
"Compared to other suspensions, I thought it was a little excessive, but the fact of the matter is that I put myself in that position and the fact of the matter is that it was also bad timing," Rose said, referring to the scrutiny horse racing is under after high-profile track deaths such as Barbaro's after the 2006 Preakness and Eight Belles' at this year's Kentucky Derby.
"To keep everyone happy, they gave me the maximum, but at the same time, they're trying to make it as humane as possible for the horses."
In the first race, the $50,000 Starter Handicap, Let Me Be Frank, with Travis Dunkelberger riding, ran away from the eight-horse field, winning by 10 lengths. The 6-year-old bay gelding paid $8.20 to win and was followed across the finish line by Belle's Broker, second, and Morethanclever, third. The two-time defending champ in the Starter Handicap, Off the Glass, finished sixth.
Tim Keefe, a Maryland-born-and-raised trainer, won his second Maryland Million race with Celtic Innis in the $150,000 Sprint, the day's second race, which featured just four starters. The six-furlong dash was Celtic Innis' first stroll to the winner's circle in two years, and he paid off at $13. Lemons of Love was second, and Grand Champion finished third.
A long-shot 4-year-old gray-roan filly, Swear Allegiance, won the $50,000 Distaff Starter, the third race. Ridden by Dunkelberger and paying $26.20 to win, Swear Allegiance won by nearly three lengths over Auntie Millie, with Kenaharra third.
In the fourth race, the $200,000 Turf, Broadway Producer ($4.20 to win) and Horacio Karamanos edged Dr. Rico and Rose. Knight in Armour was a distant third.
The fifth race, the $150,000 Nursery for 2-year-olds was won by Juke Joint ($4.20), with Dale Beckner riding. Cool Punch was second, and Mr. Keeper was third.
In the sixth race, the $100,000 Turf Sprint, a filly, Kosmo's Buddy ($14), with Eric Camacho in the irons, beat a field of colts and geldings and edged Natural Seven by a nose. Lycurgus was third.
The seventh race, the $200,000 Ladies, was Rose's breakthrough on Miss Lombardi ($9.60) with Debbie Sue second and Beau's trip third. The most local name in the Million field, Miss Charm City ($10.40) won the $150,000 Lassie, the eighth race, with Karamanos riding. Fools in Love and Blind Date were second and third, respectively.
Bowie-based trainer Chris Grove put a win on the board in the ninth race, the $150,000 Oaks, with Sweet Goodbye ($4.20). J.D. Acosta was riding. Saxet Heights was second, and Love for Not placed third.
The 12th and final race, the $30,000 Sprint Starter, was won by He's a Dixie Boy ($26.60), ridden by Luis Garcia. Avonian was second and Noble Nod third.