Today's Fall Festival of Racing at Laurel Park features the $250,000 De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) and six other stakes. The 26th running of the 6-furlong De Francis for 3-year-olds and up highlights a 12-race program worth $900,000 in purses. Post time is 1:10 p.m. Laurel will host eight stakes races on the turf during its fall meet, including three graded — the $200,000 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G2), $200,000 Commonwealth Derby (G3) and $150,000 Commonwealth Oaks (G3). Three weeks later, Laurel will once again be home of the Jim McKay Maryland Million. Laurel will host a Breeders' Cup party Nov. 3-4 and will follow that up Nov. 11 with a race program highlighted by six stakes — including the $100,000 Safely Kept and $100,000 City of Laurel – as well as a tribute to late Mid-Atlantic legend Ben's Cat. On Nov. 18, the Brew and Bourbon Classic returns.
Friday's feature: Morgan's Ford Farm's multiple stakes winner Crabcakes tuned up for the 32nd Jim McKay Maryland Million Oct. 21 with a 5¾-length romp over her seven rivals in the 10th race at Laurel Park. Bred in Maryland by the late Elizabeth "Binnie" Houghton's Buckingham Farm and trained by her nephew, Bernie Houghton, Crabcakes ($2.80) ran 6 furlongs in 1:09.63 over a fast main track. It was the second straight win for the 3-year-old daughter of Great Notion following her 1¼-length triumph in the Miss Disco Aug. 19 at Laurel, which came just 12 days after Binnie Houghton passed away from a respiratory illness.
Ovechkin turns attentionto success with Capitals
Alex Ovechkin doesn't think the Washington Capitals suddenly stink. Forwards Justin Williams, Marcus Johansson and Daniel Winnik and defensemen Karl Alzner, Nate Schmidt and Kevin Shattenkirk are gone, as are the expectations of Washington being a no-doubt Stanley Cup contender following another disappointing playoff exit. But now that he has put the Olympic question to bed, Ovechkin is ready to prepare for a different kind of season and show that he and the Capitals are still relevant. "I think we have still good team," Ovechkin said Friday after the first practices of training camp. "We're gonna be fine." On paper, the Capitals lost 60 goals from their departed forwards alone and will be counting on more from Ovechkin — who turns 32 Sunday — and fellow leaders Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Back-to-back seasons with the NHL's most points were followed by a salary-cap crunch that will infuse Washington's roster with some young, unproven talent and put the onus on the big-money players to shoulder a bigger load.
Boxing: Jake Smith's Baltimore Boxing Promotions will host Olympic-style boxing while assisting a member of the boxing community in need with "Punches and Prayers for Alan Blyweiss" on Sept. 21 at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie. Blyweiss, in declining health, had more than 80 amateur fights and a brief pro career. To help raise funds for Blyweiss' medical bills, Baltimore Boxing Promotions is hosting a 50/50 raffle and silent auction. Tickets are available by going to Baltimoreboxing.com or calling 410-375-9175. The event will be headlined by the East Coast heavyweight championship clash between Baltimore Boxing's Brian "Bam Bam" Haneschlager and Alexander Jefferson of Raleigh, N.C.
College field hockey: Ninth-ranked Maryland (4-2) scored all three of its goals in the second half to win at Indiana, 3-1, Friday in both teams' Big Ten opener. The Terps won their third straight game and fifth all-time vs. the Hoosiers (4-3). Senior Lein Holsboer scored twice and junior Linnea Gonzales once for the Terps. ... Freshman Valerie Henderson's first career goal lifted Johns Hopkins to a 2-1 win over Rhodes in ovrtime.
College volleyball: Washington College junior outside hitter Kaitlyn Marino has been named the HERO Sports D3Volleyball Hero of the Week. ... Towson battled through 32 ties and 13 lead changes for a 3-1 win over Fort Wayne in the opening match of the Golden Grizzlies Invitational on Friday afternoon. Junior Jocelyn Kuilan paced the Towson (12-0) attack with 25 kills.
Brigance Brigade: On Oct. 6, the Brigance Brigade Foundation, an ALS patient support organization, will celebrate former NFL player O.J. Brigance's 48th birthday and honor his fight against ALS at the third annual Soiree with O.J. – A Rockin' Good Time. All proceeds from the celebration will go to the Brigance Brigade Foundation. The event will be held from 7-10 p.m. at Valley Mansion (594 Cranbrook Road, Cockeysville, 21030). Tickets to the event are $100 and are available at BriganceBrigade.org.
— From Sun staff and news services