Steve Hamilton
(Laurel Park)

Jockey Steve "Cowboy" Hamilton earned the first victory of his riding comeback Sunday, piloting owner-trainer Robert Vukelic's Bo Vuk to a 4 3/4-length victory in the third race at Laurel Park. It was Hamilton's first win in 10 years.

Sent off at 9-1 in the $22,000 maiden claiming event for 3-year-olds and up, Bo Vuk ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1 minute, 5.46 seconds over a muddy and sealed main track in just his second career start.


"I've been waiting for that one," Hamilton, 42, said. "Words don't describe being back on that end of it."

Hamilton had more than 1,200 victories and was one of the top five riders in Maryland at the time of his retirement in Dec. 2006. He rode from 1990 to 2000 before leaving for his native Oklahoma, returning in January 2004 and winning spring meet titles at Pimlico Race Course in 2004 and 2005.

Digest: Chief Istan holds on in $75,000 Challedon at Laurel Park

Displaying his affinity for an off track, Chief Istan passed pace-setting Big Guy Ian in midstretch and turned back a late bid from Rockinn On Bye to capture the $75,000 Challedon on a rainy Saturday at Laurel Park.

Bo Vuk, a 3-year-old chestnut Notional gelding, was forced to steady leaving the starting gate and raced near the back of the eight-horse field before launching his bid from the two path nearing the three-eighths pole. Hamilton steered him three wide for the stretch where they caught pacesetter Tizdejaslew in the final eighth and pulled away.

"Jimbo's got something to do with this horse and that means a lot to me. He's a good friend of mine," Hamilton said of Jim Bracciale, who works with Vukelic. "The horse settled great, settled in, and when I asked him he was right there like push-button and finished up running. It feels great, man."

Before his win Sunday, Hamilton had gone 0-for-56 with nine seconds and three thirds starting commencing his comeback with 12 races at the Maryland State Fair meet at Timonium Aug. 26 – Sept. 5. Laurel Park's fall meet opened Sept. 9.

More Laurel Park: The 20-cent Rainbow 6 was taken down by one lucky bettor for the second consecutive day for a payoff of $1,123.98. … Jockey Jevian Toledo swept the early daily double with Classic Wildcat ($7) in the first race and Maggie Wag ($4.40) in the second. Victor Carrasco also had a riding double, aboard Risky Guy ($8.40) in the fourth and Just Jack ($9) in the eighth, while Horacio Karamanos was first with How's Your Sugar ($9.60) in the seventh and My Adeline ($3.80) in the ninth. Trainer Kieron Magee saddled Maggie Wag and Boon Companion ($5.40) in the sixth.

Four-star big man Bruno Fernando is first to commit to Terps' Class of 2017

Fernando is ranked No. 62 overall by and the No. 6 center prospect.

Maryland men's basketball

4-star forward-center Fernando first commit for 2017

The Maryland men's basketball team received its first oral commitment in the Class of 2017 from four-star recruit Bruno Fernando, a 6-foot-10, 225-pound big man from Angola who plays at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Fernando, who was a member of the Angolan junior national team that won the African championships this year and also played on the men's national team that played in the Olympic qualifying event, committed after taking an official visit to College Park this weekend. John Mahoney, the coach at IMG Academy and a former assistant under John Beilein at Michigan and West Virginia, confirmed Fernando's decision to play at Maryland. Fernando is ranked No. 62 overall by and the No. 6 center prospect, though Mahoney said Fernando is more of a stretch-4, a power forward who can play on the perimeter. He was ESPN's No. 71 prospect in the Class of 2016 before reclassifying. Fernando originally committed to Southern Methodist but decommitted after Larry Brown resigned.

— Don Markus

Et cetera

Speed skating: Thomas Hong, a Maryland student who lives in Laurel and graduated from Atholton, finished third in the A Finals 500-meter race at the Short Track World Cup Qualifier/AmCup in Kearns, Utah. The short track team will be announced today for the International Skating Union Short Track World Cup on Nov. 4-6 in Calgary.

Men's soccer: D.C. United defender Steve Birnbaum was named to the United States men's national soccer team's final roster for friendly matches Oct. 7 in Cuba and Oct. 11 at RFK Stadium in Washington.

Birnbaum, who has made eight appearances for the national team, made his World Cup qualifier debut against Guatemala in March, was selected to the final roster for the Copa America Centenario and most recently played for the U.S. in a World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago in September. Birnbaum, one of eight MLS-based players to make the roster, was scheduled to join the team in Miami on Sunday.


"It shows the faith that Jurgen [Klinsmann] has in Steve that he's going to be a part of this process," said D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen. "Qualification is a whole other experience that pushes him in his development. It expands you and challenges you and ultimately that's going to make him a better player. That will translate to our crew here, so I'm very excited that he gets that opportunity. It's well deserved and now he's got to go there and make the best of it."

National Women's Soccer League: The Washington Spirit will face the Western New York Flash at 5 p.m. Sunday in the title game in Houston. The Flash beat the Portland Thorns, 4-3, in a semifinal Sunday.

College football: Salisbury freshman linebacker Patrick Bernardo was named New Jersey Athletic Conference Defensive Rookie of the Week.

Women's college soccer: Towson (5-8-1, 2-2 Colonial Athletic Association) allowed two goals in the first 26 minutes in a 2-0 defeat to visiting Drexel (7-5-1, 3-1). … Three second-half goals lifted UMBC (5-7, 1-2 America East Conference) to a 3-0 win over visiting Maine (6-4, 2-1). … Karli Sottung and Rachel Feldman scored as host Navy (5-7-2, 2-1-1 Patriot League) earned a 2-2 draw with Holy Cross (1-8-2, 0-1-2) in double overtime. … Carla Jackson's goal with 18 seconds left lifted Central Connecticut (3-8-1, 1-0 Northeast Conference) to a 1-0 victory over visiting Mount St. Mary's (3-6-1, 0-1). … Gillian Sawyer (Wilde Lake) scored in the 32nd minute to become St. Mary's College of Maryland's all-time points leader as the host Seahawks (5-4, 2-0 Capital Athletic Conference) earned a 2-1 win over Frostburg State (4-7, 1-2) on Saturday.

Women's college volleyball: Kelsey Wicinski served a career-high six aces and three Maryland players had double-digit kills but the host Terps (8-8, 0-4 Big Ten Conference) fell to No. 24 Illinois (10-5, 3-1) in five sets, 18-25, 25-22, 28-30, 25-23, 14-16.

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