Digest (Oct. 19): Saratoga Bob favored in Maryland Million Classic

After finding trouble early in each of his past three races, Saratoga Bob is favored to find himself back in the winner's circle for the biggest race of his career, today's $150,000 Maryland Million Classic at Laurel Park . The 11/8-mile Classic for 3-year-olds and up is the richest and last of seven stakes and four starter stakes that help comprise the 33rd Jim McKay Maryland Million Day program. Post time for the first of 12 races is noon. The Classic is the 11th race on the program. Trained by Katy Voss, bred by Voss and her longtime companion Bob Manfuso, and co-owned by the couple and Wayne Harrison, Saratoga Bob is listed at 3-1 on the morning line, the top choice of 10 Maryland Million-certified horses. Defending Classic champion Bonus Points is the 7-5 program favorite as one of three Maryland-bred also-eligibles that are not expected to draw into the race. Saratoga Bob, named for Manfuso, is a 4-year-old son of Friesan Fire that didn't make his debut until last December, finishing second against older horses in a 6-furlong maiden special weight. He has run seven times this year with two wins, two seconds and two thirds at distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. "He's honest," Voss said. "He goes out there and it doesn't matter if he's going short, long, dirt or turf. He just plods along." The Classic will be Saratoga Bob's second attempt at stakes company after finishing fifth in an off-the-turf edition of the Find Sept. 29, contested at one mile. He got bumped at the start and raced near the back early and finished fifth behind multiple stakes winners Sonny Inspired and John Jones – the only time he has run worse than third. The Classic will be the longest Saratoga Bob has run, though he did finish in a restricted allowance on the Laurel turf May 3. Both of his wins have come sprinting. Saratoga Bob will have the services of Edgar Prado , tied with fellow Hall of Famer Ramon Dominguez for the most Maryland Million jockey victories at 17. Prado has been aboard Saratoga Bob six time, including both wins. The 4-year-old breaks from the No. 7 post and carries 119 pounds.

Colleges

Maryland freshman Smithselected for watch list

Maryland freshman Jalen Smith (Mount Saint Joseph) is one of 21 players named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award. Named after Class of 1995 Hall of Famer and three-time NCAA Champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the annual honor in its fifth year recognizes the top centers in men's college basketball. A national committee comprising top college basketball personnel determined the watch list. The winner will be presented at The College Basketball Awards in Los Angeles on April 12.

Field hockey: Second-ranked Maryland held off No. 17 Northwestern to win, 2-1, and clinch at least a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship Friday afternoon at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex. The Terps (16-1, 7-1 Big Ten) have won four conference regular-season titles in their five years in the league.

From Sun staff and news services

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