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Trainer Anthony Aguirre Jr. earns first win on opening day at Laurel Park

Benny Havens got Laurel Park’s fall meet off to a rousing start, swinging to the lead on the far turn and fending off Mister Frank’s Way the length of the stretch to give trainer Anthony Aguirre Jr. his first career win in the first race on Friday’s opening day program.

Owned by Aguirre and ridden by 2018 Eclipse Award-winning apprentice Weston Hamilton, Benny Havens ($21.20) covered one mile over a firm Bowl Game turf course in 1:38.92 for a half-length triumph in the $33,000 waiver maiden claiming event for 2-year-olds.

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“It’s a dream come true,” the 24-year-old Aguirre Jr. said. “I’m just happy to get the monkey off my back and get my first win.”

It was the third career start for Benny Havens and seventh for his trainer, whose first came with Red Clay Road July 18 at Laurel. Aguirre’s father, Anthony, is also based at Laurel and owns 140 wins since 2001. His mother, Kaymarie Kreidel, won 190 races as a jockey between 1992 and 2006 and now works full-time as an outrider for the Maryland Jockey Club at Laurel and Pimlico Race Course.

<< Live Oak Plantation homebred American Giant put away heavily favored Still Alive in mid-stretch, reeled in pacesetter Hello Beautiful approaching the wire and edged past to spring a mild upset in Friday’s opening day feature.

Ridden by Julian Pimentel for trainer Mike Trombetta, American Giant ($14.80) ran 5 ½ furlongs in 1:04.34 over a firm Exceller turf course to capture the $42,000 entry level optional claiming allowance for 2-year-old fillies by a neck.

It was the second straight win for the chestnut daughter of Grade 1-winning sprinter More Than Ready, following a three-quarter-length maiden special weight triumph going the same distance Aug. 17 on the grass at Colonial Downs in her second start.

Hunting: Archery hunting for white-tailed and sika deer opened in Maryland on Friday and continues through Jan. 31.

For the 2019-20 season, the statewide bag limit for white-tailed bucks is two deer (no more than one per weapon season). Maryland hunters in Region B (the state’s central, southern, and eastern regions) have the option to take one additional bonus buck after purchasing a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp. The antlerless deer bag limits differ between deer management regions. In Region B the antlerless archery limit is 15.

The sika deer archery season bag limit is three with no more than one being antlered. An antlered sika is defined as a deer with at least one antler visible above the hairline. The sika deer archery season is open in every county.

Multiple Sundays are open to archery hunting in most counties, including on some public lands.

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