‘Magician’ Can Cast Winning Spell in $100,000 Maryland Million Turf

October 21, 2021

Epic Idea Returns for Another Shot in $100,000 Maryland Million Ladies

LAUREL, Md. – Bell Gable Stable’s Somekindofmagician, two months after becoming a stakes winner in his previous trip to Maryland, returns looking to conjure up a similar result in Saturday’s $100,000 Maryland Million Turf at Laurel Park.

The Turf for 3-year-olds and up and Ladies for fillies and mares 3 and older, both contested at 1 1/8 miles on the grass, are among eight stakes and four starter stakes on the 36th Jim McKay Maryland Million program, ‘Maryland’s Day at the Races’ celebrating the progeny of stallions standing in the state.

Highlighted by the $150,000 Classic for 3-year-olds and up, first race post time is 11:30 a.m.

Trained by Gary Contessa for owners Nick and Delora Beaver, Somekindofmagician capped a three-race win streak with his 1 ¾-length upset of the 1 1/16-mile Find at odds of 9-1 over a yielding turf course Aug. 21 at historic Pimlico Race Course.

It was the sixth career win for the 7-year-old Street Magician gelding, half of those coming in six starts this year since Contessa came out of retirement to take over as private trainer for Delaware Park-based Bell Gable.

“I think, honestly, that he’s responding to Gary’s regimen. Not all horses do. We have horses that have not quite responded and maybe regressed a little bit, but he’s been the one horse that when you walk down the shedrow and Delora will have carrots in her hand, he’ll almost run through the webbing,” Nick Beaver said. “He just feels so good. We’ve had him for about four years now and I’ve never seen him look so good.”

The Find victory came during a career-best stretch for Somekindofmagician, who will be making his fifth straight appearance in the Turf having run second in 2017 and 2019 for previous trainers Jamie Ness and Mike Trombetta and sixth last year, again with Ness. His win streak ended when he ran third, beaten three lengths, in a 7 ½-furlong optional claiming turf sprint Sept. 30 at Delaware.

“That last race, he had nowhere to go. At Delaware, the stretch is a little bit shorter and he was stuck behind a whole wall of horses. He was flying at the end. If that race would have been a mile he would have won that race. He’s ready. We have no excuses. If he doesn’t win, he just gets beat by a better horse that day. He’s probably the best he’s ever been in his life right now,” Beaver said. “He is on top of his game right now. We’re excited. We’re just waiting for Saturday.”

Somekindofmagician, rated at 9-2 on the morning line, will have Angel Cruz back for the third straight race, breaking from Post 5 in a field of 13 including three also-eligibles.

The 2-1 program favorite is last year’s Turf runner-up, Taking Risks Stable’s Cannon’s Roar, beaten a length last year by 15-1 long shot Pretty Good Year, who returns to defend his title. Cannon’s Roar ran fifth in the Find and came back to be third, a half-length behind winner Xy Speed, in the 5 ½-furlong Laurel Dash Oct. 2 as his Million tune-up.

“It’s just been hard to get races to fill for him. I was training him to go long and I just couldn’t get anything to go, so the sprint came up and we tried to sharpen him up a little bit,” trainer Dale Capuano said. “He ran well, so now I can go from short back to long, which I like to do. Hopefully, he’ll run well. He had a terrific work the other day, and he should be ready to go.”

Capuano owns the most wins of any trainer in Maryland Million history with 14, including three last year and the 1999 Turf with Private Slip. Still seeking his first career stakes win, Cannon’s Roar will have Charlie Marquez aboard from Post 1.

“He hasn’t won one yet. He’s been unlucky in a couple of them, but nothing yet. The weather’s supposed to be good so the turf should be good and hopefully we get a good trip and we’ll see if we can finally get one,” Capuano said. “He has enough speed to get himself in a good position. Hopefully it’ll all go well. He should be all right.”

In all, four horses return from last year’s Turf including Nick Papagiorgio, who ran third. Also entered are Raven’s Delight, Benny Havens, Johng, Trifor Gold, Street Copper and Up Against It with Beltway Bob, Robert’s Luxury and Who’s Counting on the also-eligible list.

Epic Idea Returns for Another Shot in $100,000 Maryland Million Ladies

Epic Idea finished first in the 2020 edition of the Maryland Million Ladies Stakes but was DQ’d and placed second for drifting and interfering with the #9, Gennie Highway. (MJC)

Disqualified from a first-place finish in last year’s race, Vivan Rall’s homebred Epic Idea will get a second chance at becoming a Maryland Million winner in Saturday’s $100,000 Ladies.

A 5-year-old Great Notion mare, Epic Idea led every step of the way in the 2020 Ladies to edge Gennie Highway by three-quarters of a length. She survived a steward’s inquiry following the race but was placed second upon review of the Maryland Racing Commission in May.

Epic Idea made her 2021 debut in the $100,000 The Very One May 14 at historic Pimlico Race Course where she ran up against subsequent Grade 3 winner Caravel, finishing eighth by less than four lengths. She has run third in back-to-back turf sprints, including a half-length loss to next-out winner Polished Gal in a Laurel allowance Sept. 30.

“Epic Idea has been training great,” trainer Michael Merryman said. “Hopefully we have her ready to go two turns. The way the races set up, we sprinted the last two races and she ran well in both. It’s a bit tougher field than last year, so we’ll see how it plays out.”

Daniel Centeno gets the riding assignment from Post 4.

Hillwood Stable’s 3-year-old homebred filly Misty’s Banshee will be making just her third career start and first in a stakes in the Ladies for fall meet-leading trainer Brittany Russell. A daughter of Golden Lad out of the Malibu Moon mare Misty in Malibu, she exits a front-running triumph Sept. 23 at Laurel in a one-mile maiden claimer originally carded for the grass.

“The last time she ran great, and I think she’ll love the turf. I know it’s a lot to ask off a maiden win, but we’ve always thought highly of her ability. It’s a matter of getting her brain right,” Russell said. “We’ve always really liked this filly, but she has been a [challenge] to get to the races. She’s had a tough path, but I think we finally got her on the right track.

“Her mother was a turf horse and she trains like she would like the turf. She liked that tight, sealed track the day she broke her maiden when it came off, if that is any indication,” she added. “You hope she’s better on the turf.”

Kevin Gomez, up for each of her first two starts, both also against older horses, rides from Post 7.

Bonuccelli Racing’s Breviary will be racing first time off the claim for trainer Kenny Cox, who took the 4-year-old filly for $25,000 out of a one-mile event Oct. 7 at Laurel. She has three career wins but is 0-for-4 lifetime on turf including a sixth in last year’s Ladies, when she was beaten 3 ¾ lengths.

“When we went back and looked at her turf races, every time she ran it seemed like she was pretty far back and the winner went wire to wire and didn’t back up enough for her,” Cox said. “We’re going to go ahead and take a chance. We’re going to try and get her to lay a little closer. Last year she ran in it for the other connections and got beat [3 ¾] lengths to the horse that won that went wire to wire. She had to make up a lot of ground. I know we’re taking a shot but I don’t think it’s out of the question that she can’t run well in there.”

Jevian Toledo has the call in the Ladies for a second straight year, breaking from Post 2.

The 5-2 program favorite is Burke, Campbell and Picarello’s I Love You, coming out of a 7 ¼-length open allowance romp going one mile Sept. 11 on the Laurel turf. She owns four wins and two seconds from eight lifetime tries on the grass and has a record of 2-2-1 in five starts since being claimed for $160,000 in February.

Holly’s Lady, Maldives Model, Tipsy Chatter, Artful Splatter, Sally’s Mustang, Fool Yourself, Amplio Esquema, Judi Blue Eyes, Brushing and also-eligibles Awesome Jazz and Good Life Cider complete the field.

For info on the Best Breeders’ Cup Seminar click HERE.

David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club

Top Photo: Somekindofmagician winning the Find Stakes eating Black Type under Angel Cruz at Pimlico on Aug. 21, 2021. (MJC)

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