Admirals War Chest Takes Command in $150,000 Maryland Million Classic
LAUREL, MD – Sinatra Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding’s Admirals War Chest took early command over his nine rivals and continued on to notch a front-running victory in the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic Saturday at Laurel Park.
The Classic highlighted the 30th anniversary celebration of the $1 million Jim McKay Maryland Million, a program reserved for horses sired by accredited stallions standing in Maryland.
Sent to post at 9-2, Admirals War Chest was the recipient of a well-judged ride by Taylor Hole as he showed the way around the first turn and along the backstretch while storing enough energy to withstand a late rush by 3-1 second betting choice Bullheaded Boy by a neck in the 1 1/8-mile main track event.
The son of Elusive Charlie was stalked by Titan Alexander with I’m Mr. Blue and favored Talk Show Man in pursuit along the backstretch before giving them the slip on the turn. The Corby Calazzo-trained 4-year-old gelding sprinted clear and opened up a five-length lead in mid-stretch. Todd Pletcher-trained Bullheaded Boy closed from far back under Nik Juarez but ran out of ground. I’m Mr. Blue finished third, 10½ lengths back and 1¼ lengths ahead of Talk Show Man.
“There wasn’t much speed in the race so Corby said to me, ‘Catch me if you can.’ My job was to open up and run hard,” Hole said. “This horse was coming out of sprints and now stretching out, so the game plan was to run hard the whole way, which is what he did.”
Admirals War Chest ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.49. The late-developing gelding had won twice (both on wet racetracks) in 11 starts, including a front-running 6 ¼-length allowance score at Penn National in his most recent start.
“We had been thinking about this spot for quite some time, but after his last win we decided to go for it,” Calazzo said. “He really likes an off track. We’ve tried him on turf but he really prefers dirt. I was hoping for rain, though. He got onto the lead and we knew that is where he needed to be. He likes to do it his way. He can be kind of temperamental and you have to play a give-and-take game with him.”
Admirals War Chest was bred in Maryland by Dr. Stephen Sinatra.
“It’s awesome. I bred the horse. I own the sire,” Sinatra said. “We were going to sell [the sire], but we took him out of the Keeneland sale. I’m very happy with the horse. All my Elusive Charlies want to go to the lead. All the jocks were fighting with him, trying to get him to race the traditional way, but you saw what he did.”
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