Maryland Million Week Kicks Off With Russell Winning 5K Division

December 10, 2019

LAUREL, MD - Jockey Sheldon Russell and other runners kicked off Jim McKay Maryland Million week Sunday morning by braving 40 degree temperatures at Laurel Park to participate in the Maryland Million 5K for Special Olympics Maryland.

Russell, a perennial leading rider in Maryland and avid runner, was the first male to cross the finish line at 20:00.2 after beginning the race out of Laurel's starting gate and running down the main stretch.

"It was a little cold this morning, but it was a lot of fun and it's nice to support a good cause like the Special Olympics," Russell said.

Others participating in the 5K included trainer Tim Keefe, jockeys Victor Carrasco and Kali Francois, assistant racing secretary Jillian Tullock, paddock judge Mario Verge and television hosts Gabby Gaudet and Stan Salter.

The Maryland Million, conceived in 1984 by television journalist McKay, is a program of races restricted to the offspring of Maryland-based stallions and will include the $150,000 Classic, $125,000 Ladies and $125,000 Turf. First race post Saturday will be 12:15 p.m. There were more than 150 nominations taken for Saturday's races, including the popular gelding Ben's Cat, trained by Hall of Famer King Leatherbury.

"I feel Maryland Million is the biggest day of the year for us at Laurel," Russell said. "It's a fun week where you participate in as many of the events as you can - we'll try to play in the golf tournament, go to the cocktail party and gala - and that it ends with a great day of racing. I know I'm looking forward to a great week."

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