It may only be Thursday but Ocean Downs in Maryland will be holding one of the richest harness racing programs in North America with the $117,700 Maryland Standardbred Race Fund Stakes. There will be six divisions for 3-year-old trotters and pacers.
The first two divisions are early, non-wagering races starting at 6:40 pm. The first division is for 3-year-old pacing fillies for a purse of $17,100. Featured is Stylish Lady from post four for driver Tony Morgan. The daughter of By A Length is currently on a two-race winning streak for breeder, owner and trainer George Leager of Sudlersville, Md. Stylish Lady has won three of her last four starts including a lifetime best 1:57.4 record at Harrington Raceway.
The second non-wagering division has a purse of $16,250 and is for sophomore trotting fillies. Heading the field are recent winners Irish Sport (post 2) for driver Brett Brittingham and Glitter Galore (post 4) for driver Sean Bier.
The pari-mutuel race card gets underway with MSRF stakes right in the very first race with the $16,400 second division for pacing fillies. Starlit Eyes looks to be the overwhelming favorite as the daughter of CR Commando sports earnings this year of $128,000 with her big triumph coming on July 25 for driver Ross Wolfenden in winning the $100,000 DSBF final at Harrington.
The first $17,150 division for pacing colts is race 3 Rebel Soldier starts from post five for driver Steve Warrington. The gelded son of Quik Pulse Mindale, who is bred, owned and also trained by Warrington of Galena, Delaware, is on a two-race win streak and has won four of his last six starts, the fastest a lifetime mark of 1:55.4 right at Ocean Downs.
The richest of the six division is the eight race for trotting colts and gelding for a purse of $32,550. The entry from trainer/driver Les Givens is listed as the 2-1 morning line favorite and rightly so. Solo Command, who will be driven by Jim Morand, starts from two and has won $69,000 this year with three wins. He was second in the $100,000 DSBF final and has a record of 1:59.1 at Ocean Downs.
The 10th race $17,250 final division is for pacing fillies and headlining the field is Art Frenzy from post four for driver Jonathan Roberts. The filly by Art Major is owned and trained by Bill Popfinger of Lighthouse Point, Fla. and was undefeated at age two going 7 for 7. Now three, Art Frenzy has six wins in 2013 and earnings of more than $55,000. She also has a record of 1:53.2 and has won three of her last four starts. (MSRF)