On Saturday, October 19, Forest Fire crossed the wire first to win the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic, the highlight of the 34th Jim McKay Maryland Million card. Owned by Shirley Lojeski and trained by John Servis, the Pennsylvanian-bred four-year-old is by Maryland sire Friesan Fire. Jockey Paco Lopez piloted Forest Fire to his third straight victory and seventh win out of 13 starts.
During the Maryland Million Day festivities, backstretch advocate and former jockey Bobby Lillis was presented with the Touch of Class Award by the Maryland Horse Industry Board. Lillis recently was recognized with the Thoroughbred Industry Community Award through the Godolphin Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards program. Lillis is the Executive Director of the Maryland Horsemen’s Assistance Foundation Inc. and Director of Benefits for the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.
Meanwhile, moving farther north in the State, it was cross-country day at the 2019 Dutta Corp Fair Hill International! Woods Baughman and C’est La Vie 135 moved into the top slot on the leaderboard of the CCI3*-L by jumping double clean. In the CCI4*-L division, some video reviews of Farm House Corners (21AB) by officials revealed that three of the top of the field did not make it within the flags of the second corner and were assessed 15 jump faults. This shook up the standings moving Waylon Roberts and Lancaster into the top slot.
Back in the three-star, Danielle Poulsen popped out of the tack in The Winery (5AB) and thus was eliminated from competition. The rest of the Maryland contingent in the three-star jumped around clean with time faults. Alyssa Peterson and R-Perfect Storm and Jules Ennis and Cooley O both nearly made the time with only 2.4 time faults. Alyssa moved up to 19th place while Jules moved up to 20th. Colleen Rutledge and C Me Fly dropped down to 26th after receiving 11.6 time faults. Juli Sebring moved up to 37th with Welbourne and Monica Fiss moved up to 49th with Malibu Rock.
In the four-star, Sydney Solomon withdrew before the start of cross-country. That left Alexandra MacLeod and Colleen Rutledge representing Maryland in the four-star. Colleen and Covert Rights had an unfortunate run-out costing them both jump and time penalties. This knocked them down to 20th going into tomorrow’s final show jump phase. Alexandra and Newmarket Jack cruised around the four-star course jumping clean with just 9.2 time faults to move up to 15th!
On Sunday morning, 50 three-star and 30 four-star horses will be presented in the final horse inspection before show jumping to determine this year’s Dutta Corp FHI winners.