ABC sportscaster Jim McKay, the founder and president of the Maryland Million horse race, announced today that five major corporations have committed to sponsor the inaugural nine-race event to be run at Laurel Race Course on Oct. 18.
The Maryland Million is a concept patterned after the Breeders' Cup Series that has nine fields of outstanding horses competing for large purses. The Breeders' Cup is national in scope. The Maryland Million is limited to horses conceived in Maryland and whose stallions have been nominated to the program.
Anheuser-Busch is scheduled to sponsor the feature race, a 1 1/4-mile test for 3-year-olds and up that will have a purse of $200,000. Other races will be for turf runners of both sexes. Other sponsors include Reynolds Metals, Business Express Airlines, the First National Bank of Maryland and Ryland Homes.
Those sponsors and the money accumulated by the nominating fees of horses and stallions eligible to participate will contribute to purses that are expected to total $1 million.
"We have 183 stallions nominated to the program," McKay said at a media luncheon today, "and judging by the response from the corporate sponsors and horsemen, we will have what amounts to a very special day in Maryland racing every year."