After leading Maryland's trainers in stakes victories in 1990, Carlos Garcia looks to get a head start this year when he saddles Makin It Great for the $40,000-added Marshua Stakes today at Laurel.
A daughter of 1985 Preakness winner Tank's Prospect, Makin It Great was unraced until she won in the slop at Laurel three weeks ago. She's scheduled to face eight other 3-year-old fillies, among whom New Jersey-based Give Her a Hand is the lone stakes winner.
Saratoga Triple, owned by Howard and Sondra Bender of Bethesda, and Leehawk are coming off allowance victories.
Jockey Marco Castaneda was offered the assignment on Leehawk but selected Makin It Great. Mark Johnston will ride Leehawk. . . .
After going winless in nine straight starts, Amberaleigh rallied yesterday to her third straight victory. Jockey Tommy Turner deftly advanced her along the rail for his third winner on the program.
Alison Saumell, who trains five other horses and also is an exercise rider, said a drop to the $6,500 claiming level has enlivened her huge mare, despite objections. "The last three times, the owner wasn't here," she said. "We've kind of had to sneak her in." . . .
Ack Ack, 1971 horse of the year and a notable sire, died at Claiborne Farm on Dec. 28 in Kentucky as a result of age-related problems. He was 24.
Retired from stud duty last summer, Ack Ack sired 51 stakes winners including Broad Brush, the leading Maryland-bred money winner of all time, and Youth, a champion in the United States and France.
Before going to stud in 1972, Ack Ack had 19 wins and six seconds in a 27-start career, winning $636,641. He won seven handicap races during his championship season, all as the highweight. . . .
This year's Maryland Million will be run Sunday, Sept. 8, at Pimlico and a portion televised by ESPN.
ARCADIA, Calif., Jan. 4 -- A field of 10 headed by Countus In and Little Brianne was entered today in Sunday's $125,000-added San Gorgonio Handicap at Santa Anita.
Countus In, who posted an upset victory as part of the mutuel field in the Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park on Dec. 2, will be ridden by Corey Nakatani and was assigned 119 pounds for the 1 1/8-mile turf race for older fillies and mares.
Countus In, a 6-year-old mare, made her California debut in the Matriarch. She has won nine of 21 starts and earned $387,719.
Little Brianne, another 6-year-old mare who finished third in the Matriarch, a neck behind Countus In, will be ridden by Julio Garcia and was assigned high weight of 121.
Others entered were Royal Touch, who will be ridden by Chris McCarron; Sweet Roberta (Laffit Pincay), Oeilladine (Gary Stevens), Agirlfromars (Alex Solis), Petalia (Kent Desormeaux), Songlines (Jose Santos), Tessla (Corey Black) and Marsha's Dancer (Eddie Delahoussaye).
If all 10 entries go to the post, the total purse will be $132,600 and the winner will earn $76,350.
A field of seven headed by defending champion Stormy But Valid is entered in Saturday's $100,000-added Las Flores Breeders' Cup Handicap.
Stormy But Valid will be ridden by Stevens and is assigned high weight of 121 pounds for the six-furlong race for older fillies and mares.
With Delahoussaye aboard, Stormy But Valid won last year's Las Flores in the stakes-record time of 1:08 1/5.
Stormy But Valid, a 5-year-old mare, has nine wins in 21 starts and career earnings of $446,088. She returned from a four-month layoff to win an allowance race at Hollywood Park on Dec. 2.