Grove excited about Silmaril's shot at $1 million

July 17, 2005|by LARRY YANOS

One million dollar races don't come along every day.

That's why thoroughbred horse trainer Chris Grove, a Frederick, Md., native, is excited about today's Grade II Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park.

Grove will saddle Silmaril in the prestigious million dollar event for 3-year-old fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles.

Sumaya Us Stable's Isola Piu Bella is the slight morning-line favorite in a wide open field of 12. The 68th renewal of the classic has been carded as the 11th race with an approximate post time of 5:44 p.m. It will be televised live on ESPN2.

The $300,000 Leonard Richards, carded as the 10th race with an approximate post time of 5:13 p.m., also will be televised.


Grove said he hopes Silmaril puts him in the national spotlight today.

"I've won some $100,000 races and the one $150,000 race, but this is something extra," Grove said. "We hope to do well."

Silmaril will break from the fourth post position under jockey Ryan Foglesonger and is listed at 6-1 on the morning line.

In her last start in May, Silmaril pulled a stunning upset over 1-5 favorite Ashado in the Grade III $150,000 Pimlico Distaff Breeders' Cup race at Pimlico. For her career, Silmaril shows nine wins, a second and a third in 14 career starts. She has earned more than $400,000.

"She's a nice horse and is always trying," Grove said. "We'll get a real test in the Delaware Handicap. I think she can handle the distance. She has already won races at 5 1/2, 6, 7 furlongs, a mile, a mile-and-sixteenth and mile-and-an-eighth."

Grove thinks the thoroughbred is up for the challenge.

"I normally train at Bowie and ship horses, but I decided to bring some horses to Delaware this summer and prepare better for races," Grove said. "Shipping in this hot weather is not good for the horse."

Grove said the versatile filly is training well for the race.

"She has enough speed to get to the front but I would like to see her lay off the pace, especially with the distance of this race," Grove said. "I think she does her best running from off the pace."

The 36-year-old Grove, who has been training thoroughbreds since 1988, has 37 horses under his care. He is the son of Maryland state steward and former jockey Phil Grove.

You're approved

Racing dates and the stakes schedule for the Laurel Park fall meeting have been approved by the Maryland State Racing Commission.

Thirty-nine stakes races will be contested for purses of nearly $3.8 million. Sixteen of the added money races are for six figures.

The meet opens Sept. 7 with live racing on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the month. Sunday racing will be added in the first week of October.

Highlighting the 78-day stand will be the 20th running of the Maryland Million (Oct. 8) and the Fall Festival Of Racing (Nov. 19), headlined by the Grade I Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash.

Purses for Maryland's Day At The Races have been increased from $1.13 million to $1.43 million. More than half of the 12 races will feature larger purses, including the Classic, which has been upped from $200,000 to $250,000.

The Oaks, Ladies, Distaff, Turf and Sprint also were given $50,000 boosts.

Tickets please

The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships will be held Oct. 31 Belmont Park Racetrack.

You can request a ticket application via e-mail at Please include your name, physical address (no post office box numbers) and phone number to have an application mailed to you.

You also can request an application by writing to 2005 Breeders' Cup Tickets, Belmont Park, P.O. Box 34820, Newark, NJ 07189-4820.

The application deadline is July 20.

Following the deadline, a ticket lottery will determine the order in which applications are processed. Seating assignments will be based on ticket availability. Applications received after the deadline will be handled on a first-come, first-serve basis, if seating is still available.

Larry Yanos is sports editor of The Daily Mail.

He covers horse racing for The Herald-Mail.

He can be reached at 301-733-5131 ext. 2311,

or by e-mail at

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