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Mike Maker Captures Preakness Weekend Trainer Bonus

BALTIMORE – Mike Maker edged defending champion Brad Cox and two-time winner Steve Asmussen to claim the top prize in the Maryland Jockey Club’s $100,000 Sentient Jet Trainer Bonus offered to horsemen for their participation in stakes races over Preakness weekend, Oct. 1-3, at Pimlico Race Course.

Maker led the way with 43 points, three more than Cox and Asmussen, to earn a $50,000 bonus. Maker registered wins with 2-year-old colt Catman in the $150,000 Laurel Futurity and 3-year-old filly Evil Lyn in the $100,000 Hilltop on Saturday’s Oct. 3 undercard of the 145th Preakness Stakes (G1).

Also on Saturday, Maker ran second and third with Somelikeithotbrown and Hembree in the $250,000 Dinner Party (G2), fifth with Admiral Lynch in the $200,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3), Storm the Hill in the $150,000 Gallorette (G3) and Golden Voice in the $150,000 Selima, and fifth and ninth with Jolting Joe and Chocolate Bar in the $100,000 James W. Murphy.

Maker also finished third in the $200,000 Chick Lang (G3) with Relentless Dancer and sixth in the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint with Tiger Blood Oct. 1.

Cox and Asmussen tied for second with 40 points apiece, each taking home $18,500. On Preakness Day, Cox beat Maker in the Dinner Party with Factor This and Gallorette with Juliet Foxtrot, finished second with Bonny South in the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2), fourth with Mundaye Call in the $150,000 Miss Preakness (G3), sixth with Landeskog in the De Francis and Nautilus in the Laurel Futurity and 7th with Andesite in the Murphy.

On Oct. 1, Cox ran second in the historic $250,000 Pimlico Special (G3) with Owendale, who ran third in last year’s Preakness in the trainer’s Triple Crown debut.

Asmussen, the top bonus winner in 2017 and 2018, was first and fourth with Yaupon and Little Current in the Chick Lang Oct. 1. He finished fourth with defending champion Tenfold in the Pimlico Special Oct. 2, and won the Miss Preakness with Wicked Whisper, was third with Nitrous in the De Francis and Bye Bye J in the $100,000 Skipat, and fifth with Hidden Enemy in the Laurel Futurity on the Preakness undercard.

In the Preakness, where he became the first trainer since fellow Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas in 2013 to saddle three horses in the race, Asmussen ran fifth with Max Player, sixth with Excession and 10th with Pneumatic behind historic filly winner Swiss Skydiver.

Fair Hill (Md.)-based trainer Graham Motion came in fourth with 37 points and earned a $7,000 bonus, largely thanks to runner-up finishes in the Selima (Invincible Gal), Laurel Futurity (Wootton Asset), Gallorette (Varenka) and Murphy (Bye Bye Melvin). With his other starters, Motion ran fourth with Pivotal Mission in the Laurel Futurity, fourth and eighth with Lucky Jingle and Shimmering in the Hilltop, and fifth and seventh with True Valour and Irish Strait in the Dinner Party.

Rounding out the top five was Claudio Gonzalez with 29 points, good for a $4,000 bonus. Stabled at Laurel Park, Maryland’s three-time defending overall training champion won the Pimlico Special with Harpers First Ride, was second with Completed Pass in the McKay and Eastern Bay in the De Francis, seventh and ninth with Pitching Ari and Lebda in the Chick Lang, and respectively fifth, sixth and seventh with Princess Cadey, Fly On Angel and Ankle Monitor in the Miss Preakness.

To be eligible, trainers had to run a minimum of five horses in the 15 Thoroughbred stakes races during Preakness weekend, not including the $100,000 UAE President Cup (G1) for Arabians. Points were accumulated for finishing first (10), second (seven), third (five) and fourth (three) and by having a starter (one).