Bethann Dixon Drawing
My 2016 Maryland Million weekend actually started one year ago. I went by myself to Laurel Park for the 30th Annual Jim McKay Maryland Million. It was my first time at Laurel Park, and only second time ever at a track. One of the first pictures I took that day was Bethann Dixon playing "Call to Post".
Bathann and I at the 2015 30th Jim McKay Maryland Million Day
I introduced myself and got a picture with Bethann who was very pleasant. I came home and started doing research for a drawing. I found out that Bethann was the first woman bugler ever at the 139th Preakness Stakes Race (2014), and the first at the 146th Belmont Stakes Race (2013), in addition to the Maryland Million.
Maryland Million Gala Program
Flash forward to a few months ago. Maryland Million Ltd., along with the Maryland Horse Breeders Association posted an art contest for the cover of the Maryland Million Gala program. The Gala is an industry event the Friday night before Maryland Million Day. The Gala is held at the Maryland Club in Baltimore.
Bethann Dixon at the Gala
I entered my drawing "Call to Post" in the art contest, and by fan vote on social media won. Prizes included tickets to the Gala, and VIP tickets to Maryland Million Day. Bethann also attended the Gala, and we enjoyed seeing each other and posing for pictures.
Dead Heat Drawing 18x24
Silent Auction at the Gala
As long as I was going to the Gala, I donated a framed print of my Dead Heat drawing to the silent auction to benefit Maryland Thoroughbred Association..
Eric and his son at the Gala
My friend and photographer Eric Kalet, shoots for the Paulick Report. He had taken the photo that I did the drawing from. He and his son also attended the Gala.
Bens Cat Drawing
The 2015 Maryland Million Day was the first time I saw Bens Cat race. I had not heard of him, but he created quite a buzz, and I quickly found out he was a fan favorite and a legend in Maryland racing. I did my first drawing of him soon after that race.
Bens Cat Drawing No.2
During the last year, I followed Bens Cat, and saw him win on Black Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico on Preakness Weekend. That may turn out to be his last win.
King T. Leatherbury
At the Gala, I had the pleasure of meeting the Breeder, Owner, and Trainer of Bens Cat, King T. Leatherbury. King ranks third all time in wins amongst U.S. trainers. In 2015, King was inducted to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
Irish Tenor Anthony Kearns
The Gala entertainment for the evening was world renowned Irish Tenor Anthony Kearns. He was simply amazing, and when he sang Danny Boy, there were people in tears.
Lauren and I enjoying the evening entertainment
Maryland Million Day
Saturday morning started out crisp and cool. a gorgeous although windy fall day. The track was firm and fast!
Between races, Bethann came down to the VIP tent area. I was finally able to give her a print of the Call to Post drawing that has brought both of us so much joy over the last few months.
Bethann also rides for the Goshen Hounds who entertained the huge crowd between races. She quickly got off her horse, grabbed her horn to play Call to Post for the next race.
Irish Tenor Anthony Kearns
I was able to meet and speak to Irish Tenor Anthony Kearns in the VIP tent area. I told him that I have a son now studying music in college, and it is amazing that the power of music can move people to tears.
Lauren with her first bet ticket
The biggest highlight of the entire weekend for me was having Lauren with me on Friday night, and both Lauren and Jacob on Saturday. Lauren had never been to the races ever. Of course her fist bet was a $1 Across the Board bet on a 60/1 horse Dancing with Maude that she picked because of the name. The two year old colt in his second race, lost by a head bob, so Lauren won the place and show money!
Jacob with Terpratariate
Jacob has been to a lot of races with me, but always loves it. He also loves all the things that Laurel Park does for children at the track. Here he is with Terpratariat, named after Secretariat, and the Maryland Terps.
Bens Cat with Trevor McCarthy up
Bens Cat was one of the favorites for the Maryland Million Sprint. Now a ten year old, Ben just didn't have his kick coming onto the home stretch, and finished last of the six horse field. This may have been his last race. I and many fans still love the dark bay gelding!!
Admirals War Chest with Taylor Hole up
The big race of the day was the Maryland Million Classic. Admirals War Chest won last years race wiring the field. Once again he won this years race, wiring the field.
The Laurel Park Grandstand
It was very chilly and windy by the end of the 11 race card, but I was very disappointed for the weekend to end. Since winning the art contest, I was so anxious for the day to get here. Now that it was over, my Wife and Son, the Gala, seeing Bethann and other friends, Food, Music, Weather, Horses, did not disappoint, and exceeded my expectations of how the weekend would go!