Laurel offers stakes-filled card

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Ted Black

December 22nd, 2015

Those horse players looking for some action immediately after Christmas Day will need to look no further than Laurel Park on Saturday.

Laurel will offer five stakes overall, two for two-year-olds and a trio for older runners, male and female.

Saturday's second race is the latest renewal of the $50,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship for state-bred two-year-old fillies. This race could decide champion state-bred two-year-old filly, although supporters of the idle, unbeaten Cathryn Sophia might disagree.

With Cathryn Sophia in Florida, Lexington Street looms as the odds-on favorite. A daughter of Street Sense trained by Gary Capuano of Captain Bodgit fame, Lexington Street has won three of her four starts including a sharp score in the Maryland Million Lassie in what may have been the best performance of the day.

Two races later on the card a field of 10 older runners will go postward in the $100,000 Dave's Friend Stakes at six furlongs. Named in honor of the former Maryland-bred sprint star, the Dave's Friend is an early stepping stone to the Grade II, $250,000 General George Stakes on Monday, February 15.

Among the 10 runners, Rainbow Heir looks like the play. A five-year-old Wildcat Heir stallion trained by Ben Perkins,  Jr., for owner-breeder New Farm, Rainbow Heir was a sharp allowance winner over the track in his most recent outing.

Not to be overlooked is Jack's in the Deck, upset winner over the venerable Ben's Cat in the Maryland Million Sprint. He was most recently fifth in the $200,000 Fabulous Strike Stakes at Penn National on Thanksgiving eve.

Parx invaders Always Sunshine, Beach Hut and Jake N Elwood also merit respect in this spot. Beach Hut and Jake N Elwood both arrive from trainer Ramon Preciado's barn, while Always Sunshine trounced allowance foes last out for Ned Allard.

Two races later a field of 10 freshmen colts will go postward in a wide open renewal of the $50,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity.

Corvus won the Maryland Million Nursery in his career debut for trainer Katy Voss, but was trounced in the James Lewis. Easy River and It's The Journey were both sharp maiden special weight winners last out and both loom upset threats.

Then two races later in the eighth a full field of 12 will go postward in the $50,000 Jennings Handicap for older state-bred males. Maryland Million Classic winner Admirals War Chest looms as the favorite in this one-turn mile, but DC Dancer and Outbacker have both performed well over the track.

Then one race later another full field of 12 runners will go postward in the $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes for fillies and mares at the same distance of the Jennings.

Invaders Athena, Bound and Miss Mischief all arrive in good form, so locals Lionhearted Lady and Walk Of Stars will be asked to defend their home track in this early prep for the $300,000 Barbara Fritchie or $75,000 Maryland Racing Media Stakes both slated for Feb. 13.