Ten three-year-olds are expected in the 1 1/8-mile Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park on Saturday.
Maiden winner Baratti is the 2-1 morning line favorite per Maryland Jockey Club handicapper Keith Feustle. The Medaglia d’Oro colt has only started twice for Kiaran McLaughlin, breaking his maiden at Aqueduct in front-running style in January. Mike Luzzi was aboard and will ride again in the Private Terms.
“He was pretty green in his first start, but he got a great draw in his second start and Mike Luzzi did a great job,” said Artie Magnuson, McLaughlin’s assistant trainer. “It is a blessing it took so long for him to get going. He is growing all the time. He was a little leggy four or five months ago but it is all coming together. We like him quite a bit but this is a big step up because he is so inexperienced.”
Joint Custody (7-2) is the most accomplished runner in the field, with four wins in seven starts, including two stakes wins and two stakes seconds. The Jerry Robb trainee won the Marylander Stakes and Maryland Juvenile Championship last fall then placed in the Miracle Wood in his three-year-old debut on January 25. Wesley Ho, will be aboard for the seventh straight start.
“He is fresh and being home plays to our advantage,” Ho said. “He has always done everything right and has learned from each start. I have confidence he will run well going two turns for the first time.”
Classic Giacnroll (5-1) finished third to Joint Custody in the Marylander, his only visit to central Maryland for trainer Lisa Guerrero. His first two starts this year have been in graded stakes, with a second place finish in the Jerome and a fourth in the Withers. Victor Carrasco picks up the mount on the son of Giacomo who was scratched out of last Saturday’s Gotham Stakes for this spot.
“He wasn’t training well, so we decided to scratch and give him an extra week and an easier spot,” said Guerrero’s husband, trainer Juan Carlos Guerrero. “He has a very big heart and always gives us 100 percent. He is a May foal so he has a chance to be a good one as the year progresses. He has a chance at the (Kentucky) Derby but we want to take our time with him because there are so many good three-year-old races out there.”
Kid Cruz (6-1) beat maiden claimers in his second start and was claimed by Linda Rice. He returned with a second place finish around two turns against allowance runners at Aqueduct. Julian Pimentel picks up the mount on the son of Lemon Drop Kid.
Roman Fire (8-1) is two-for-four lifetime for Tony Dutrow, with two wins at a mile at Parx Racing sandwiched around a strong second at Laurel going 1-1/16th miles to end 2013. Alex Cintron is his new rider.
Matuszak (12-1) broke his maiden in his first outing at Churchill Downs in September but has finished on the board just once since then. The son of Bernardini tried graded stakes company twice. Horacio Karamanos will ride the Bill Mott trainee.
Mr. Rover (12-1) has eight in the money finishes in nine career starts, including a third in the Miracle Wood Stakes. Trevor McCarthy regains the mount for trainer King Leatherbury.
Starry Moon (15-1) is two-for-four for trainer Bernie Houghton. He broke his maiden at Penn National, finished third in the Frank Whitely Stakes at Laurel and won again at Penn against allowance runners in late January. Angel Rodriguez has been aboard for every start.
Elevated (20-1) won by a nose in the Elsner Stakes at Parx Racing on February 8, making the son of Jump Start three-for-five for trainer Phil Schoenthal. Sheldon Russell will ride for the first time.
“I am very familiar with him,” Russell said. “I was working him before he made his first start last summer then I was injured. He does everything nicely in the morning. The race is packed with speed. I think Joint Custody is the fastest so I am hoping we can sit off him of the pace and see if he is more than a sprinter. This will be a good test to see if he’ll get two turns.”
Kobel (30-1), trained by Carl Doran and to be ridden by J. D. Acosta, rounds out the field.
Edited Maryland Jockey Club release