Graham Motion trains Heat Press (3-1), who broke his maiden by 14 widening lengths in his most recent start at Laurel on December 8 to earn an 83 Beyer speed figure. The Malibu Moon colt has worked three times at the Fair Hill Training Center since that score and regains the services of Jeremy Rose, who was aboard for his maiden debut.
“I really don’t know what happened last time,” Pimentel said. “It was disappointing because we think he is a nice horse. When he won first time out, he did it so easy. He was pretty impressive that day. He broke out front and kept running (winning by 10-3/4 lengths). I don’t think he has to be on the lead to be successful Saturday, we’ll just see how the race develops. It looks like a wide-open race but if he runs the way he did first time out, he is going to be tough.”
Speedy Patrick S (5-1) left the maiden ranks in his most recent try, carrying Steward Elliott to a 4-1/2 length victory at Parx. Frankie Pennington will ride the son of Put It Back, who has been first or second three times in four career starts, for trainer Guadalupe Preciado.
Alpha Mike Foxtrot (6-1) had to check four times but still got up to win the Maryland Juvenile Championship under Forest Boyce for trainer Richard Small on December 29. The Two Punch gelding also posted a second in the Maryland Million Nursery and a third in the James Lewis. Boyce retains the mount.
Lunar Rock (8-1) has finished in the money eight times in nine career starts, including third place finishes in the Maryland Million Nursery and the Laurel Futurity although he finished last year with a sixth place effort in the Maryland Juvenile Championship. Dale Capuano will give Sheldon Russell a leg up on the Cherokee’s Boy gelding.
Keep The Canoli (8-1) has stakes experience but has sat on the shelf since late November. He finished fourth in the Dover Stakes in October but was no factor in his next start, the Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct. Greg Sacco will employ Chris DeCarlo for the first time.
In The Fairway (10-1) is four-for-five at Charles Town, with victories in two restricted stakes and as the overwhelming favorite in the Tri State Futurity. Erick Rodriguez will handle the son of Posse for trainer Jeff Runco.
Saint Arbor (12-1) won an allowance race by 20-½ lengths at Mountaineer Park in late November before a sixth place finish in the Turfway Park Prevue. T.D. Houghton accompanies the Louis Ruberto trainee to Maryland.
Hanky Doodle (15-1) finished second in his last three starts, including the Maryland Juvenile Championship and Tri State Futurity. The Gary Capuano trainee broke his maiden at Laurel on September 12 before his string of runner-up finishes.
Twelve Stone (20-1) left the maiden ranks in his last race here on December 27 with a driving victory for trainer Ben Perkins. Abel Castellano will ride the son of Macho Uno.
RUSSELL RIDES THREE WINNERS, MOVES INTO TOP SPOT IN JOCKEY STANDINGS
Sheldon Russell rode three winners on Thursday afternoon to move into first place in the Laurel Park jockey standings. The 25-year-old visited the winners’ circle with Warrior James ($3,80-1st), Never Stop Looking ($5.60-6th) and Keg ($4.80-7th). Russell now has 11 victories, two more than apprentice Trevor McCarthy.