Trainer Chad Brown is sending stakes winner Hardened Wildcat from his Belmont Park base. Bob Baffert counters with Brigand, a tested member of his New York string.
Brigand (3-1) is a New York-bred son of Flatter whose best stakes efforts are runner-up finishes in the Hollywood Juvenile (G3), the Jerome (G2) and the Mike Lee Stakes. Abel Castellano, Laurel’s leading rider, will be aboard.
Service for Ten (9-2) was claimed by trainer Damon Dilodovicio last year. He rewarded his new connections with two wins and a second in three starts and comes into the City Of Laurel Stakes on a two-race win streak. Julian Pimentel will be in the saddle.
“There was a stakes at Aqueduct ($75,000 Queens County) this weekend and I was hoping that would have kept Baffert and Chad up there,” Dilodovico said. “We ran him (Service for Ten) once last year and then gave him some time off. We thought he was a little under developed. Since returning, he has done everything right. He is an easy gallop in the morning, comes over here in the afternoon and goes to work. He has been forwardly placed in his last two starts but we have in our mind we can sit if we have to. This is a big step up. I feel he is still a little green. Numbers wise he fits but we have been doing it against lesser company.”
Javerre (8-1) won the New Jersey Breeders Handicap at Monmouth Park and finished second in the Maryland Million Sprint in his last two starts. The Outflanker offspring is four for six lifetime. Kendrick Carmouche has the mount for trainer Cathal Lynch.
Maryland-bred Bellefire (10-1) ships to Laurel from Florida after breaking his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs and then winning three races at Calder Race Course. His best stakes efforts were third place finishes in both the El Kaiser and Naked Greed Stakes. Leo Azpurua trains the Proud Citizen colt and Manoel Cruz is his rider.
Pretension (12-1) won the Canonero II Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in May and then finished 11th in the Preakness Stakes (G1). The Chris Grove trainee has raced just once since then but did work a half-mile bullet at the Bowie Training Center on Dec. 1 for this start.
Lucy’s Bob Boy (15-1) has captured three stakes races at Charles Town this year, including the West Virginia Breeders Classic.
Bayou Bengal (20-1) won an allowance race here on Nov. 14 with a career-best 75 Beyer Speed figure.