LAUREL, MD. 02-13-09---Bullsbay was eased to last in the Grade I Donn Handicap two weeks ago, but on Saturday he is the 8-5 favorite to win the $50,000 John B. Campbell Handicap, the co-feature at Laurel Park. The $150,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap (GR II) headlines the nine-race card.

Graham Motion shipped the 5-year-old from South Florida to the Fair Hill Training Center earlier this week to race 1-1/8 miles against nine older runners. The son of Tiznow arrived in the Motion barn in October and produced two allowance wins and a runner-up finish in the Grade III Hal’s Hope before his inexplicable performance in the Donn.

“I am still a bit mystified about the race,” Motion said. “We couldn’t find anything amiss with him. He seemed to come out of the race as well as he went into it. We are anxious to find out what was going on and get him back on track. He had never run a bad race which makes his last race even more of a mystery.”

Jeremy Rose will ride Bullsbay for the first time. The horse has finished in the money in nine of 12 career starts.

Arkansas-bred Lord Kipling (5-1) won races at 2-1/16th miles and 2 miles a year ago. Claimed for $20,000 four starts back by Gary Contessa, Lord Kipling has posted three straight seconds at Aqueduct -- in the Coyote Lakes and Gallant Fox Stakes and in an overnight handicap. Pedro Morales will ride.

Sharp Island (6-1) is also piling up seconds, including his last three starts. His most recent placing came in the Native Dancer Stakes behind Lord Snowdon, who is entered to start in Monday’s Grade II General George Handicap. Luis Garcia retains the mount for Jimmy Murphy, who trains the son of Deputy Minister.

Other contenders are Grade III winner Ryan’s For Real, multiple stakes winner P V Lightening and New York shipper Quip (all at 8-1).

Admiral’s Cruise (10-1) will make his U.S. debut after winning five-of-19 in Europe, while 12-1 shots Richard’s Kid and Southern Rainbow have each won three of four at the allowance level heading into the Campbell. Independent Banker (20-1) rounds out the field.


Monday’s $150,000 General George Handicap (GR II) is highlighted by 4-5 shot Fabulous Strike, one of the nation’s top sprinters. Five contenders will try to prevent trainer Todd Beattie’s star from becoming a millionaire. The son of Smart Strike, who has earned $939,412 during his 19 race career, will carry 127 pounds, 10 more than any other contender in the race.

“He’s a big strong horse,” Beattie said this morning from Penn National. “He has an outstanding way of going, as far as the way he travels, big long stride, real smooth and he’s got a heart of gold. He can run fast and he’s not afraid to give it to you every time like that.”

Fabulous Strike has 10 stakes wins on his resume and has visited the winners’ circle in eight of his last 11 races, including the Fall Highweight and the Gravesend Handicaps at Aqueduct to end 2008. The 6-year-old gelding will break from post position 3.

“It looks like quite a bit of speed down inside of him (True Quality and Malibu Kid), which is a nice spot to be,” added Beattie. “We won’t feel pressured to use his speed. And we’ll be a little more patient going seven furlongs. If we’re in front, we’re in front but if not, we can settle back.”

The field also includes multiple stakes winners Eternal Star, Broadway Producer and Lord Snowdon, last year’s General George runner-up.

Regular rider Ramon Dominguez will be at Oaklawn Park Monday to ride undefeated three-year-old Old Fashioned in the Southwest Stakes, so Edgar Prado picks up the mount. The former Maryland mainstay has won the General George twice during his Hall of Fame career.