LAUREL, MD. 03-5-09---Nine 3-year-old fillies will stretch out to seven furlongs in Saturday’s $50,000 Wide Country Stakes. The race is the ninth on the Laurel Park card and the first leg of the Magna 5 wager.

The morning line favorite is Strut the Canary (5-2), who has won three straight, including a victory in the Marshua Stakes at Laurel in her most recent start on February 7. The daughter of Mineshaft loomed the easy winner a furlong from the finish in the Marshua but at the wire she was in front by only a head. Jockey Jeremy Rose took the blame for the narrow victory indicating he moved too soon. Rose retains the mount for trainer Tim Tullock.

“She came out of the race in good form and we have just put in a couple maintenance works to keep her fit,” Tullock said. “I really think she has a desire to win and if you get that in any horse it can take you a long way. This is definitely a deeper field than the Marshua. Hopefully we’ll continue our winning ways here at home and do it impressively then we’ll go bigger game hunting.”

Second choice on the program is Saarlight (4-1), from the New York stable of Kiaran McLaughlin. In her only start, the daughter of Saarland held a narrow lead nearing the finish line in a maiden race at Aqueduct but was caught late, beaten a neck.

Don’tgetsuspicious (9-2) was claimed out her maiden claiming victory by Scott Lake and has won two straight optional/claiming races at Laurel since. J.D. Acosta has the mount on the daughter of E Dubai.

Huge (5-1) was 42-1 when she finished second behind Strut the Canary in the Marshua Stakes. Her furious late rally left her just a head behind at the finish. John Salzman Jr. trains the Meadowlake filly. Jonathan Joyce will ride.

Rounding out the field is Haley’s Lolipop (8-1), Listentothewindblo (10-1), the undefeated Fondant (10-1), Mint Brownie (10-1) and Call Of A Lion (12-1).


Laurel Park-based Ah Day will make his six-year-old debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Toboggan Handicap (Grade III) at Aqueduct. Owned and trained by King Leatherbury, the son of Malibu Moon has won 10-of-23 lifetime starts, including eight stakes. He has raced just twice since May 2007 but has produced eight solid workouts, including four consecutive bullet drills, in preparation for his return. Former Maryland-based rider Sheldon Russell will have the riding assignment. Ah Day will start from the outside in the six-furlong test.

The nine-horse field also includes Laurel Park-based Eternal Star from the powerful Mike Trombetta barn. The five-year-old finished fourth in last month’s Grade II General George Handicap at his home track.