Grade I winners Affirmed Success and D'wildcat headline a field of 12 for Monday's $200,000 General George Handicap (gr. II) at Laurel.
The seven-furlong President's Day test drew horses from Maryland, New York, California, Florida and Pennsylvania. Affirmed Success is the 2-1 morning line favorite with D'wildcat the third choice at 5-1.
The General George will be the 31st graded stakes race in the career of Affirmed Success. The 9-year old son of 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed has won 16 of 39 starts, including eight graded races, for earnings of more than $2 million. The Richard Schosberg trainee, who won the 2000 General George, tuned up for this year's race with an allowance score at Aqueduct on Jan. 10.
"When you put up $200,000 you are going to get a good race and this is a contentious field," said jockey Richard Migliore, the New York-based rider who will be aboard Affirmed Success. "I have a great deal of respect for this field but I have a great deal of respect for my horse who ran a strong prep race for the General George. I know what he is capable of and if he shows up with his A game, he is going to be tough to beat."
D'wildcat ships in from California. Two races back, the Robert Hess, Jr. trainee won the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. I) over the Laurel track. Jorge Chavez, who guided the 5-year old to victory in the De Francis Dash, will travel north from Gulfstream Park to ride.
Also shipping in from California are multiple graded stakes winner Disturbingthepeace, the 7-2 second choice, and Kela. Others vanning down from New York are Resolve and American Century. Grade II winner Dream Run is a Florida-based sprinter, while Griffinite, who was fifth in the 2001 Preakness (gr. I), is shipping in from Philadelphia Park.
Trainer Scott Lake is expected to saddled a pair of starters: Shake The Dice, who has won five straight, and My Cousin Matt, who won the Great State Challenge by an impressive seven lengths.
Other local runners include multiple stakes winner Deer Run, the De Francis Dash runner-up, and Stormin Oedy.