(from Laurel Park report)
Morris Bailey’s favored Laila’s Punch stamped herself as a filly to watch with an impressive six-length victory in the $74,600 Marshua Stakes for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Laurel Park.
Sent to the post as the 8-5 favorite against six others, Laila’s Punch tracked a pair of speedsters to the top of the lane, then swept to the lead and pulled away to win under jockey Jeremy Rose in 1:06.1 for 5 1/2 furlongs over the main track.
Luxury Class, with Mario Pino aboard led early and held second. Deep Dish Wildcat and Horacio Karamanos finished third.
The winner, named after Muhammad Ali’s daughter, paid $5.20, $3, and $2.80. Laila’s Punch broke her maiden by 8 1/2 lengths in early October under Rose after making her debut in the Gin Talking Stakes a month earlier.
Eddie Gaudet is the winning trainer.
“She’s developing so much and she works so fast, I think we might have a good one,” said Gaudet. “Believe me, she’ll run all day and half the night.”
Gaudet has high hopes for the daughter of Two Punch with his sights set on the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) at Pimlico in May.
The 76-year-old conditioner won the race in 1971 with At Arms Length.