A 14-horse field is entered in the $50,000 Stefanita Stakes with Winter Leaf (4-1) as the filly to watch. The Maryland-bred has won a pair of stakes races at Laurel Park this year, including the Ta Wee last month. The Ronald Cartwright protégé has won two of three on an off track.Lily's Affair (8-5), off an upset win in the Waya Stakes last month, is the morning line choice the $50,000 Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes. All eight fillies and mares have added money victories on their resumes and have combined to win 61 races.Acrolect (3-2) is the clear-cut choice in the $50,000 Hail Emperor Stakes. The five-year old son of Becker has been first or second in all eight starts this year. Marciano, a multiple stakes victor at Laurel Park, looks like the biggest threat.
The 79th running of the $100,000 Laurel Futurity (gr. III), featuring Champagne Stakes (gr. I) winner Toccet, heads the De Francis Dash undercard Saturday at Laurel Park.Toccet is the 9-5 morning line favorite in the 1 1/16-mile juvenile test. After winning the Champagne at Belmont in early October, the John Scanlan trainee drew the outside post in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and was never a factor, finishing ninth. "I definitely feel much better about this race coming out of the five spot than I did in Arlington," said Scanlan, who will have the services of jockey Jorge Chavez for the third straight race. "We drew the outside post and he really didn't do any running. He ran a half-miler and the jock folded up on him."Seven two-year olds will challenge Toccet, led by the impressive Soto (5-2) from the Michael Dickinson barn, and a pair of stakes winners in Cherokee's Boy and Mt. Carson."Competition looks tough," added Scanlan. "It is supposed to rain Saturday but if it is a speed favoring racetrack we'll be close enough to get there."Returning after a two-year hiatus, the Laurel Futurity has been won by four future Triple Crown winners (Count Fleet, Citation, Secretariat and Affirmed). Saturday will be the 79th running.Heirloom Diamond (3-1) is the slight favorite the $100,000 Selima Stakes for juvenile fillies. The Tim Ritchey trained daughter of Grindstone won the Blue Hen Stakes at Delaware Park in her last race and gets the services of jockey Edgar Prado, who has won 10 riding titles at Laurel Park.