Field of Eight Expected in De Francis Dash

The Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. I) headlines Saturday's Fall Festival Of Racing at Laurel Park. The day will feature six stakes races and $725,000 in purses.

Eight runners, including Thunderello, who nearly wired the field in last month's NAPA Auto Part's Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), and a pair of grade II winners from Southern California D'wildcat & Avanzado., are expected to go postward for the De Francis.

Thunderello, who is trained by Scott Lake for Charles G. Mady, finished just a half-length behind winner Orientate in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

The Florida-bred son of Montbrook entered the Breeders' Cup Sprint off back-to-back wins, including a 1 1/2 length score over fellow De Francis Dash runner Boston Common in the Oct. 5 Gallant Bob Handicap at Philadelphia Park. Thunderello will carry 114 pounds, including rider Edgar Prado.

California invader D'wildcat, who is trained by Bob Hess Jr. for David Shimon's Fog City Stable, will carry 122 pounds, including jockey Jorge Chavez. D'wildcat (Forest Wildcat -- D'Enough, by D'Accord) hasn't raced since finishing eighth in the Oct. 5 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. II) at Oak Tree at Santa Anita.

D'wildcat hasn't won since scoring a 10 1/2 length-victory in the Swale Stakes (gr. III) last year at Gulfstream Park. However, twice this year D'wildcat has been the beneficiary of disqualifications by the stewards in stakes races. He finished second, but placed first, after Snow Ridge was disqualified for interfering in the final strides of the Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II) on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) undercard. He again was moved to first in the Sept. 11 Live the Dream Handicap on the turf at Del Mar when Devine Wind was moved back for interference.

The field for the $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. I) includes:
1--Outstander (Jozbin Santana, 114, 15/1)
2-- Boston Common (open, 116, 9/2)
3-- D'wildcat (Jorge Chavez, 122, 9/2)
4-- Rusty Spur (Mark Johnston, 118, 15/1)
5-- Deer Run (Mario Pino 118, 20/1)
6-- Avaanzado (Tyler Baze, 122, 5/2)
7-- Thunderello (Edgar Prado, 114, 9/5)
8-- Sassy Hound (Horatio Karamanos, 118, 12/1)