Saturday's $30,000-added Senatorial Stakes at Pimlico could be the turning point for Command Patrol, a 2-year-old son of Rambunctious who has shown more promise than most area juveniles but has not run to his potential. Trainer Bernie Bond has the colt cranked up for his first try around two turns and he could be ready to take off.

Chief competition for Command Patrol is expected to come from Rectory, a New York, invader with some fine races to his credit. No rider has been listed for Rectory; Command Patrol will be ridden by veteran Herb Hinojosa.

Chris McCarron, holder of many records on the Maryland circuit, is on a riding tear in California. The 24-year-old jockey is the runaway leader of the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita, sporting a 30 percent win average, an amazing pace.

Laurel's Washington, D.C. International has been taking shape while the track undergoes repairs to its main course, and the record shows American horses Bowl Game and Golden Act have shown no tendency for lesser performances on turf. But the fact that Golden Act, a 3-year-old, gets seven pounds from his older foe would seem to make him the favorite of the domestic horses. The seven-pound allowance for 3-year-olds at this time of year has been criticized in several quarters as being too great.

The scheduled shift back to Laurel Monday leaves horsemen and fans feeling a little uneasy. There has been criticism of the repaired Laurel racing strip as well as praise, and most would like to see how the repaired strip handles a heavy rainfall before going back. They may get their wish, as forecasters predict a wet weekend.

Pimlico management has said the track will not be reopened once betting machines are removed.

Bowie is installing new all-purpose mutuel machines and could not open until mid-December at the earliest.

It would seem that the Maryland Racing Commission will have the last say as to the fitness of the Laurel strip.