Greentree Stable's Bowl Game will open the 5 to 2 favorite in Saturday's Washington, D.C. International, Earl Hart, Laurel's official pricemaker, said yesterday.
Golden Act, who, with Bowl Game, is a contender for the nation's turf championship, is the overnight second choice at 3 to 1.
"Right now," said Hart, "Bowl Game and Golden Act figure very close. I gave the nod to Bowl Game because of his win in the Turf Classic in New York. Bowl Game has won four turf handicaps while Golden Act has won three, three big races."
Golden Act galloped twice around the one-mile turf course yesterday, while France's Son Of Love II went slowly around the 1 1/8-mile main track. Golden Act was "like a wild deer itching to run," according to Tim Head, head exercise boy.
Jeff Fell, who rode Tiller to a strong second-place finish in last year's international, will handle Trilion this time for trainer Maurice Zilber. Zilber has saddled three winners of the Laurel classic.
Silver Ice, benefiting from a daring ride by jockey Vincent Bracciale, split horses at the head of the Laurel stretch yesterday and scored a two-length triumph in the $30,000-added What A Summer Handicap.
Bare Facts closed well to be second, a neck before Paddock Calls.Phoebe's Donkey, the heavy favorite, was fifth.
Bracciale, who replaced veteran Gregg McCarron on the winner, hustled Silver Ice early but was outrun until the three-eighths pole where he sliced through the pack while keeping his filly under a hard drive. He said, "She was really charging through the stretch."
Silver Ice is a gray daughter of Icecapade, owned by C. Oliver Goldsmith and trained by Joseph Considine. She required 1:11 for the six furlongs and returned $10.80 to win.