Eleven 2-year-olds are entered in Saturday's 60th and richest ($249,655) running of the Laurel Futurity, a race that previews candidates for next spring's Triple Crown races.
Pappa Riccio, a Maryland-bred son of the late Nashua, looms as the slight favorite for the 1 1/16th-mile race. Jockey Donald McBeth rides Pappa Riccio, one of seven horses that were supplemented at a cost of $7,500 each.
The remaining six candidates paying the late fee are White Birch (Angel Cordero up), Primitive Pleasure (Jack Kaenel), Current Hope (Jeffrey Fell), Pax In Bello (Ruben Hernandez), Sunny's Halo (Vince Bracciale) and Cast Party (Jorge Velasquez).
The four original nominees were Two Davids (Rick Wilson), King's Corsair (Herb Hinojosa), Dixieland Band (Bill Passmore) and Gaylord's Carousel (Donald Miller). All will carry 122 pounds.
Pappa Riccio has won four of nine starts this year and earned $141,876. His impressive stretch run against the highly regarded What's Dat and Copelan assures him of strong support Saturday. Either Cast Party, Sunny Halo or the Leroy Jolley-trained entry of White Birch and Primitive Pleasure could change that.
Cast Party has been showing strong late speed in top company in New York, while Sunny's Halo won his last four races in Canada, including the Grade One Coronation Futurity by six lengths over a sloppy track.
White Birch won two straight at Belmont Park before finishing unplaced in the Champagne at Belmont Park. Primitive Pleasure, also lightly raced, has been working briskly.
Six of the past 10 winners of the Futurity were voted 2-year-old champions. The list includes Secretariat, 1972; Protagonist, 1973; Honest Pleasure, 1975; Affirmed, 1977; Spectacular Bid, 1978, and Deputy Minister in 1981.