The season's first serious confrontation of area Triple Crown hopefuls takes place today at Laurel when undefeated I Am The Game takes on seven rivals in the $75,000-added General George Stakes over a mile.
Roo Art is the chief contender. Each horse is undefeated in three careers starts. Roo Art will carry highweight of 122 pounds and will be ridden by Donald Miller. I Am The Game, ridden by Alberto Delgado, will tote 119.
Others with solid credentials are Trophy Hunter, a visitor from Aqueduct who has finished no worse than third in his last three stakes races; Shalom Dancer, winner of the Anticipation Stakes at Keystone in his last start, and Bolting Holme, winner of two added-money races. Completing the field are Jay Bryan, Joyfull John and Sparrowvon.
Admission is free today for holders of program stubs from yesterday's races.
The race meeting at Laurel continued on an upbeat note yesterday when 12,480 fans, a record crowd for a Sunday, wagered $1,783,685 on the nine-race card.
In the featured Gala Lil Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares, jockey Vince Bracciale brought favored Cato Double from far back to win by a neck over Swaps Music. Native Derby, the pacesetter, was third, a head farther back. Swaps Music stalked Native Derby for a mile of the $30,000-added feature, but then Final Chapter cut her off in midstretch and cost her the race.
The running time was 1:52 2/5.