A small and relatively undistinguished field of 2-year-old fillies will compete for the $141,645 first prize in today's 60th running of the Selima Stakes at Laurel Race Course.
Owners of four of today's six participants paid a $10,000 supplemental fee to enter their horses. But Allen Jerkens, who trains overnight favorite Silent Account, said that despite their ambition, the horsemen still don't have a good idea of their 2-year-olds' abilities.
"We decided to supplement Silent Account after she won (the Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland)," Jerkens said yesterday from New York. "But she's still green, and we really don't know what she's capable of doing."
I'm Splendid and locally based Cosmic Tiger are the field's other stakes winners, but Silent Account and Nature's Way are the only entrants that have attempted today's distance of 1 1/16 miles. New York-based jockey Robbie Davis is scheduled to ride Silent Account, who never trailed in winning the Alcibiades by six lengths to bring her career earnings to $149,721.
Breaking from the No. 6 post position today, Silent Account must contend with the inside speed of I'm Splendid and Cosmic Tiger, leaving Jerkens to weigh his tactics carefully.
"She likes to go to the front, but she's never had a lot of speed inside of her," Jerkens said. "I wouldn't say she needs the lead to win. We've trained her a lot of times behind horses in the morning. She's used to having dirt kicked in her face."
I'm Splendid won Saratoga's Schuylerville Stakes by a nose over Musical Lark in July, but she failed to finish among the top three in two subsequent stakes before trainer James Toner rested her. Making her first start since Aug. 26, I'm Splendid will be ridden by Vince Bracciale Jr., who replaces Angel Cordero Jr.
There will be no rider change for Cosmic Tiger. Owner Dick Brooks Jr. and trainer Charley Lewis have been delighted with the work of Martin Ramirez, who has ridden the dark bay filly to four straight victories.
Cosmic Tiger has yet to race farther than six furlongs, but her come-from-behind victory in the Signature Stakes suggests she can handle 8 1/2 furlongs. Her final quarter-mile fractions have improved in each of her last three starts.
Completing the field are North of Danzig, the race's only Maryland-bred horse, ridden by Donald Miller Jr., and Qui Square, ridden by Jesse Davidson.