Cagey Exuberance, a 3-year-old filly who has won eight of 11 career starts, stalked the pace of In The Curl in the $45,100 Sensational Stakes yesterday at Laurel Race Course, then drew away to a 3 1/2-length victory over Cutlasee.

Daytime Princess was third, and In The Curl faded to fourth.

Cagey Exuberance was ridden by John Nied, who guided her to a 1:23 clocking over a fast racing strip, the fastest seven furlongs of the current meeting.

"The race went ideal," said Nied. "I was content to sit . . . I had to put some pressure on the leader, then went to work on my filly."

The daughter of Exuberant paid $4.60 as the choice of the crowd of 10,658 and initiated a 7-2 exacta worth $36.40.

On Sunday's card, 8-year-old Castelets, the highweight at 115 pounds, heads a field of seven in the $40,000-added Protagonist Handicap.

Castelets, who has had numerous operations throughout a lengthy career, will be seeking his seventh stakes victory with Allen Stacy riding in the one-mile event. He has over $400,000 in earnings.

Castelets was voted 1986 grass champion among Maryland-breds and will be aiming for his first stakes victory on the main track in the Protagonist.