12/11/2009 12:00AM

Can trio repeat on fast dirt?


Our Commander, Morumsco, and Petecarol are all coming off the most impressive victories of their careers. But all three 2-year-olds accomplished those feats in extremely wet conditions or on a synthetic surface.

What will happen on fast dirt is anybody's guess. With no rain in the forecast this weekend in central Maryland, the three must prove they can replicate their best form on Laurel Park's fast dirt track in Saturday's $50,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship.

For the third straight year, the distance has been changed for the Juvenile. After being contested at 1 1/16 miles last season and as a one-turn mile from 2005 through 2007, the race for 2-year-old Maryland-breds has been shortened to 7 1/2 furlongs.

That distance may be ideal for Our Commander, a Gary Capuano-trained homebred who responded to the wet track he caught Oct. 24 to score by 6 1/2 lengths going a mile.

Morumsco, trained by Chris Grove, will be stretching out beyond six furlongs for the first time after winning back-to-back sprints by a combined 10 1/2 lengths, both times over sloppy tracks.

A son of five-time leading Maryland sire Not for Love, Morumsco was not nearly so good in the first two starts of his career racing on fast tracks.

Historically, Grove doesn't do well with 2-year-olds racing at distances between seven furlongs and a mile. He is 1 for his last 13 in that category, according to DRF's Formulator.

Petecarol, winless in his first four career outings, woke up when he was shifted from dirt to Keeneland's Polytrack in a high-priced maiden claimer Oct. 28. Two of the eight horses he beat in that field have come back to win next time out.

Claimed out of that win for $80,000, Petecarol has been training well on dirt at Monmouth Park for his new trainer, Greg Sacco.

Regal Warrior will be dangerous if he can come close to his effort two starts ago, when he dominated a two-turn, one-mile maiden race at Penn National. In his first try against winners, Regal Warrior was rank and faded to last after setting fast fractions.

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