01/06/2007 1:00AM

Laila's Punch romps


Back from a three-month layoff after her wire-to-wire maiden win, Laila's Punch came from off the pace to take the $74,600 Marshua Stakes at Laurel Park in a romp, defeating Luxury Class by six lengths.

Jockey Jeremy Rose kept Laila's Punch reserved in third as Luxury Class set the pace, tracked by Deep Dish Wildcat through a 22.36-second opening quarter-mile in the 5 1/2-furlong Marshua.

After a half-mile in 46.70 seconds, Rose made his move on the turn, bringing Laila's Punch outside to challenge the leaders. The three raced together in early stretch before Laila's Punch began to pull away en route to victory.

Luxury Class held second by 2 1/4 lengths over Deep Dish Wildcat, with Cajun Hottie another 1 1/4 lengths back in fourth in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies.

Laila's Punch, trained by Eddie Gaudet, paid $5.20 as the 8-5 favorite, covering the distance in 1:06.01 on a good track, upgraded from muddy earlier on the card.

Asked about the change in tactics from the Laila's Punch's maiden win, Rose said, "She's a versatile filly."

Gaudet was enthusiastic after the race. "I think we may have a good one," he said. "Let's hope so."