05/08/2006 12:00AM

'Laptop' has past filled with class


ELMONT, N.Y. - If you're judged by the company you keep, then handicappers will rule that Laptop Computer is the one to beat in Wednesday's $65,000 Romano Gucci Stakes at Belmont Park.

Scrolling down the past performance lines of Laptop Computer, one finds the names Bluegrass Cat, Steppenwolfer, and Jazil - the second-, third-, and co-fourth-place finishers of last Saturday's Kentucky Derby. No names of such caliber show up in the Romano Gucci, run at 6 1/2 furlongs.

, a son of Notebook, has won 2 of 6 starts. That includes a strong entry-level allowance win two starts back at Gulfstream Park, in which he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 97. Less than a month later, he finished second, albeit nine lengths behind Likely, in the Lafayette at Keeneland.

"I was both happy and disappointed in his last race," said Rick Violette, trainer of Laptop Computer. "I thought he'd run better. I wasn't sure what to make of it."

New York racing officials tried to hustle Violette into running Laptop Computer in the four-horse Withers Stakes on April 29. Violette elected not to go, saying the horse needed the extra time. Three days after the Withers, Laptop Computer worked a bullet half-mile in 48.26 seconds at Aqueduct.

Laptop Computer will be forwardly placed in the Romano Gucci. Breaking from post position 4 in the five-horse field should give jockey Garret Gomez an advantage.

"There are some other speed horses in there, but we have a pretty nice post position so Garret will be able to decide whether to take control or stalk," Violette said.

, Fabulous Strike, and Marco's Tale each is coming off an allowance victory. Dontfearthereaper is 2 for 2 sprinting. His only bad race came March 19, when trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. tried to stretch him out to nine furlongs and he finished seventh, beaten 28 lengths. Dontfearthereaper will break from post 3 under Edgar Prado.

is 2 for 2 since adding Lasix, and 2 for 2 since coming to trainer Todd Beatie's Penn National barn. He earned a 95 Beyer for his front-running victory in the slop at Philadelphia Park on April 8. He meets tougher in here.