Updated on 01/11/2013 2:32PM

Laurel: Bold Affair's last troublesome going into What a Summer

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Bold Affair encountered two points of trouble in her last start, the Thirty Eight Go Go.

Bold Affair won five stakes in Maryland during 2012. But bettors will have to ask themselves whether her failure as the 2-5 favorite in the Thirty Eight Go Go three weeks ago was merely a by-product of a troubled trip or a warning sign that the sharp form she maintained during a 10-race campaign is due to deteriorate.

At anything close to her best, the 5-year-old Bold Affair should trounce her seven rivals in Saturday’s $100,000 What a Summer Stakes at Laurel Park. But if she doesn’t run faster than she did last time out, Bold Affair could be in big trouble.

Aside from a failed one-race experiment on turf, the 77 Beyer Speed Figure that Bold Affair was awarded for her third-place finish in the one-mile Thirty Eight Go Go was her lowest since she finished fifth of sixth, getting a 63 Beyer, in last January’s Interborough at Aqueduct.

In fairness, Bold Affair encountered two points of trouble in the Thirty Eight Go Go. She broke a step slowly and had to steady near the half-mile pole in the race. She will be cutting back to six furlongs, a distance where she is 3 for 5 at Laurel.

Saturday's race will serve as Bold Affair's prep for the Grade 2, seven-furlong Barbara Fritchie Handicap on Feb. 16. Trainer Howard Wolfendale said Bold Affair's draw in post 8 is preferable to post 2 she had last time when she encountered two points of trouble.

“I am happy with the outside draw. She just doesn’t seem to do her best running when bottled up inside,” said Wolfendale. “This race is coming back a little quicker than I would like. I would have rather trained her right up to the Barbara Fritchie but this looks like a good spot and she is shortening up. She is so big, with a nice long stride and does things so easily.”

Graded stakes-caliber sprinters Island Bound and Made to Love Her did not run well in their Laurel debuts, but may improve making the second start of their current form cycles.

Island Bound, winner of the Grade 3 Winning Colors at Churchill Downs last June, never made any kind of move to get involved in the six-furlong Willa on the Move, beating just one horse. But she did show signs of life working a four-furlong bullet locally in 48.80 seconds on New Year’s Day.

Made to Love Her, second in last January’s Grade 2 Santa Ynez, failed to sustain her drive to finish third in the Willa on the Move, but was still 4 3/4 lengths in front of Island Bound. The 4-year-old Made to Love Her, now based at Penn National with trainer Charles Simon, may have badly needed that last start after spending nine months on the sidelines.

The third major threat to the favorite is Dance to Bristol, who faces older fillies and mares for only the second time. She cuts back from seven furlongs after finishing second against older allowance stock at Charles Town. Last winter, Dance to Bristol easily won the six-furlong Marshua for 3-year-old fillies.