03/21/2013 1:18PM

Laurel Park: Bold Affair looms huge in Conniver

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Cllub
Bold Affair has won six stakes in Maryland over the past two seasons.

Multiple stakes winner Bold Affair towers over her rivals in Saturday’s $100,000 Conniver Stakes for Maryland-bred fillies and mares at Laurel Park.

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In contrast to the 5-year-old Bold Affair, who has won six stakes in Maryland over the past two seasons, her four opponents in the seven-furlong Conniver are a combined 1 for 10 in added-money events. All of those stats belong to Access to Charlie, who has lost nine straight stakes since winning the restricted Twixt in 2011. Access to Charlie was beaten 20 lengths by Bold Affair in last year’s Conniver and finished 7 1/2 lengths behind Bold Affair in the one-mile Geisha in November.

Of the remaining three fillies in the lineup, More Than a Cruise and Citi Point are both eligible for a second-level allowance, and the 3-year-old Calcutta Cat’s only two victories have come while running for a $10,000 claiming price.

In short, so long as Bold Affair is reasonably fit for her first start since cruising in the six-furlong What a Summer on Jan. 12, she should win the Conniver without much problem.

The two-month layoff should not be an issue. She is 2 for 2 coming off similar breaks, including a 6 1/2-length score in the 2012 Conniver. Her two starts at seven furlongs have produced a pair of victories by a combined margin of nearly 20 lengths.

Although Access to Charlie was no match for Bold Affair in two previous meetings, she may improve while shortening in distance. Last October, when switched from a turf route to a dirt sprint, Access to Charlie beat open company in a seven-furlong race for second-level optional $25,000 claimers.

Access to Charlie will race uncoupled from her Larry Murray-trained, Howard Bender-owned stablemate More Than a Cruise. She will make her second start off a layoff – a profitable angle for Murray the past two seasons – after finishing a rallying second going six furlongs in her season’s debut Feb. 13.

Citi Point ships in from Kentucky after winning 2 of 3 starts on Turfway Park’s Polytrack this winter. In her lone race over a fast dirt surface, Citi Point won her maiden by eight lengths at Mountaineer, albeit with a slow 55 Beyer Speed Figure.