03/17/2011 2:30PM

Laurel sees showdown in Private Terms

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Two-time stakes winner Bandbox, narrowly beaten as the odds-on favorite in last month’s Miracle Wood, and Rush Now, a stakes winner as a 2-year-old who was given a confidence booster when dropped in for a claiming price, meet for the first time in Saturday’s $75,000 Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park.

The one-mile Private Terms drew a field of eight 3-year-olds, but just three of them – Bandbox, restricted stakes winner Concealed Identity, and the 1-for-6 Distorted Appeal – are Triple Crown nominees.

Bandbox, locally based with trainer Rodney Jenkins, won back-to-back stakes going seven furlongs last fall, the Charles Town Juvenile and the Sleepy Hollow against New York-breds at Belmont Park. In his first start as a 3-year-old on Feb. 28, Bandbox missed by a neck in the seven-furlong Miracle Wood, but still earned a career-best 96 Beyer Speed Figure that exceeds the par of 89 for the Private Terms.

Jenkins shows a 5-for-23 record (22 percent) with horses stretching out from sprints to routes in the second start of their form cycle.

Rush Now, based at Parx Racing with trainer Tony Dutrow, won last fall’s $75,000 Dover Stakes at Delaware Park going 1 1/16 miles, but was noncompetitive in two subsequent stakes. Dropped sharply in class to a $40,000 claimer, Rush Now regained his form, romping by eight lengths going a one-turn mile while earning a 90 Beyer. He will break from the rail while being ridden for the first time by Mario Pino.

Concealed Identity was no factor after breaking awkwardly and getting bumped at the start of the Miracle Wood. He may appreciate the extra distance of the Private Terms, based on his win in the 7 1/2-furlong Maryland Juvenile Championship.

The Todd Pletcher-trained Joe Vann is 2 for 2 since coming north to Maryland from Florida. He will have to move forward off his last two Beyers of 77 and 78 to challenge Bandbox and Rush Now while stepping up to stakes company.

Tap Star beat only one horse the first time he raced beyond 6 1/2 furlongs in the Count Fleet on New Year’s Day, but came back to win a first-level allowance at his home track, Parx Racing, while sprinting on March 1. He is eligible to move forward trying a route for the second time while making the second start of his form cycle. Kendrick Carmouche retains the mount.

 

“The thing I liked the most was he broke running but settled really nice just off the pace and when [Carmouche] called on him, he swung up four or five wide and beat a nice horse,” said trainer John Servis, who won the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes with Smarty Jones.