03/17/2010 11:00PM

Miracle Wood 1-2 get rematch in Private Terms


There may have been a huge spread in the odds between 6-5 favorite Dont Blame the Cat and 47-1 longshot Regal Warrior when they met three weeks ago in the seven-furlong Miracle Wood at Laurel Park, but only a length separated them at the finish. The top two finishers from the Miracle Wood will meet again in Saturday's $70,000 Private Terms Stakes at Laurel.

The one-mile Private Terms, which also serves as the first leg of this week's Magna 5, is a local prep for the May 15 Preakness, but none of the seven 3-year-olds in Saturday's field is yet nominated to the Triple Crown.

Dont Blame the Cat, based in New York with trainer Rick Dutrow, improved his record to 3 for 4 with his off-the-pace score in the Miracle Wood. He is unbeaten in two starts locally and has trainer has gone 8 for 11 this year at Laurel.

Erick Rodriguez, who has been aboard for Dont Blame the Cat's last two wins, retains the mount.

"Last time out going seven-eighths as a big test for him and he passed," Rodriguez said. "I wasn't sure he could get the distance but he was still running at the finish line and he should not mind going a mile either. If he runs the same race he did last time he'll be fine."

Regal Warrior, who was beaten for a $40,000 claiming tag last September and finished a distant fifth in his stakes debut against Maryland-breds in December, ran the best race of his seven-start career to finish second in the Miracle Wood when he passed eight horses after getting pinched back to last at the start. It's reasonable to expect he could run even better with a clean break Saturday.

The most intriguing new prospect in the field is the unbeaten Plantation, whose 3-for-3 record includes a pair of two-turn restricted allowance victories at Charles Town. In his last start on Feb. 19, Plantation earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure that is 12 points higher than Dont Blame the Cat earned for his win in the Miracle Wood.

The field also includes Reckless Runner and Target Practice, who earned identical Beyers of 70 for daylight wire-to-wire wins going a mile against maidens in their most recent starts, and Our Commander, winner of the 7 1/2-furlong Maryland Juvenile Championship, who will be making his first start off the claim for trainer Robin Graham.