02/17/2011 4:00PM

Taqarub heads field of 14 for General George at Laurel

Tom Keyser
Taqarub is one of 14 horses entered for Monday's Grade 2 General George Handicap at Laurel Park.

After Taqarub got drilled in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector Handicap at Gulfstream Park last month, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin shipped his 5-year-old horse to the Northeast with the idea of pointing him to the Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct on March 5.

But McLaughlin called an audible – at least for the time being – on Thursday when he entered Taqarub in Monday’s Grade 2, $150,000 General George Handicap at Laurel Park. McLaughlin put Taqarub in the General George, believing the race came up on the light side. Quality wise, McLaughlin was correct. However, the seven-furlong race drew a field of 14, which was not welcome news to McLaughlin.

“We don’t have to run, but we probably will,” said McLaughlin, who added he would analyze the field before making a definitive decision.

The field figures to lose at least one horse, because trainer Todd Pletcher entered both Driven by Solar and Driven by Success in the field. Pletcher is expected to enter both New York-breds in Monday’s $65,000 Hollie Hughes Stakes for New York-breds at Aqueduct and then split up the horses. Driven by Success is most likely to run in Maryland, because Driven by Solar has excelled over the inner track.

The last time Taqarub raced in Maryland, he sprung a 13-1 upset in the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap at Pimlico on the Preakness undercard. The last time Taqarub appeared in a race, he finished fifth, beaten 36 lengths by Big Drama in the Mr. Prospector.

“He got a good ol’ [butt] kicking,” McLaughlin said when asked about the Mr. Prospector. “I don’t really have an excuse.”

Taqarub, the 117-pound highweight, will break from post 10 under Alan Garcia.

Taqarub is one of many horses entered in the General George with early speed. If he breaks, Driven by Success figures to be forwardly placed as do Sin and the City, Delaunay, Ben’s Cat, and Streetsofbrooklyn.

Laysh Laysh Laysh won the Native Dancer Stakes at Laurel on Jan. 17, his third race – and second victory – in a nine-day span. He now has had five weeks to recover and figures to benefit from an expected lively pace.

Temecula Creek, who won an allowance race at Laurel two weeks ago, wheels back eight days after running second in the Always Run Lucky Stakes at Aqueduct last Sunday.

Others in the field include Morumsco, Heritage Hall, Escrow Kid, and No Advantage.