12/18/2009 12:00AM

Two at Laurel stand out on class


Pedigree players have a couple of good choices to consider from among the 12 Maryland-bred 2-year-old fillies entered in Saturday's $50,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship at Laurel Park.

That's How I Roll, a New York-based filly who will be facing statebreds for the first time, and locally based Brave as a Lion, a recent maiden winner, both merit respect based on their bloodlines.

That's How I Roll is a daughter of the mare Chatter Chatter, who as a 2-year-old won the $400,000 My Dear Girl and the $150,000 Joe O'Farrell at Calder.

Purchased as an unraced prospect for $235,000 at Fasig-Tipton's Kentucky mixed sale last February, That's How I Roll will be making her first start since October. Although her only win in six starts came in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint, That's How I Roll did finish second in the off-the-turf Junior Champion Stakes going a mile at Monmouth Park, which indicates she should be a good fit for Saturday's one-turn, 7 1/2-furlong race.

Brave as a Lion, trained by Richard Small, is a full sister to Roaring Lion, who won the Maryland Juvenile Championship in 2006.

Brave as a Lion's maiden win came at six furlongs, but two starts ago she was good enough to be second of eight going a mile.

Jim's Prospect, the track's morning-line favorite at 5-2, will be the last horse saddled by Carlos Garcia, who is changing jobs after nearly 40 years as a trainer. Garcia, 69, intends to become an agent for jockeys Abel Castellano and Brian Pedroza.

"Abel is going to Arkansas for the winter but will be back in April," Garcia said. "Pedroza has potential. The genes are there. His father is Martin Pedroza, who rides in Southern California, and his mother is former rider Kimberly Davis."

Castellano will ride Jim's Prospect for Garcia on Saturday. She has yet to finish out of the money in three career starts, including a victory going seven furlongs on Oct. 10.

"She is in good shape for this race," Garcia said. "I am not one to tout but the horse is in good condition."

Garcia enters Saturday with 1,303 career winners from 8,111 starters for earnings of nearly $24.5 million. He ranked in the top 10 among Maryland trainers for five straight years in the early 1990s and won 19 stakes in the state in 1990. His best horse was the filly Squan Song, a four-time Maryland-bred champion who won 18 of 36 starts, including 14 stakes.

He and his wife, Carol, will continue to own 14 horses in training. One of them, Baltimore Bob, is scheduled to run in the Buddy Diliberto Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds on Dec. 26. Garcia will make the trip to Louisiana for the race.

The two best recent Beyer Speed Figures in the field belong to Smart Tori and Popeye's Lady.

Smart Tori, from the high-percentage barn of Gary Capuano, was beaten just two lengths in the seven-furlong Tri-State Futurity at Charles Town two starts ago, earning a Beyer Figure of 71. She ran a bit slower in her most recent start, which she lost by a neck after lugging in. She was disqualified from third to fifth in that race.

Popeye's Lady, trained by Rodney Jenkins, has been no worse than second in her last four starts. She will be racing beyond six furlongs for the first time after missing by a head while earning a career-best 71 Beyer two starts ago and winning a high-priced optional claimer going 5 1/2 furlongs five weeks ago.