El RE­FER Areeb PANEL XYX sdfs­dfdssdf back from in­jury

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Front Page - By Mar­cus Hersh

It was a year ago that El Areeb last raced at Laurel Park, run­ning away from nine ri­vals in the James F. Lewis Stakes and onto the Triple Crown trail. A knee in­jury de­railed his clas­sic hopes fol­low­ing the March 3 Gotham Stakes and El Areeb now makes his come­back in the $100,000 City of Laurel Stakes on Satur­day.

Sit­ting there on the stakes sched­ule, the seven-fur­long, 3-year-old-re­stricted City of Laurel surely looked like an at­trac­tive spot in which to bring El Areeb back, but the field is strong for the class level.

“The race came up a lit­tle tougher than we ex­pected,” said Cal Lynch, who trains El Areeb for Mo­ham­mad Al-Gadhi’s M M G Sta­bles.

The same could be said of all six stakes on Laurel’s 10-race Satur­day card. The $75,000 Geisha for Mary­land-breds kicks off the se­quence in race 2, and the five $100,000 races – all on dirt and all deep, com­pet­i­tive, and playable – go as races 5 through 9. The Laurel main track should be rated fast un­der sunny skies. First post is noon East­ern.

Satur­day is Ben’s Cat Day at Laurel, and pa­trons can claim me­men­tos of the famed Mary­land-bred sprinter, who was re­tired in June and weeks later suf­fered a fa­tal case of colic. Ben’s Cat’s ashes will be in­terred next to the Laurel pad­dock dur­ing a cer­e­mony honor­ing the horse.

As for El Areeb, he’s the 2-1 morn­ing-line favorite in the City of Laurel (race 6, 2:30) but could go off at longer odds than that – pro­vided he starts. Lynch on Thurs­day said El Areeb re­mained a likely run­ner but that a fi­nal call on his par­tic­i­pa­tion wouldn’t be made be­fore he con­ferred Thurs­day evening with the colt’s owner.

El Areeb, who had surgery to re­move a bone chip and clean up the af­fected joint, be­gan swim­ming in July and has logged six workouts.

“He’s work­ing fan­tas­tic,” said Lynch. “He had an easy lit­tle blow [Wed­nes­day]. It’s a sim­i­lar work pat­tern to most of his races.”

El Areeb has won go­ing six fur­longs and 1 1/16 miles, and the seven-fur­long trip should be no is­sue. El Areeb does pre­fer for­ward place­ment, and in his first start back, he might be sharp enough to get into a pace dis­pute that wouldn’t help his chances.

Tale of Si­lence has a great chance if he can work out a trip from post 1, a tricky spot at this dis­tance.

“You have a horse that likes the out­side, and you get the in­side, and if they like the in­side, they get the out­side,” said trainer Bar­clay Tagg.

Tale of Si­lence was fourth, beaten a nose for third by Amer­i­can An­them, in the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens when last seen Aug. 26 at Saratoga. Prac­ti­cal Joke, who won, and Taka­ful, who was sec­ond, are stronger ri­vals than any­thing Tale of Si­lence meets Satur­day.

“He’s just grown up since win­ter,” Tagg said. “He’s do­ing quite well right now.”

Edgar Prado is named on Tale of Si­lence but is rid­ing else­where Satur­day. Joe Bravo has the mount, Tagg said.

No Doz­ing, 2 for 2 at Laurel, has raced 11 times but still needs to grow up, ac­cord­ing to trainer Ar­naud Dela­cour, who has added and taken blink­ers off No Doz­ing this year and tried him on turf last out.

“There’s a few things we can still prob­a­bly im­prove with him,” Dela­cour said. “He’s still very im­ma­ture in the way he races and acts.”

Honor the Fleet and Price of Hempt, who is un­beaten in three starts, scored open-lengths al­lowance wins last out but get a class test here.

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