Private Terms quick hits: Wide-open affair

Saturday’s $100,000 Private Terms Stakes is the next local step on the road to the Preakness. Three of the eight are already stakes winners, but only one runner here – Conclusive, who hasn’t won a stake – is actually nominated to the Triple Crown, which will be necessary for any who hope to compete in it.

It looks to be a wide-open affair. Five of these ran last-out Beyer figs between 72 and 77, and a sixth ran a 74 two back. Our quick hits:

Local hopeful: One of those local hopefuls – one whose connections quite explicitly have their eyes on the Preakness – is Joe. Owned by The Elkstone Group LLC, Joe closed his two-year-old campaign with a good-looking score in the seven-furlong Maryland Juvenile Championship and then stretched out to two turns to win an allowance Jan. 23. He’s been training forwardly since for Mike Trombetta.

Quotable: “I think there’s a lot of upside yet for him,” Trombetta said. “He hasn’t been tested super hard – state-bred race [stakes], allowance race, maiden race. Now it’s time to turn the heat up a little bit and see how he does with it.”

Here comes a regular: Dating back to his debut last July, Local Motive (3-1) has danced just about every local dance: the Timonium Juvenile, Maryland Million Nursery, James F. Lewis, III, Maryland Juvenile Championship, Spectacular Bid, and Miracle Wood Stakes. He won the Miracle Wood nicely last out, and if he can catch a fair racetrack and avoid having dirt kicked in his face, he could be a factor here.

Quotable: “My question is, how far will he really go?” trainer John Salzman, Jr. said. “He’s getting better with every start I feel. As long as he’s close and lays just a bit off the pace he’ll be in good shape, or he can set the pace if there is none.”

Inconclusive: Conclusive was nowhere to be found in the Miracle Wood, finishing last as the favorite. That continued an interesting trend: he’s 2-for-3 around two turns and 0-for-3, without every running particularly well, around one. Saturday’s contest is a two-turn event.

Rapid rise, part 1: Majestic Frontier (6-1) was a well-beaten second Dec. 19 at the maiden claiming $10,000 level. Since then, the Jerry Robb trainee won a maiden claimer by nine lengths, scored a shocking allowance win, and then ran a good second in the Miracle Wood. He’ll need to keep improving to score here, but he doesn’t seem to have found his ceiling yet.

Quotable: “He had trouble last time [in the Miracle Wood] and finished second, so I think that he’s got a shot. He could have won that day, so I’m looking forward to trying him back,” said trainer Jerry Robb.

Rapid rise, part 2: Trainer Rudy Sanchez-Salomon claimed Shake Em Loose (6-1) out of his maiden score for just $16,000. He next ran him in the Heft Stakes, in which he won at odds of 59-1. After a clunker in the Spectacular Bid, the Shakin It Up gelding won nicely in a local allowance. His best efforts put him in the mix here, and if the pace heats up – a distinct possibility – he’s one who figures to be running late.

Quotable: “I just worked him the other day and he worked unbelievable. He really impressed me. I hope he doesn’t have any problems coming out of the gate,” Sanchez-Salomon said. “That’s what happened the last time he ran in a stake [in the Spectacular Bid]. He broke in the air coming out of the gate and that was it. 

One, not done: Eagle in Love (3-1) scored a 15-1 upset in a one-mile maiden special weight race in the first – and to date only – race of his career. So trainer Rob Atras sends him here for his first try against winners. What to make of that field? The runner-up, Long Term, went off the 2-5 favorite and has finished second in all four of his career starts.