What to look for in today’s Mid-Atlantic stakes

There are four stakes on the docket this weekend in the Mid-Atlantic, all Saturday. Three, including two for two-year-olds, are at Laurel Park, while the fourth is Saturday evening at Charles Town Races.

The two-year-old races at Laurel are of particular interest – any stars in the making? – while the Charles Town stake, the renamed Randy Funkhouser Memorial, formerly the A Huevo, gives us perhaps our last chance of the season to see likely WV-bred horse of the year Muad’dib.

Here’s what to watch for:

SMART HALO STAKES (Lrl) – 2yo fillies, 6 furlongs – Post time 2:41

Four-for-four Bound by Destiny puts her spotless ledger on the line after running the table at Delaware Park, including two wins in Del-certified stakes… Dissolute was a flashy maiden breaker on debut at Delaware Oct. 13 for Cal Lynch, who does extremely well with juveniles… Trainer Lacey Gaudet liked Miss Georgie enough to run her in the G1 Spinaway at the Spa…Twice as Sweet ran second last out to Key of Life, who won a $200k stake in her follow-up… Diamondsifyoudo seemed set to win at first asking when rival fought back to win. Still, a solid debut and may set her up for this shorter contest…

JOHN’S PICKS: Dissolute “will be very tough to beat here”: 8-6-2-4

JAMES F. LEWIS, III STAKES (Lrl) – 2yo, 6 furlongs – Post time 3:18

Two-for-two Recruiter looks to continue hot start to career for Cal Lynch and owns top speed figs… Heldish has run into buzz saws in last couple, has to be thinking that can’t continue. Can it? Riccio has a couple of stakes placings to his credit and has been beaten by undefeated Howgreatisnate and Tuskegee Airmen, who has the look of a national class juvenile….Honeyquist was a sharp winner at first asking at CT but beaten favorite versus state-breds on WVBC night.

JOHN’S PICKS: Recruiter has “been working strongly for this race at Fair Hill”: 6-1-5-7

THIRTY EIGHT GO GO STAKES (Lrl) – Fillies and mares 3yo and up, 1 1/16 miles – Post time 3:49

Recent stakes winners Malibu Beauty and Hybrid Eclipse square off. The former may be committed to the front while breaking from the inside stall, but she should have company from Baby Man. Is that good news for Hybrid Eclipse or a longer shot, like Timonium Distaff winner Breviary?

JOHN’S PICKS: Baby Man “gigantic race at Aqueduct last out”: 7-1-8

RANDY FUNKHOUSER MEMORIAL STAKES (Ct) – WV-breds 3yo and up, 1 ⅛ miles – Post time 10:02

Defending state-bred champ Muad’dib will be favored, and the main question there is how low the odds will go. The Jeff Runco trainee was a game second in the G2 Charles Town Classic – his only defeat in 12 career outings – and then won the WV Breeders’ Classic in a hard-fought battle for the second straight year. The horse he beat that day, Martin Man, passes on this contest… Candy Invasion was a pretty indifferent fourth in the WVBC but ran huge in prior three-turn tries… Free Sailin is the top of the 3yo heap, will try three turns and older for the first time…

TEDS PICKS: Muad’dib “looks to continue his dominance among state-bred males”: 8-6-3-5