Speedyness, Inveigled clash in Private Terms

Five of nine runners in Saturday’s $100,000 Private Term Stakes are nominated to the Triple Crown. The wide-open affair could certainly go to one of them – or to non-nominated runners like former claimer Point Dume, recent maiden graduate Celtic Contender, or last-out stakes winner Speedyness.

The 1 1/16-mile Private Terms, one of two stakes for sophomores on the card, is Maryland’s next step on the road to the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes May 18. Also on the card is the $100,000 Beyond the Wire for sophomore fillies.

The morning line favorite for the Private Terms is one of the Triple Crown nominees. That’s Mark Grier’s Inveigled, who arrives with two wins from six career starts. He arrives off a decent fourth-place finish Feb. 3 in the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park, in which he finished behind two-year-old champion Fierceness and next-out Tampa Bay Derby winner Domestic Product.

“He came out of it very well. We just kind of felt like we were chasing good horses and it was just going to get tougher and tougher,” trainer Jane Cibelli said. “So, we just kind of backed off of him a little and gave him a bit of a breather, which is hard for him because he’s very forward and aggressive and wants to do it. We spend the summer in Laurel anyway, so we figured we’d go up a little early and try him in there and see how he does.”

Among those not nominated to the Triple Crown, Speedyness figures to get the longest look from bettors. A homebred for trainer Jamie Ness, who owns him in partnership with Morris Kernan, Jr., the Maryland-bred Great Notion gelding has won five of nine overall and four of his last five.

Last time out, Speedyness dueled for the lead early before taking command en route to a 1 ½-length win in the one-mile Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel Park. It was the first time he had taken extended heat in a race and still finished well.

“He grew up a lot. Before he’d go to the lead, have the lead by himself and then draw off [but] last time he got pressure. I didn’t know how he would take pressure, nobody really did, and he took it fine,” Ness said. “Sometimes that separates good horses from just horses, if they can take the pressure, take the adversity, and still run their race. I was proud of him. When you compete in stakes races, they’re not gimmes so you have to be able to take the pressure, deal with adversity and overcome it. The good ones are able to do that.”

The Private Terms will be the first time around two turns for Speedyness. Regular rider Jaime Rodriguez will be aboard at co-topweight of 124 pounds.

“I don’t see it being an issue. He’s fit, sound and he likes to run so we’re going to give it a try and see,” Ness said. “After he won first out, I just thought he’d always be a sprinter, but stretching him out he seems to have the speed and can carry it. Nobody is more surprised than me.”

The Private Terms is carded as the ninth on a 10-race program. Post time for the opener is 12:25 p.m. EDT.

One race earlier, three-year-old fillies will try their luck in the one-mile Beyond the Wire, the next local step en route to the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes May 17.

D Hatman Thoroughbreds’ Determined Driver has been installed as the 7-5 morning line favorite for the Beyond the Wire. Trained by Phil Schoenthal, Determined Driver, a Maryland-bred daughter of Dialed In, is two-for-four in her career, her two defeats having come when a troubled second against the boys in last summer’s Timonium Juvenile and last out when second behind Miss Harriett in the Wide Country.

“She’s a very tactical filly and seems to be very content to do whatever you need or want her to do. I guess that’s an advantage with any racehorse. She’s not one way. She seems to have a ton of heart and that’s a huge part of the equation,” trainer Phil Schoenthal said. “I think there’s still some question in our minds if she’s better on the dirt or the turf, but turf opportunities are limited until April or May so here we are.”