LAUREL — LAUREL -- The big action is in Florida today, but Laurel offers the $60,000 Challedon Handicap as its live feature beforehand to prep local horseplayers for the Breeders' Cup championships.
Defending champion Flaming Emperor, who won the 1991 Challedon when Smart Alec was disqualified, heads a field of eight Maryland-breds going seven furlongs in the stakes.
Flaming Emperor tuned up by breezing three furlongs in an eye-popping 34 3/5 last Saturday at Bowie, indicating a razor sharpness.
The 6-year-old gelding comes into the race off a rallying second to Dontcloseyoureyes in the Maryland City Handicap three weeks ago.
It was a similar performance to last year's Challedon, when he had not raced in four months because of an injury to his suspensory ligament.
"I think he ought to be tough to beat," trainer Kenny Cox said. "I've always felt seven or a mile out of the chute were his best distances and that recent race has him sitting on ready."
The competition includes Wood So, Root Boy and Sticks And Bricks.
Rosecroft's Presidential races
Rosecroft Raceway is host to the fastest 2-year-old harness horses in the world the next two Saturdays with the eliminations for and final of the $242,560 Presidential Pace.
The top finishers from tonight's three heats will return for the big Presidential money Nov. 7.
Bonnie And Clyde, upset in the Breeders Crown at Pompano Park (Fla.) last Friday by Village Jiffy, is favored in one elimination. He is 5-for-10 this year.
Life Sign and Mystical Prince are the overnight choices in the other eliminations, but Presidential Ball, 2-year-old pacing colt division leader, is finished for the year because of an illness.
Sunday racing has been dropped at the track beginning this week in deference to NFL football.
Rosecroft will be racing Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.