Though he has made 32 starts over the past three racing seasons, with 13 visits to the winner's circle, Nancy Lavrich and Ronald Zielinski's Altissimo will be entering new territory today in the $100,000 Dave's Friend at Laurel Park . The 6-furlong Dave's Friend for 3-year-olds and up, one of six stakes worth $550,000 in purses on a 10-race Christmastide Day program, will be just the second time Altissimo has raced outside his native Ohio. He was seventh in an optional claiming allowance Dec. 28, 2016 at Turfway Park – located just across the border in Florence, Ky. – to cap his juvenile campaign. Altissimo, which means "highest" in Italian, has six wins in his last seven starts, five of them in stakes, all of them with regular rider Christian Pilares aboard. Pilares returns on the gelded 5-year-old son of Noble Causeway from Post 2 in a field of 7, listed as the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. "He's just gotten real good lately," trainer Richard Zielinski said. A career winner of 326 races since 1989, Zielinski never had more than 138 starters between 1991 and 2014. He is in the midst of a career year with highs of 58 wins and $1.35 million in purse earnings from 438 starters.