LAUREL -- Two horses with a race apiece over the track -- Rhythm and Secret Hello -- are the program favorites in today's $500,000 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla.
The race will be simulcast at Laurel Race Course and the Pimlico inter-track outlet.
Both horses finished second in preps for the Donn, which kicks off the 10-race American Championship Racing Series. The series comes to Maryland May 11 for the Pimlico Special.
Rhythm, the 5-2 morning-line choice, finished a late-closing second in the Creme Fraiche Handicap at Gulfstream. He had not run since finishing eighth as the favorite in the Breeders' Cup Classic Oct. 27.
Secret Hello (4-1) was second in an allowance sprint Jan. 14. It was his first start since winning the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in late November.
"It was a good race for him because he hadn't run short in a long time," said Secret Hello's trainer, Frank Brothers. "He's coming up to this race well. Hopefully, he'll run good."
The Donn will be shown as the 11th event on Laurel's program -- one race after the $40,000-added Dancing Count Stakes, in which Colonel Hill is the probable favorite.
NOTES: The No. 2 saddlecloth was a lucky one at Laurel yesterday, accounting for five winners. The 2-5 Exacta was the right combination in three of those races. . . . Apprentice riders combined for five winners. . . . Leading trainer King Leatherbury, virtually assured of another training title, begins a 15-day suspension today for a medication violation. . . . Fappaburst, trained by P.G. Johnson, has been named to run in next Saturday's $200,000 Barbara Fritchie. The 4-year-old filly, based in New York, will be ridden by Angel Cordero or Mike Smith. The likely Fritchie favorite, Devil's Orchid, arrived from California yesterday. . . . Trainer Joe Devereux, who has been in California since late December, was back this week to check on the rest of his stable at Laurel. Devereux has six horses at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., where his runners have yet to win but have finished second six times. "I've got to bring back a [winner's circle] picture next time," he said.