Maryland racing analyst Gabby Gaudet has been on a strong roll of late, and we’re all hoping that she brings her ‘A’ game to Maryland Million day! She has the goods on the day’s late Pick 4, plus an intriguing long shot.
Laurel Park has a 50-cent Pick Four beginning in race 7. Post time for the 7th is 3:48. It is expected to be somewhat overcast during the day, but any rain that comes should miss the racing card.
- Race 7 – 1, 6, 7, 8
- Race 8 – 3, 4, 5, 7
- Race 9 – 5, 7, 8, 9
- Race 10 – 1
- Wager cost: $32
“Race 7 is the Ladies, a 1 1/8 mile turf race, and linemaker Keith Feustle has said this was one of the day’s toughest to line; it’s a wide open race. I’m going to include four runners here because it’s such a tough one and so evenly matched. #1 Pagan Priestess won this race last year, and she’s still running well today. I was super-impressed with that last race. She didn’t take any money at the windows, but she still showed up and ran well, despite a tough trip inside. In fact, she hasn’t had an ideal trip in either of her last two starts, but she’s still run well… #6 Can’t Explain didn’t take any play in her first turf try, at Saratoga, and ran that way. But in her most recent race, against state-breds at Monmouth, she ran well and won. Plus, Joe Bravo is in to ride her, so she’ll probably get bet… I really like #7 Monster Sleeping, though she’ll want a very firm turf course. She’s a little bit of a hit-or-miss filly, but I have a feeling she’ll improve stretching out after a really good try in the Jameela against a good group… I didn’t like #8 Mystic Love in her last out in the Jameela. But she was a good-looking horse last year, as a two year-old, and I think stretching out to a route of ground — which is what she was best at last year — will prove her best distance.
“The eighth is the Distaff, seven furlongs on the dirt for fillies and mares, and I will go four deep in here, as well. I really like #3 Classy Coco. She really tries hard every time, and she’s versatile. Matt Rispoli is in to ride her, and he’s never been off the board with this horse. Plus, I think there’s a lot of early speed in this race, and she can rate off it and make her run… #4 Ann’s Smart Dancer is proven at this seven-furlong distance, and it’s interesting to see her come in from out of town first off the claim for Phil Serpe. She’s been consistently racing in tough spots… #5 Ju Ju Eyeballs’ past performances speak for themselves. She had a five-race win streak snapped in August, and she’s run well everywhere and on every surface. She’s another who can sit off the pace and can come flying late. She comes in off several good races, and I thought that last second to Madame Giry in the Jameela was very impressive… I think #7 A and Out is improving every race, especially since coming back from a layoff in August. I think she could absolutely fire here at long odds, but she is a question mark in this field.
“The ninth, the Turf, is an interesting race, and made more interesting because #8 Ben’s Cat is in this spot. Let’s start with him: obviously, he’s a terrific horse, but his game is sprinting on the grass. Even so, he’s going to be awfully tough here. He’s won going this far, and though it was a long time ago, he’s the one to beat… But I think several of these have the ability to do that. The last for #5 Saintly Love was not impressive, but I think he’ll appreciate going long again, and he sure was in good form earlier this year… #7 Roadhog won this race a year ago, and he’s been having a good year, with two stakes wins so far. He’s proven at the track, and he might want to go a little farther than the flat mile, but he’s won at the distance, too… Joe Bravo has had good success aboard #9 Change of Command, and he’s in to ride him today. He likes the mile distance, and I thought his win in the Elkwood at Monmouth was a big effort.
“The thing about #1 Eighttofasttocatch in the Classic is that he’s just in a different class level than these, and I’m singling him here. He has three 100+ Beyers in the last year, and the others are all well behind that. Forest Boyce will ride, and she’s done well with him. That’s good, because he’s a quirky horse who likes it his own way, but I think in this spot, he goes gate to wire.”
- Her longshot play of the day comes from the fifth, which is one of the new races this year: a maiden special weight event going 1 1/16 miles on the grass for Maryland-bred or -sired horses. She likes #10 Star Crossed Lover. “I don’t know if he’ll win,” she says, “but I would definitely use him in my exotic plays — exacta, trifecta, or supers. There was a lot of hype on this horse in his first time out in a dirt sprint, and bettors made him the favorite. He had been working great, but he ran towards the back throughout. But his connections weren’t discouraged at all, because they’ve always felt like going long on the turf would be his best game. Plus, he’s continued to work well since that debut race.”
(Featured image, of Ben’s Cat, by Laurie Asseo.)