Maryland racing analyst Gabby Gaudet has thoughts on today’s opening Saturday at Laurel Park!

MJC analyst Gabby Gaudet will share her longshot and exotic plays with The Racing Biz each Saturday.  Photo courtesy of the Maryland Jockey Club.

MJC analyst Gabby Gaudet will share her longshot and exotic plays with The Racing Biz each Saturday. Photo courtesy of the Maryland Jockey Club.

In the return of our weekly feature with Maryland racing analyst Gabby Gaudet, she has a pick three and a best bet she’s looking to play.


Gabby’s taken aim at the 50-cent late pick three, which begins with race eight, the Dave’s Friend Stakes.  That’s drawn a field of seven, though Eighttofasttocatch will reportedly scratch.  Her ticket:

  • RACE 8 — 1, 2, 4, 6
  • RACE 9 — 1, 3, 4, 9, 13
  • RACE 10 — 6, 9

TICKET COST: $20 (50-cent unit)

Her Take:

Race 8 — The Dave’s Friend Stakes/3yo and up/6 furlongs

  • Overall: This is a really good race, and the key question is: will anyone really pressure Bern Identity on the front end?  If not, look for a gate-to-wire winner.  If so, then the closers come into play.
    • #1 Bern Identity — He’s run really well this year, could wire this group, and is good enough to consider as a single.  But he was away for over a year, and this will be his third race in a little over a month.  That makes me want to back him up with some other runners.
    • #2 Perilous Indian — This is the first race off the claim for this horse, who was claimed last out by Hugh McMahon at Saratoga.  He has some back class to him and has run with some serious horses; if Hugh can get him to move forward, he has a shot here.
    • #4 Trickmeister — Probably my top pick in here, he’s an old class horse who’s run competitively against some really good horses.  His last out, off a long layoff, was not bad at all, a second against Rainbow Heir, who’s a Breeders’ Cup hopeful.  He’s got the tactical speed to find a good spot.
    • #6 Lemon Drop Dream — When spotted at the most appropriate level, this horse has run plenty of good races.  The Grade 1 Vanderbilt, his last race, probably was too much for him; this group shouldn’t be.

Race 9 — The Japan Racing Association Stakes/3yo and up/1 1/16 miles turf

  • Overall: This is a big field of accomplished horses and one where I think you need to spread out.
    • #1 Roadhog — I didn’t love his try in the Dixie, but he’s three-for-six over the Laurel turf and always tries hard, especially when he’s in the right spots.
    • #3 Under Control — I really like Under Control in this spot and thought he ran a terrific race in the G3 Oceanport, when he came in third.  The one concern is that he often seems to find trouble in his races, so it’ll be critical for him to get a clean trip.
    • #4 Legendary — You hate to take the favorite in a race like this, but you can’t ignore this horse.  He had a two-race winning streak snapped in his last — but was beaten just 1 1/2 lengths in the Lure at Saratoga, and the winner that day was Grade 1 winner Big Blue Kitten.
    • #9 Hamp — He seemed not to like the really boggy turf he encountered in his last race, at Belmont, but his two prior tries, when he won the Henry S. Clark and was beaten just two in the G2 Dixie, were excellent.  I’m inclined to toss that Belmont race and think this horse will return to better form here.
    • #13 Fredericksburg — He ran great in the G3 Oceanport, finishing second, and doesn’t get much respect at the windows.  This is a tough post, but he has the speed to get out and maybe clear the field and get over.  If he can work that out, he could take them a long way.

Race 10 — $8,000 starter allowance/3yo and up/1 1/16 miles turf

  • Overall: Though this is another big field, I think only a couple of these are likely to be around at the end.  There figures to be some pace here, though, so if the favorite doesn’t win, it might be a horse coming from the back.
    • #6 Coturnix — This horse has faced and beaten better than these.  He looks to be very tough in here.
    • #9 Court Band — With some speed in this race, the nine-year-old making his 88th career start should have a shot to close into the pace.


  • Race 2, #7 Liza Doolittle Day (5-2) — Eddy Gourmet is deservedly 7-5 in here, but Liza Doolittle Day, making her second start, was super-impressive in winning her debut.  She was hounded all the way by a horse who came back to win in maiden special weight company but still drew off to win by three.  She was all racehorse in a very professional debut.

“Good luck!”

(Featured image, of Ben’s Cat, by Laurie Asseo.)