In the latest edition of our weekly feature with Maryland racing analyst Gabby Gaudet, she gives us a ticket in the Jackpot Pick 5 at Laurel Park, and we drill down into the details of the fifth race, the Laurel Futurity, with a special eye on behavior.
The skinny: Two-year-olds going 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf.
Notably: Six of the nine expected runners have never run on the green stuff.
Gabby’s bottom line: “I tend to pick horses who come from off the pace in these 5 1/2 furlong races that end at the second wire. We’ve seen over the past couple of weeks those speed horses — it looks like they’re going to get it, and someone comes flying on the outside and nabs them at the wire.”[boxify cols_use =”2″ cols =”6″ position =”right” box_spacing =”5″ padding =”3″ background_color =”gray” background_opacity =”10″ border_width =”1″ border_color =”blue” border_style =”solid” height =”360″ ]GABBY’S SPOTLIGHT HORSE
- #2 Markakis
- Son of Greek Sun won his debut by 1 3/4 lengths at Laurel on September 10.
- Comment line: “Steadied… driving.”
- Gabby’s take: “He was talented enough to overcome his behavioral deficiencies [in his debut]. I honestly think he could have won by more. He just let his greenness get in the way, and you hope he can overcome that tomorrow.”[/boxify]
> #8 CYCLOGENISIS is probably the real deal. He seemed pretty precocious in his debut. It’s tought to win a MSW at Saratoga, especially like that. So I think he is the horse to beat.
> #3 DUKIN’ WITH DALE is a horse whose breeding I really like for his turf debut — he’s by Indian Charlie and out of a Cure the Blues mare. And it looks like he’s a pretty talented horse, as well; seems like he’s only improving.
> #10 ONE EYED RAY is another horse I’d use, although I’m a little bit reluctant with him. His second turf try was good, not great, and it’s hard to tell with some of these other horses making their debuts on turf — even if they’re bred for it, you just don’t know.
DIGGING INTO… #2 MARKAKIS
“I think physical handicapping when you get to these two-year-old races is extremely important — especially looking at differences in horses’ behavior and appearance from race to race.
“Let’s take a look at Markakis. The connections (trainer Robin Graham, who co-owns the horse with Mary Jones) really did like him going into his debut performance. But when he came into the paddock he was all over the place — I literally thought he was going to jump in here (to the center gazebo)… so really unruly and green in the paddock, and it showed when he ran.[boxify cols_use =”2″ cols =”6″ position =”right” box_spacing =”5″ padding =”3″ background_color =”gray” background_opacity =”10″ border_width =”1″ border_color =”blue” border_style =”solid” height =”180″ ]BONUS PICK FIVE
- Race 7 — 2, 9, 11, 12
- Race 8 –1, 3
- Race 9 — 3, 6, 7, 10, 11
- Race 10 — 3, 8, 9
- Race 11 — 8
- Ticket cost: $24[/boxify]
“He was all over the place. He got himself into so much trouble. Honestly, I think he probably could have won that race by over 1 3/4 lengths — probably 3 lengths or more — because he was so talented. He just had to kind of overcome his greenness.
“So, one thing I’ll be looking for before the Futurity is his behavior in the paddock: have I seen any bit of an improvement? Is there a development with him when they saddle him? Last time it took them forever to saddle him.
“How is he in the post parade? And does that transition to his race? Personally, I think if I see an improvement with him in the paddock, it will translate onto his performance.
“If you’re watching simulcasts tomorrow, and I comment that he’s much more relaxed… that may be an indication that he’s going to improve off his first effort.”
(Featured image, of Ben’s Cat, by Laurie Asseo.)