Who’re we watching? Let’s see what’s on tap in the mid-Atlantic this weekend:
- Holly’s Image, Laurel Park, Saturday, Race 6 (2:58), ALW N1X, Fillies and mares 4yo and up, abt. 1 1/16 miles
- Trainer Hamilton Smith might be the hottest trainer on the planet, with a ridiculously good 12-for-27 ledger so far this year, and in a modest field of horses trying to win their first allowance, that might be all you need to know… Daughter of Ready’s Image will need to step forward to have a shot at the money, but the price could be right (6-1 morning line), and with just eight starts under her belt, she retains the right to improve… Not sure what she beat exactly in her last — she was 9-10 against never-won-two claimers — but she did what she needed to do in getting the win, and perhaps a jolt of confidence… First time beyond seven furlongs, but her breeding says that’s not out of the question; she’s a half to half-million dollar earner Taptown, who did virtually all of his damage around two turns.. Leading winner Jevian Toledo stays aboard, a plus sign… Only runner proven at the distance here is Lasamanamama (6-3-1-2), who at six and with 32 starts to date, kind of is who she is, and it’s unclear whether that’s good enough.
- Magic Soul, Parx Racing, Saturday, Race 5 (2:13), Maiden Special Weight, 3yo fillies, 5 1/2 furlongs
- $95,000 is a lot of money to drop on a yearling who is the first offspring of an unraced Partner’s Hero mare and by a $3,500 sire (Street Magician) — so before you go past that, you know that her connections saw something they like. Trainer Cal Lynch has just two wins thus far in ’15, but he’s been a steady producer for a long time, so that’s bound to change — and what better place than with a first-time starter, a condition in which has been good for 27 percent wins and a flat-bet profit in 2014-15? Filly’s been training well enough to date, including a bullet five-eighths from the gate on 2/8, and gets Frankie Pennington in the irons. Square morning line price (8-1) seems likely to remain, as several with experience figure to take the betting action.
- Dallas Cowgirl, Charles Town Races, Saturday, Race 7 (9:55), AOC N2x/$25,000 claiming, Fillies and mares 4yo and up, 6 1/2 furlongs
- Flint Stites trainee has finished first or second in all four CT starts, including three wins — and is winless elsewhere… Thrashed CT allowance foes by 11 last out at 1-2 and is one of five in here running for the condition, rather than the claiming tag… Four-year-old is a daughter of Cowboy Cal out of the stakes-winning Broken Vow mare My Sister Sue — a runner Stites also trained… Stites owns a two-for-two mark at CT this year, and Jose Montano — winning at a 27 percent rate — retains the mount. Morning line odds of 4-1 seem like a square price on a horse who looks to be fast enough and classy enough to compete here.
- Rose Essence, Laurel Park, Sunday, Race 7 (3:27), Maiden Special Weight, 3yo fillies, 5 1/2 furlongs
- Pricey daughter of Speightstown ($425,000 at auction) has been the favorite in each of her two starts to date — and hasn’t done much in either, finishing fifth and sixth… She’s been away since December 18 and has been working gangbusters for her return: four bullets from five works, most recently three furlongs in 37 3/5 seconds, about a second faster than any other runner… Victor Carrasco stays aboard… Looped up while wide in last start to reach near-even terms with the leading pair as the field turned for home but emptied out thereafter… Trainer Rodney Jenkins has won six consecutive times — and 13 of 28 — sending out maidens in this class off a similar layoff.