The GQ Approach – Laurel August 20
Mizz Money (#9) held off Vielsalm (in between) and Heath (#12) to win the Grade 3 Gallorette. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
The GQ Approach features full-card selections from Laurel Park (Friday-Sunday, with twilight racing each Friday), including a daily Best Bet, Longshot Play, and multi-race wagers.
GQ himself is taking the summer off. In his stead will be a rotating band of ‘cappers.
- Rainbow Pick 6: $196.76
- Super High 5: $2,611.03
- Late Pick 5: $1,243.97
BEST BET OF THE DAY
Race 1 / #6 – Worthy Lion (3-1)
LONGSHOT PLAY OF THE DAY
Race 4 / #4 – Be Wild (10-1)
- Number of races scheduled for turf: 6
- Weather: Mostly Sunny, high of 88
- Projected condition of main track: FAST
- Projected condition of turf: FIRM
This $7,500 starter allowance has the feel of a Captain Obvious Special, and you’ll probably want to have three in your multi-race wagers?
#6 Worthy Lion (9-5) has never been out of the money at Laurel Park or at this one-mile distance, and that’s a streak that figures to continue here. The Jason Egan trainee has only been out of the money once in his last 18 starts, has Sheldon Russell in the irons, and has the speed to make his own trip from an outside draw.
#5 No Brakes (2-1) appeared to find the Fountain of Youth last out, the 11-year-old running past his rivals like they were tied to posts for the 21st win of his career while earning an 84 Beyer. Jevian Toledo remains in the irons; if there’s a concern, it’s that this guy’s become a deep closer and may not find a congenial pace setup in this event. If he does get such a setup, one of the horses that may be in the early mix is the 2x Indian Bucks (5-2)¸stretching out from short sprints and switching from turf to dirt. His lone prior try at the distance was a runner-up effort, and if he can translate his recent grass form here, he’s right there at the end.
Let’s take #6 on top here. I’d pass on exactas and triples and look at multi-race wagers, using the 2-5-6 in those.
The favorite in this maiden special weight even, #7 Ballivor (8-5), likely will get pounded at the windows. The Hard Spun colt has Beyer figs up to 81, and an 81 here would almost certainly get the money. But he also failed locally last out, running second to a horse who’d been winless in eight prior tries.
If we’re not inclined to take super-short odds on the fave – and we’re not – then whom to play? #2 R J Bentley (5-1) was pretty well thrashed on debut at Aqueduct back in November. But it’s a positive that then-trainer Graham Motion liked the Bernardini colt enough to run him in New York, and that heat produced four next-out winners. Draw a line through the last on dirt – this guy’s dam was a Breeders’ Cup winner on turf – and note that Horacio Karamanos, who had the last-out mount on two other runners here, picks this one. One other runner worth a look, #4 Hibernia Fire (4-1), was sharp in defeat last out against an even-money favorite, and though Karamanos jumps ship, Sheldon Russell is an able replacement.
The verdict: #2 to win this one, and an exacta box with 2-4-7 if the prices suit.
This allowance heat could go any number of ways, with four horses lined between 5-2 and 6-1.
The favorite, riding a two-race win streak, is #8 Tango Delta (5-2), astutely handled by trainer Jerry Robb, who after breaking this gal’s maiden at today’s distance took advantage of the starter condition for a second win. But the water’s deeper here, and Robb’s record wheeling horses back in less than 10 days is 2-for-30 the last five years.
#5 Bawlmer Hon (4-1) broke her maiden last out against special weight foes up the road at Delaware Park in a game effort in two-turn event. Pilot Trevor McCarthy stays with, and trainer Mark Shuman is 13 percent off similar layoffs in recent years. #3 Wowwhatabrat (6-1) lit up the Parx toteboard last out, winning at 38-1 going today’s distance, and she did it in eye-catching fashion, rallying stoutly from the rear of the field.
Let’s look at #5 to get the money here and include 3,5, and 8 (and even #2 She Rolls if so inclined) in our exotics.
Here’s a handicapping puzzle: a maiden race for juveniles in which 10 of 13 entered have never started.
The tepid 7-2 favorite is #7 O Dionysus (7-2), who was a late scratch from his attempted debut when he tossed rider Victor Carrasco and ran off. The well-bred Gary Capuano trainee has some good works to his credit, including at five furlongs, and two sibs who won at two. Capuano has won with four of 46 debut juveniles in recent years.
#4 Be Wild (10-1) is a half to two horses who earned more than $300,000, including $436k earner Flattering Bea, who also won twice at two. Sire Girolamo can get you a runner, and this one has some good works, including a bullet a week ago. #1 Magician’scalendar (10-1) showed speed and faded in his debut against a group that has the look of a plus heat; trainer Mike Trombetta scores with 16% of juvy maidens making their second starts, and Pimentel remains in the irons. Bodemeister has the look of a potential big-time sire, and debut runner #8 Ski (4-1), for trainer Phil Schoenthal, rates a look here; and if he draws in, Graham Motion trainee #13 King of Cards (6-1), another by Girolamo, rates a look.
As you can see, this is a race to spread in your exotics, and even the five we’ve listed here might not be enough. Regardless, let’s aim for the upset: #4 Be Wild to get it done on debut.
#9 Pauline’s Pride (7-2), a winner of two of 18 stars, is favored in this allowance turf route and enters off a good second in starter company. The John Salzman trainee doesn’t win much, but she rarely runs badly and figures, once again, to give a good accounting of herself here.
You hate to see a live runner hung out in the 12-hole (posts 11-12 are 0-for-13, posts 9-12 3-for-58 at the meet), but such is the lot of #12 Capucine (8-1), a dead game winner at monster odds last out in her first try around two turns on the dirt. Two of her beaten rivals returned victorious, and two others ran second next out; Angel Cruz remains aboard. Ollie Figgins trainee #6 Opie (6-1) just missed last out and has the right to move forward here, with Alex Cintron remaining up. And #11 Moral High Ground (5-1), while also saddled with a bad post, otherwise fits in this group snugly off four good tries versus similar level runners.
The verdict: in a wide open affair, let’s hope #12 Capucine can overcome the rough post at attractive odds.
In this juvenile maiden event, one of these runners — #12 Ghost Affair (3-1) – is bred to be any kind. The daughter of Ghostzapper is out of local star Bold Affair, who earned over $700,000. Ghostzapper, a top sire, won at first asking and can get a first-out winner; and Bold Affair also won at first asking (albeit at three). The Dale Capuano trainee has a good enough work tab, including a five furlong breeze three weeks back.
#7 Springtime Wind (9-2), whose dam was stakes-placed, makes her debut off two consecutive bullet works, the last form the gate. #3 Phantom Shot (6-1) gave a good accounting of herself on debut after breaking a step slow, and trainer Donald Barr is 3-for-9 with second start juveniles. And if she draws in, #13 Chips Icluded (5-1) just missed last out against a horse who won a minor stake in her next start.
The verdict: Let’s look at the #12 Ghost Affair to win here and use #7 and #12 on top in exotics.
The figures say that #2 Enjoy the Show (5-2) should win here. But they’ve said that three straight times, and he’s failed as the favorite all three. Alex Cintron will ride for trainer Tres Abbott.
#5 Daniel Le Deux (12-1) is certainly a handful and a horse with a penchant for making his own trouble, as he did last out, but he also has a little bit of talent. You like to see Feargal Lynch remain aboard, and this feels like a race where there’s enough speed that he can relax and make a run. Jock Horacio Karamanos bails on #8 How’s Your Sugar (12-1), a winner of two straight, to ride #12 Markakis (12-1), stretching out from a sprint but another likely to be compromised by the post.
The most likely winner here is #2 Enjoy the Show, and if the odds remain in approximately fair value territory, he’s a play; but if gets bet down (and he’s been 8-5 or less three straight), give a look at #5 Daniel Le Deux.
Jameela Stakes defending champ #7 Monster Sleeping (9-5) perhaps hasn’t been quite as strong this year as last, when she won this race by a couple, but the 10-time winner still has plenty in the tank and every right to have a major impact on this six-furlong event.
#10 Everything Lovely (3-1) failed as the favorite in this event a year ago, settling for second after leading late, and it’s not hard to imagine a similar outcome here today; she squandered a two-length lead last out to be third in the Honey Bee at Monmouth. Daniel Centeno will ride. In her only prior turf try, Mary Eppler runner #6 Lovable Lady (10-1) had an absolutely disastrous trip virtually the entire way around, but though eighth, she was beaten less than five lengths. She won her last race, on dirt, and with a clean trip here can compete.
Let’s see if #7 Monster Sleeping can repeat and give a look at a 6-7-10 exacta box.
In yet another wide open event, #5 Pistol Posse (4-1) is the slightest of slight favorites, and though he gave a good accounting of himself last time going six furlongs, the added furlong is a bit of a question mark here.
#9 All Fired Up (6-1) took the worst of the trip last out but stuck with it to be third against allowance foes; that wasn’t a great group, but the added ground here could work to his advantage. Feargal Lynch remains aboard. Kieron Magee, who trains #5, also has #1 Nicaradalic Rocks (9-2), who should fit here in his first East Coast try after a third against $32,000 claimers last out at Santa Anita. And trainer Jason Egan has a good record bringing horses back off long layoffs, as he’s doing with #3 Take Achance On Me (9-2), a half-brother to hard-hitting He’s Achance.
It says here that #9 All Fired Up is our choice on top.
In each of the last six years, the same horse — #11 Ben’s Cat (8-5) – has won the Mister Diz Stakes. The 10-year-old son of Parker’s Storm Cat has never been out of the money in 12 tries on the Laurel Park turf, and this season has a first and two thirds in stakes company against much better rivals than these.
#2 Just Jack (5-1) has the look of a horse who might go places, having won both of his turf sprint tries, last out pretty easily on a course that might have played to his rallying style. With just five starts under his belt, he still has some improvement available, and he’ll need it here. #1 Rockinn On Bye is winless in six career turf tries – but in his last two turf sprints, he was beaten just two lengths by #11 here and more recently just a half-length by Pool Winner, who won a stake in his next start.
#11 Ben’s Cat may not be the horse he was a year ago, or the year before that. But he still should be plenty good enough to best this group. Use him as a single and spread out elsewhere in multi-race exotics.
Kevin Boniface trainee #2 Good Roll (5-2) gets the nod as morning line fave here off a good second at Delaware, and you like to see rider Trevor McCarthy stay aboard. It wouldn’t be a surprise at all if today were the day for the Artie Schiller filly in this maiden heat.
#6 Head Games (3-1) and Forest Boyce ran a decent fourth three back in this runner’s first turf route try – and all eight horses to run back from that event finished in the top three in their next race, including seven first or second. If this race stays on the turf, she can fire here. #9 Foreverinmyheart (12-1) had a trouble line in her debut and in any case was chasing the very good Coastal Sea that day. Draw a line through her last, rained off onto dirt, note that she sports an interim work, and look for an improved effort here.
Let’s take #6 Head Games to get the money here, and perhaps a 2-6-9 exacta box.