The GQ Approach – Laurel August 21
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: $812.53
- Super High 5: no carryover
- Late Pick 5: $6,489.80
BEST BET OF THE DAY
Race 8 / #3 – He’ll Pay (9-2)
LONGSHOT PLAY OF THE DAY
Race 3 / #5 – Nabadaat (8-1)
- Number of races scheduled for turf: 6
- Weather: High of 82, afternoon thunderstorms
- Projected track conditions: We’re gambling that all turf remains on turf, which probably will get downgraded at some point from good to yielding or soft; the main track, fast now, will also likely be downgraded if the predicted weather arrives.
Some early zip in this $7,500 beaten claiming race may set it up for the late-running types. Two runners — #3 Alwaysacontest (3-1) and #4 Monthernaturespell (2-1) – fit the right profile here, with two recent wins against lesser, but both have done their best work on or near the front, as has #6 Little Miss Lupe (6-1).
If they create a speed duel, who benefits? The most likely beneficiary is the favorite here, #5 La Bruna Forte (9-5). The Kieron Magee trainee is taking an appropriate drop out of much better company to this spot and figures to be running late. Sheldon Russell remains in the irons, and this runner is also shortening up from route distances. If there’s a chink in the armor, it’s the 0-for-7 ledger on a fast main track, but this guy does have an off-track win so may be rooting for predicted rain to arrive a little early. Another who might appreciate the speed up ahead is #2 Duchess of Wicklow (10-1), who figures to try to stalk and pounce under Jevian Toledo.
Let’s look for #5 La Bruna Forte to get the money here and use 5-4-2- in our exotics.
Here’s a pretty wide-open claiming event going 1 1/16 miles on the grass. The favorite is six-year-old #8 Cracking Good Pins (3-1) for trainer Kieron Magee, who drops in off a couple of acceptable efforts against better.
Another dropping off an even more acceptable effort – she won for $10,000 – is #6 Mademoiselle Belle (6-1). The Reid Nagle trainee has won two of three, most recently getting up late at a higher level at Tampa. Horacio Karamanos will ride. Penn National shipper #2 Sky High Class (10-1) enters off a decisive win after a wide journey at Penn National and brings her jock with her; the only runner to wheel back on turf off that effort won next out. And #5 Jane Peterson (6-1) is plummeting, from $25,000 company, as trainer Greg DiPrima’s patience seems to have expired; Gabriel Saez will ride.
We’ll go to #6 Mademoiselle Belle to get the money here.
An overflow field is set to gather for this maiden claiming turf sprint, but one of the most intriguing runners is trying the green stuff for the first time. #5 Nabadaat (8-1), by Street Cry, is bred for the grass, and trainer Mike Pino has tried twice unsuccessfully to get her on it. He brings go-to jock Ruben Silvera – the pair are hitting at a 24 percent clip – and this runner is showing a fast work since her last race.
Blinks come off for #3 Sweet Curls (10-1), who has suffered through a pair of disastrous trips in her last two starts. But Jevian Toledo stays aboard, and back at the level where she fits, the Katy Voss trainee is a contender here. #9 Skiing in Russia (6-1) lost in virtually impossible fashion last out, gagging up a 3 ½ length lead in the final furlong, but could improve here. And #11 Galroyale (4-1) has some good efforts in her past to run back to; shortening up from a route distance also probably won’t hurt here.
Let’s try #5 Nabadaat on top and use all four of these in multi-race exotics.
Bottom maidens on the dirt line up here, and the track may be off by this point in the card.
#5 Azorean Connection (6-1) is taking as big a drop as a horse can take here, from maiden special weight to the very bottom. He showed nothing on debut after taking decent play at the windows, but it’s certainly not a bad sign that Sheldon Russell hops aboard. Look for an improved effort here.
Back on the main track, where he’s done his best running, and making his second start off a layoff, #3 Joe’s Arch (7-2), a class dropper, is another who figures to give a better accounting of himself in this spot. #7 Dr. K’eogh (3-1) gave a decent accounting of himself last out, when second against similar and finishing ahead of two others in here.
In a moderate group, #5 Azorean Connection looks to be worth a play at decent odds.
We take it as a good sign that jockey Horacio Karamanos stays aboard #8 Beaches No Bourbon (6-1) after that runner was eased last out. She drops out of better company in this spot, and a return to earlier form would likely be good enough to win this one.
#9 Eleusis (4-1) drops off five straight tries against allowance rivals, the best of which saw her just miss when second a neck back in April. Sheldon Russell will ride. #7 Shifra Magician (8-1) rallied into fourth in her last try with Forest Boyce up. Boyce remains aboard, and the runner-up from that last race won a state-bred allowance at Laurel yesterday.
We’ve been on #8 Beaches N Bourbon for her last couple, and we’re going to give her one more shot to get it done here, and we might play a 7-8-9 exacta box, as well.
#2 Bioterp (9-2) has a couple of wins at this 5 ½ furlong trip and took a first-level allowance two back – exactly the right credentials for a winner of this claiming event. We don’t love his last effort, but with more than a month in between, three interim works, and Alex Cintron up, we’re expecting an improved effort here.
#6 No See Um (8-1) finished ahead of #2 two back, leading a long way under Ashley Castrenze before settling for second by a neck. She figures to be on the engine again here, back on a Laurel turf course she took to, and should be in the mix. All #5 Summer Frock (7-2) has done since being put on the grass is run good races, and her last turf try may be better than it looks: winner Coastal Sea set a Laurel course record for 5 ½ furlongs (1:01 flat), and two runners returned to score in allowance company.
We’re going to give the nod, just barely, to #2 Bioterp in here with a 2-5-6 exacta box and using all three in multi-race wagers.
Two-year-old maiden claimers are often a tricky lot, and this race is no exception.
#2 Ski (7-2) scratched out of a state-bred maiden special yesterday for this spot, one of his sibs won at two, and Sheldon Russell climbs aboard. Trainer John Salzman, Jr. doesn’t win much with debut runners – 1-for-40 over the last five years – but #1 Rollin Warrior (4-1) is showing a bullet work on July 30 and figures to be ready to run today, with Jevian Toledo choosing this runner over #4. #4 Mr. October (9-2) ran OK last out, when finishing fourth, and has been gelded in the interim. A lot of Stay Thirsty’s offspring have come out running, which leads us to consider #5 Thirstforadventure (5-1), a Mike Pino trainee with a solid work tab. And trainer Mary Eppler has done well enough with debut runners that #7 Martywiththeparty (10-1) is worth a gander.
The verdict: This one’s wide open, but we’ll take a shot with #5 Thirstforadventure to win here. But we’d also recommend spreading out in your exotics.
#3 He’ll Pay (9-2), the winner of April’s Rushaway Stakes, has been getting improving results on the lawn and last out was a game second to American Patriot in the G3 Kent Stakes at Delaware Park. That rival returned to be a near-miss third in the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington Park, and that suggests this runner could be sitting on another move forward.
#10 Divining Rod (5-2) finished third in the Preakness this past May but hasn’t run in a year. The likely short odds aren’t enticing, but this runner is certainly capable of a big effort. #1 Rock Eagle (5-1) has a first and a third from two Laurel turf tries and most recently was a decent third with a trouble line against similar. Horacio Karamanos subs in for Julian Pimentel in the irons.
Final answer: Love #3 He’ll Pay in this spot.
#3 Struth (9-5) has run terrific races in his last two without finding the winner’s circle. Last out he was cooked in the early speed, ultimately holding second while late-running Service for Ten came and picked up the pieces. Trainer Mike Trombetta puts the blinkers on a horse who hasn’t been worse than second in five career tries.
That was a pretty adventurous journey last out for #1 Totally Drenched (5-2), who spotted the field a couple after missing the start, rushed up, and then tired. That was also his first in nine months, and he arrives here with three sharp works in the interim. #6 Easy River (6-1) has the right to improve now that he’s been switched back to the main track.
#3 Struth to get it done here.
Let’s try for an upset to close the Laurel Park summer stand: #10 Boss Magician (15-1) showed nothing last out, and the horses running back from that race haven’t done anything better. But trainer Claudio Gonzalez is 30 percent first off the claim in the last three years with a positive ROI, and this is a runner whose prior connections liked him enough to debut him at Saratoga. In this third off a two-year layoff, against a modest group, let’s see if he can get it done.
The runner-up from Boss Magician’s last race, #4 Tigers Bop (4-1), is here, as well, and this runner figures to get the same trip as the last two: winging it on the lead. The bad news is that he hasn’t been able to hold that lead in either try. #3 Path Dependent (4-1) drops in off a couple of OK tries against better, though rider Feargal Lynch jumps ship. And #9 Saturday Sunshine (12-1) gave a credible accounting of himself in his debut, finishing an even fourth; show horse Spoiled by God broke his maiden next out. And trainer Gary Capuano is 26 percent with second-start maiden claimers.
Let’s try #10 Boss Magician for the win and use 3-4-9-10 in combos.