Laurel Park: Spot plays and horses to watch, October 30
Gary Quill is taking a brief hiatus from his GQ Approach full-card picks and analysis. In his stead, we present daily spot plays and horses to watch. Good luck!
- The first — a $40,000 maiden special weight gong 1 1/16 miles on the main track — presents an interesting handicapping puzzle, a puzzle partially made more difficult by an auto-generated morning line likely to bear little or no resemblance to the final odds. The morning line favorite is #5 Stubolt (2-1), who ran a good second against high-priced maiden claimers at Belmont three weeks back, but honestly, it’s going to be hard to take short odds on trainer Contessa (8 percent strike rate this year, 7 percent with second-start, 2-year-old maidens in recent years), though this horse did run a promising race. Of more interest are a couple other rivals: #1 Vouch (15-1) from the Arnaud Delacour barn and #3 Zestful (3-1), trained by Graham Motion. The former, who will have Horacio Karamanos up, is a Yes It’s True colt and is a full-brother to Grade 3 Delaware Oaks winner Calamity Kate. He’s certainly been training well enough to be a factor here, and the Delacour barn is solid with first-out juveniles. If there’s one concern, oddly enough, it’s this: while his overall record with first-out two-year-olds is good, Delacour’s record with first-out two-year-olds receiving Lasix is just 3-for-23. Coincidence, or something more? If you take the plunge here, don’t expect anything like 15-1. #3 Zestful didn’t show a lot in his debut, finishing sixth, but that was a six-furlong sprint. A closer look, though, shows that he was slow from the gate and stuck with it, making up ground in the final furlong to be in a three-horse photo for fourth and earning a positive “finished well” on the long comment. Trainer Motion is 7-for-23 adding Lasix to two-year-old maidens making their second start, and this one could make some noise in this spot.
- More two-year-olds up in the fifth race, this time a $42,000 allowance test going six furlongs giving us a chance to look at some juvenile winners. The morning line favorite is #6 Prince Lucky (2-1), who was a very impressive debut winner at Delaware Park before running third in his follow-up — at 3-10 odds — in the First State Dash. The runner-up from that event, Jamaican Don, returned to be a decent second behind a very impressive debut winner from the Graham Motion barn in the Maryland Million Nursery. Alex Cintron stays aboard a Corinthian colt who gave the look of a potential star in his first start, and we’re certainly inclined to include him in our wagers here. Want to look around? Trainer Mike Trombetta took advantage of the Maryland-bred waiver to start #5 Oldies But Goodies (3-1) in maiden claiming company without exposing him to being claimed, and the Maclean’s Music colt responded like a good thing, winning off by four lengths (and the runner-up returned to break his maiden next out). He shows a work in the meantime and certainly figures to be a presence in here. And then there’s #3 Old Dude (12-1), who gave a pretty credible accounting of himself when rallying to be third against similar last out. That result was flattered when winner V. I. P. Code returned to be second in a $100,000 stake (albeit on the grass) over the weekend.
- The seventh is another allowance, this one for older runners at 1 1/16 miles, and we’re a little interested in #2 Sue Me (12-1). The Bill Komlo trainee won last out, in his second career start, to break his maiden. He was pinched back a bit at the start, came between in the lane and powered home while on the wrong lead. That was at seven furlongs, and the son of Blame — winner of the 1 1/4 mile Breeders’ Cup Classic — figures to like the added ground here. He’s also a half-brother to the Grade 1-winning millionaire Tiz Miz Sue, whose best win (in the G1 Ogden Phipps) came at this 1 1/16-mile distance. Feargal Lynch has the mount.