Laurel Park: Spot plays and horses to watch, November 3
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!
- Laurel Park’s family-sized 11-race Breeders’ Cup Friday card kicks off with a $40,000 maiden special weight test for fillies and mares three and up going 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. A bunch of these have starts, often multiple starts, that don’t excite. That kinda pushes the handicapper in the direction of the firsters, of which two are worth a look. #9 Many Blessings (6-1) is a three-year-old daughter of Caleb’s Posse coming out of Kathleen DeMasi’s barn. She’ll be making her debut here with Horacio Karamanos in the irons, and she shows an extensive list of mostly solid works in preparation. On top of all that, she’s a half-sister to Everything Lovely, a talented runner who took Pimlico’s The Very One Stakes earlier this year — like this race, a turf sprint. She’s probably the firster best positioned to score at first asking. Another worth a look — particularly, we think, at slightly longer distances — is #7 Worthy of Love (6-1). The Graham Motion trainee is a Maryland-bred Not for Love filly out of a Polish Numbers mare and is a half to two stakes winners, including the graded stakes-placed Giant Run, who’s done his best work at a mile. Feargal Lynch is up. Of those who have started, the favorite is #5 Sympathetic (3-1), but her repeated failures to break her maiden don’t inspire us to take favoritism on her. A somewhat more interesting candidate is #4 Feelin Foxie (7-2), whose debut on turf, after a slow start, is a bit better than it looks; winner Stallion Heiress took a pair of overnight stakes in her next two starts.
- The sixth is another grassy maiden special weight race, this one for two-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles. The morning line favorite = falling in the “well, somebody has to be, right?” category — is #2 Smarty Smart (9-2), who was third against similar (though with a 41 Beyer) and loses rider Alex Cintron. Of more interest is the Tom Proctor trainee #6 Dothraki Sea (10-1). This Union Rags filly was a so-so fourth on debut but here stretches out to a route distance and switches over to the grass; her half Dixie Chatter was a solid turf miler who won a Grade 2 on the lawn. Trainer Proctor has a good-enough 16 percent ledger with second starters. Another runner making her second start is #4 Helena the First (6-1); this Arnaud Delacour trainee was up the track in her debut sprinting in an off-the-turf event and gets Lasix added here.
- The seventh is a $25,000 starter allowance on the turf for horses that haven’t won three races, and while most of these have won only a maiden race and a claiming or starter race, #5 Dream Breaker (9-2) has an allowance score to his credit and last out ran credibly to be fourth against second-level allowance foes; the winner, Tizzarunner, doubled up with a follow-up win in allowance company. This Tim Woolley trainee does drop in here for the tag — the first time he’s run for less than $40,000 — which is a concern. But we’re thinking that, since the horse’s lone dirt try was a mess, the connections are gambling that no one will want to drop that sort of money on a grass horse who projects at most one more start before the end of turf season. One other concern: this closer will need some pace to run at, and outside of #11 On Tenterhooks (5-1), there doesn’t seem to be much of that in here.
- In the 10th, a turf allowance going 1 1/16 miles, #7 Surprise Twist (3-1) has toiled in some tough luck: the Elusive Quality colt, a son of multiple graded winner My Princess Jess, has finished behind next-out stakes winners Just Howard and Hieroglyphics in his brief career. Today the Arnaud Delacour trainee returns to the track where he posted his lone win and is reunited with that day’s jock, Daniel Centeno — oh, and there may not be any other next-out stakes winners in here, either.