Laurel Park: Spot plays and horses to watch, November 11

by | Nov 11, 2017 | Breaking, Handicapping, Maryland

Rapid Dan

Rapid Dan (#2) cruised to victory in an allowance at Laurel Park. Photo by The Racing Biz.

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!

First post today is early — 12:00 p.m. The late Pick 5 has no carryover. The Super Hi 5 has no carryover. The Jackpot Rainbow Pick 6 has a carryover of $$2,541. Eleven races are on the card. Laurel Park is off the turf today; all races will be run on the main track.

Race 2 — the $75,000 Geisha Stakes for Maryland-bred fillies and mares going 1 mile on the dirt.

  • Overview: Two stakes winners top the field of seven here.
  1. #2 My Magician (4-5) — Hard to get past the chalk in here, as she just missed last out against the very good Crabcakes in the Maryland Million and won the Dashing Beauty at DEL four back; formful sort has good late kick which should serve in the stretch-out to a flat mile, and she’ll get pace help from the other Claudio Gonzalez trainee in here, #7 Miss Nosy.
  2. #5 Rockin Jojo (10-1) — Defending champ in this event has gone off form of late but has demonstrated ability to contend with these sorts; switch to Jamie Ness barn could yield improved effort here and shows a couple of solid works since 10/1 race.
  3. #7 Miss Nosy (6-1) — Others have more class, but this Gonzalez trainee enters with three straight wins while ascending the class ladder; showed a new dimension last out when rallying into the pace to win versus N1X foes, but circumstances here suggest she should get back to more familiar “catch me if you can” style; can take these a long way and is only runner here with more than one win at the trip.

RACE 5 — $100,000 Smart Halo Stakes for two-year-old fillies going 6 furlongs on the dirt.

  • Overview: You’ll want to cover several from this wide-open affair in your multi-race wagers.
  1. #3 Take Charge Paula (3-1) — Kelly Breen trainee stuck with it nicely to be second last out in an oddly run edition of the G3 Matron and hasn’t been worse than second in three one-turn tries; her only bad race was in the G2 Pocahantas at CD, but the combination of trip troubles, G2 company, and two turns might have been too much for her. Regular pilot Paco Lopez makes a rare trip to central Maryland for this engagement.
  2. #8 Pacific Gale (6-1) — Let’s toss the G1 Alcibiades — two turns, G1 company — and this looks like a runner who has every right to contend against the likes of these. Owns a stakes win, in the $60,000 Sorority at MTH, in which she beat a couple of today’s rivals. Shows three works since her race 10/6, brings in regular pilot Chris DeCarlo, and everything looks like a go here.
  3. #4 Jehozacat (5-1) — Little sis to $880k earner Divining Rod has shown some promise in her own right and was a good second last out at KEE; that race has produced two next-out winners, including Sultry, who took at $100k stake on return. She was bested by Pacific Gale in the Sorority but still has plenty of upside. Shows a couple of works since her last and keeps Feargal Lynch in the irons.
  4. #11 Rose to Fame (20-1) — The speed figs say no way, but this Gemologist filly’s been working well towards her first start with trainer Michael Matz and already owns a minor stake win, at Gulfstream Park.


RACE 6 — $100,000 City of Laurel Stakes for three-year-olds going 7 furlongs on the dirt.

  • Overview: Seriously? They’re only giving away $100,000 in this race? With this kind of field? Some talented class droppers coming off layoffs spice this one up.
  1. #1 Tale of Silence (3-1) — This is a quality field, but it will be by far the easiest group this runner has seen in his last four. Three back he ran behind multiple G1 winner West Coast, who was third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last weekend. Then in successive starts he ran behind multiple G1 winner Practical Joke, who was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Looks like there’s enough speed in here to tee up his late run, trainer Tagg is 16 percent off these sorts of layoffs, and money rider Jersey Joe Bravo is in for the mount.
  2. #7 Prince of Hempt (12-1) — Major class test for this Tim Kreiser trainee, who’s faced PA-breds in two of three starts. But this Majestic Warrior gelding has passed every test with flying colors, winning those three races by a combined 17 lengths, and he’s shown the ability to win on the lead, stalking and closing and to overcome trip trouble. Good chance here to see what kind he really is.
  3. #4 No Dozing (5-2) — This Union Rags colt has had his moments and is two-for-two over the strip (including in the Concern), but note that he finished behind Tale of Silence two back in the Jerkens. He’ll need a big one here.

RACE 7 — $100,000 Safely Kept Stakes for three-year-old fillies going 7 furlongs on the dirt.

  • Overview: This is another race where any of a number can win, including the talented but sometimes mystifying local hopeful Shimmering Aspen.
  1. #4 Dawn the Destroyer (6-1) — Though outfooted a little bit in the early going of her last, like the way this Kiaran McLaughlin trainee stuck with it to the wire, closing ground to nab third after an adventurous trip in the lane. Ability to close may prove useful here, as there looks to be some speed signed on. Paco Lopez in the irons a plus, and this one shows a sharp work 11/3.
  2. #6 You Know Too (15-1) — Speed figs aren’t as good as the top contenders here, but note those company lines: G3 Del Oaks winner It Tiz Well then won and placed in two G1 events, and Bar of Gold, a horse this one beat last out in the G1 Spinster, turned around to win the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. Last out effort might have been better than it looks over a sloppy strip, and shortening up may help too.
  3. #11 Shimmering Aspen (3-1) — No idea what happened in the G3 Charles Town Oaks last out, but let’s draw a line through it and say this Malibu Moon filly will get back to form on her home track, where she sports a record of 6-5-0-1.
  4. #2 Moonlit Song (20-1) — West Virginia-bred figures to be tested for class here in her first foray from the friendly confines of CT, but note that her Sadie Hawkins win was faster than the G3 Charles Town Oaks that same night. Regular pilot Christian Hiraldo is here for the mount.

RACE 8 — $100,000 James F. Lewis, III Stakes for three-year-olds going six furlongs on the dirt.

  • Overview: Anything can happen in baby races, but two of these have much better resumes than their rivals.
  1. # 6 Kowboy Karma (1-1) — It says here that shortening up and finding easier company will put this one right back in the winner’s circle. Note that runner-up from last won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in his next (and was just three lengths ahead of this one when they met). Shows a pair of bullet works at DEL since that Champagne effort and retains regular rider Alex Cintron.
  2. #4 Barry Lee (5-2) — This Sagamore runner is a stakes winner on the synthetic and G3-placed on the dirt and gives every indication he’ll contend here.
  3. #3 Whereshetoldmetogo (10-1) — Maryland-bred ran a big one last out to upset the First State Dash at 9-1 in first try with Lasix; that race has produced two next out winners, plus the runner-up in the Maryland Million Nursery.

RACE 9 — $100,000 Richard W. Small Stakes for three-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles on the dirt.

  • Overview: Gotta love this solid group of veterans.
  1. #5 Watershed (9-2) — Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is 21 percent off this sort of layoff, and this G3 winner kept pretty ritzy company before going to the bench, chasing the likes of Keen Ice and Shaman Ghost. The main concern here is the layoff, but if the line holds, the value should be square, and note sharp work in last tuneup and return to Paco Lopez up.
  2. #4 Page McKenney (7-2) — With Watershed, one of only two multiple winners at the trip here, and this consistent sort is almost never out of the exacta. Huge effort last out to wear down free-running Matt King Coal, and it looks like there’s some speed here if the field holds together, which will allow him to settle and make a run.
  3. #9 Afleet Willy (9-2) — Speedster set a DEL record at 1 mile 70 yards last out after being hounded into a 45.96 opening half-mile; figures to have company early in this event, too, but best efforts say he’s the one to stick around to the end.
  4. #10 Just Call Kenny (6-1) — Stuck inside on a dead-rail day last out, which shouldn’t be a problem breaking from the 10-hole; this G3 winner figures to get a pace to run at, and the McBurney barn is 30 percent at the meet.