Laurel Park: Spot plays and horses to watch, November 17
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 12:30 p.m. The late Pick 5 has no carryover. The Super Hi 5 has a carryover of $3,335.89. The Jackpot Rainbow Pick 6 has no carryover. Nine races are on the card, five (perhaps ambitiously) scheduled for the turf.
Check out the GQ’s Approach podcast below, focusing on maidens!
- Quick note to handicappers: the first race, a 1 1/16 mile maiden on the turf, is an amateur rider race, a fact you may want to consider when trying to figure out if a horse can overcome an unfavorable post position or pace scenario.
- The fifth is a maiden special weight test for two-year-olds going 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. Assuming this race remains on the turf, this one is wide — I mean, wide — open. The morning line favorite, #1 Highland Bowl, is 4-1; a horse who beat him last out (and who may go favored by post time), #5 Clouded Judgement, is 5-1, and he ran second against similar last out. Still, we’re going to make Highland Bowl our horse of interest here. The Tom Proctor-trained More Than Ready colt had a useful debut, though he ended up sixth; he took the worst of a rough gate break, ending up near the rear of the field. He made steady progress along the inside, tipped out for running room nearing the lane, moved into contention but flattened out. He has every right to move forward here and gets blinkers on; Proctor has three wins from eight starts with horses donning blinks for their second starts. Ashley Castrenze is up and will need to work out a trip from the rail
- The seventh is a $40,000 maiden claimer for older horses going seven furlongs on the main track. The morning line favorite in this big field is a New York shipper, #2 New Moon (7-2). The Michelle Nevin trainee came in fourth — and last — in his last try, beaten 11 lengths. But he earned a solid 72 Beyer speed figure. Still, we’re inclined to try to beat him; the winner that day, Swayze, earned a 90 Beyer, came to Laurel last weekend to race against Maryland-bred allowance foes, and ran up the track. Of more interest are a pair of local runners dropping out of maiden special company in the form of #4 Shortlist, for Ann Merryman, and #5 Cobh, for Mark Reid. Both have multiple failures — but decent efforts — at higher levels. You’ll likely want to give both strong consideration for use on your tickets, but another runner might offer the most value. #1 Captain Scotty (8-1) makes his debut here for trainer Tim Ritchey and has a fairly long string of works in preparation. Notably, Ritchey has sent out just five horses in the last five years to make their debuts against maiden claiming foes; three of them won, and a fourth ran third. He’ll leg up Scott Spieth, and that duo is hitting at 29 percent with a positive ROI in 2016-2017. (Want the bad news, too? Ritchey owns the horse and paid $75,000 for him at auction two years back. So why expose him for just $40k here?)
- Here’s a stat you probably don’t know: in races going 1 1/16 miles at Laurel, horses breaking from the five-hole or farther out are a combined 1-for-40 at the current meet. From the four inside posts: 12-for-52. That makes the eighth race quite a puzzle. It’s a third-level allowance going that two-turn, short run to the first distance. The three inside horses, including favorite #2 Bust Another (5-2), are all basically stretching-out sprinters; the fourth horse, #4 Warrioroftheroses (8-1), is an old-timer who’s done his best work on the lead. Three of them, along with #5 Unbridled Daddy (5-1), may all be vying for the lead here. All of that should set it up for the second choice in here, #7 Ghost Bay (3-1), who enters off a decent try in a Maryland Million Classic which has produced two next-out winners to date. But note that this guy is winless in seven two-turn tries on the main track, which, coupled with the difficulties horses have had from the outside at this trip would make short odds tough to stomach. Might be worth a look at the improving #5 Unbridled Daddy (5-1), who’s drawn a little bit better than Ghost Bay, and though he’s won his last two on the lead prior to that had shown the ability to close. He’s also a horse that then-trainer Todd Pletcher liked enough five times last year in graded company. Maybe now he’s starting to live up to that. Daniel Centeno is up.