Laurel Park: Spot plays and horses to watch, December 9
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 no carryover. The Jackpot Rainbow Pick 6 has a carryover of $2,611. Nine races are on the card, all on the dirt.
- For in-depth analysis of today’s four stakes races, check out our In Focus report.
- When last seen, #9 Big Slick (4-1) just missed against a $15,000 claiming group of three-year-olds. That was back in May, however, and the Frost Giant gelding hasn’t run since. He shows up in the fifth at Laurel, a $16,000 conditioned claimer that’s attracted a wide open field of 10. Big Slick owns four wins in his 10-race career, more than any of his rivals. He’s done his best work with a pace in front of him to run at, and he seems likely to have that occur here today in an event with plentiful early types. Trainer Gina Rosenthal is two-for-eight, with five total runners in the money, bringing horses back off layoffs of six months or more, and this one’s been training well enough, including, interestingly, two six-furlong breezes that suggest the connections are serious about this spot. Also notable: Rosenthal chooses not to run him for the tag.
TODAY’S FULL-CARD SELECTIONS
- Race 1 – 6-2-3-1
- Race 2 – 4-7-2-5
- Race 3 – 5-4-6-2
- Race 4 – 4-6-5-2
- Race 5 – 9-1-6-3
- Race 6 – 7-9-5-4
- Race 7 – 10-6-2-1
- Race 8 – 7-10-4-2
- Race 9 – 1-6-10-2
- The ninth is a $40,000 maiden claimer for two-year-olds going 5 1/2 furlongs with a solid favorite in the form of #6 Nico Bree N Teej (6-5). The Claudio Gonzalez trainee was beaten as the 7-10 favorite last out against similar, winning a speed duel before Still Having Fun came and picked up the pieces. It was certainly a solid effort, and this might be one to eat the chalk. On the other hand, what’s fun about that? Give a look at #1 Align the Numbers (8-1). The Donna Lockard trainee was the runner who lost the speed duel to Nico Bree N Teej last out, but the Orientate gelding stuck with it to the end to be third, comfortably clear of the rest. The top pair set a fast pace — more than a second faster than the other division of the same race — and Align the Numbers, making his second start here, has every right to improve. But can he beat the favorite? Maybe: this race is a half-furlong shorter than that last one was, which plays a bit to his advantage, and he’ll don blinkers today, perhaps allowing him to carry his speed a bit farther. J. D. Acosta will ride.