Laurel Park: Spot plays and horses to watch, December 23

by | Dec 23, 2017 | Breaking, Handicapping, Maryland

Edgar Prado

Edgar Prado smiles after Always Thinking won the Sensible Lady Turf Dash. Photo by Dottie Miller.

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 $730.91. The Jackpot Rainbow Pick 6 has a carryover of $535.33. Nine races are on the card, all on the dirt.

  • The sixth race is a $25,000 claiming race for two-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. The strong favorite in here is #7 Greasedlightning (7-5), who last out ran fifth in the Donna Freyer Stakes, for horses that had spent time in South Carolina. But that was a six furlong sprint and this one has done her best work — including breaking her maiden — at a mile. She might be too good for these, but she’s drawn outside at a distance where that’s usually a big minus and it’s worth looking around at least a little. A runner here who figures to offer some value is #1 Baccarat Honor (8-1). The Bruno Tessore trainee broke her maiden at first asking at the $16,000 level, and that’s the big knock on her: stepping up in class in her first try against winners is a lot to ask. On the other hand, she was a mile the best in that debut, a fact obscured by a terrible start which left her in last, 14 lengths behind the leader after a quarter-mile. She made up a ton of ground in the third quarter and went on to win. A cleaner break might find her a more congenial spot to run from, and if she can improve here, she could figure in the outcome.


  • Race 1 – 1-2-3-6
  • Race 2 – 4-3-2-1
  • Race 3 – 2-4-1a-6
  • Race 4 – 5-4-3-7
  • Race 5 – 4-1-5-3
  • Race 6 – 1-7-3-8
  • Race 7 – 1-6-7-5
  • Race 8 – 3-6-4-7
  • Race 9 – 10-4-2-9

  • Race seven is a conditioned starter allowance going 5 1/2 furlongs with a field of eighth and a 2-1 favorite in the form if #6 Perfect Cover, who enters this even on a three-race win streak and with back-to-back 84 Beyer speed figs. But while we wouldn’t throw him off the ticket, we’re not entirely sold on him either. The hunt for value leads us to #1 Nicholas and Me (5-1). The improving Dale Capuano trainee has won two straight himself, last out dusting a starter allowance group by three lengths. Meet-leading rider Jevian Toledo will do the honors, and this one looks to have come out of a key race: all five horses to run back have finished in the trifecta, including one winner.
  • The eighth is a first-level allowance going 5 1/2 furlongs with #6 Correjon (2-1) the favorite off a runner-up effort against similar. This improving Jose Corrales trainee could be tough in this spot and ought to show up somewhere on your tickets. We’re also keeping an eye on #3 Dancing With Maude (9-2). The Tim Keefe trainee was a well-beaten sixth last out against similar. But there are a couple of big “buts” there: first, it was his first try in six months, so he may have needed a race; second, on a day when the outer part of the track was preferred, he was down inside; and third, the top pair here were solid, with Lewisfield returning to be second in a stake and Miners Quest to win against similar. Look for an improved try in this spot. Steve Hamilton retains the mount.