HORSES TO WATCH
- CAIRENN – This one was very impressive leaving the maiden ranks, zipping home in 1:04.88 for five and a half furlongs ,and Mark Reid may have a young runner with a future here.
- JOY DRIVE – Was just outkicked to the wire when second in her first start since March for trainer Linda Rice. Should be hard to handle next out with that race under her belt.
- SMART ROYAL T – Was resolute setting the pace until late over a strip that displayed an extreme closers’ bias all day. If this one catches a fair strip next, he’ll be hard to catch.
- SHOE LOVES SHOE – Worked a solid half in :48.60 from the gate for trainer Horacio Depaz on 12/23 and this juvenile who finished fourth in a stake at Aqueduct in his last start looks like he’s ready to rebound next start.
- CHERRYANDTHEHAWK & SONNY INSPIRED — Worked a quick half in :47.60 in company on 12/22 and the fact Schoenthal worked a maiden with a horse who last ran in a stake race (The Howard Bender Stakes) indicates he thinks Cherryandthehawk has some potential. Cherryandthehawk is entered on December 29 at Laurel, and Sonny Inspired is in the Jennings at Laurel Park December 30.
- EL AREEB – Three-year-old who was considered Triple Crown material this past spring before going on the shelf worked a solid five panels in 1:01 on 12/22. El Areeb ran sixth in his first race since March, and he is entered in the six-furlong Dave’s Friend Stakes at Laurel on December 30.
- LINE OF BEST FIT – Posted a quick five-furlong move of 1:00.40 on 12/22, and this mare who was third in a stake last time out looks poised for a sharp effort next start. That will come in the Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes at Laurel December 30.
JOCKEYS AND TRAINERS
Elvis Trujillo was on a roll, winning five races from 15 mounts with an impressive wagering return on investment of 308 percent. Trujillo, who’s relatively new to the colony, is beginning to get some traction with trainers and build his business.
The Hamiltons, father Steve and son apprentice Weston, each booted home three winners.
Four riders won twice each, including Jevian Toledo, who is the meet’s runaway leader. Toledo, who won twice from 16 starters, has 60 wins at the meet and more than $1.8 million in earnings. Both figures give him a sizable advantage over his nearest competitors as the meet winds down; Sheldon Russell is second by wins with 38, while Feargal Lynch is second by earnings with nearly $1.5 million.
As 2017 comes to a close, Claudio Gonzalez brings to a close a career year. Last week Gonzalez won with three of his 13 starters and that trio of wins gave him 30 wins for the Laurel fall meeting and a commanding lead in the trainer’s race. This season Gonzalez has saddled 115 winners and his runners have earned more than $2.7 million in purses, by far the best year the horseman has had since striking out on his own in 2012.
Five trainers saddled a pair of winners in the period between December 22 and December 27. including Mark Reid and Gary Capuano who were a perfect two-for-two during that period. Capuano’s wagering R.O.I. (return on investment) was a whopping 600 percent. Also in the two-win club were Dale Capuano and Kieron Magee, who remain tied for second with 22 wins apiece; and Lacey Gaudet, whose two wins the day after Christmas pushed her to five at the meet and helped to rouse what’s been a sleepy meet for her.
TRACK BIAS REPORT
- 12/22 – The farther out from the rail they ran, the better chance horses had on this Friday program as the track favored outside closers and late runners most of the day.
- 12/23 – Rain changed the track as the day progressed on Saturday, and the surface was sealed most of the day. Speed rivals and up-close stalkers had the most success of the wet strip
- 12/26 – The track played very fair on this day after Christmas with speed runners and outside closers winning an equal number of races on the card.