by Frank Vespe
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:30 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow 6 – $4,132
Stat of the day: Trainer Jose Corrales won 14 races during the Laurel Park fall meet — seventh most of any trainer — and his average $2 win payout of $18.57 was the most of any trainer with at least 10 wins. He has one horse entered today, Bodhicitta in race four.
Nickel claimers kick off the Thursday card, and we’ll be hunting a bit of a longshot in the first. #4 El Grillo (10-1) has competed against similar previously and should appreciate significant class relief here, as he drops out of allowance company. He’ll have to contend with, among others, #6 Big Slick (2-1), the morning line favorite, but that runner may be slugging it out early with #7 Martywiththeparty (9-2), setting it up for a mid-pack sort like El Grillo… First time in the Claudio Gonzalez barn is often a positive angle, and such is the case with #6 Hurricane Bear (7-2) in the second race; Gonzalez, who is 27 percent first off the claim and very nearly posted a positive ROI in that condition last year at LRL, grabs a runner who’s been keeping better company than these and will leg up Adrian Flores, a five-pound bug… The formerly ruled-off Juan Vazquez is back running locally with a number of starters at the current meet and his first win already in the books, and he sends out what looks to be the controlling speed in R3, #3 Wizard of Odds (5-1). The Flashstorm gelding dueled and tired in his last but stuck with it more willingly to the end and should appreciate the half-furlong cutback he’s getting here. Also of note here, top local jockey Trevor McCarthy rode both #4 Sventastic (5-2) and #7 Bobcat (2-1) in their last starts and lands on Bobcat here…
- Scr: 2
- Scr: 6
Race 4 is a $16,000 maiden claiming sprint, and with a bunch of horses with, let’s say, holes in their resumes, we’ll take a swing here with the Charlie Frock trainee #4 Weekend Flyer (12-1). The Mineshaft filly hasn’t shown much in her last couple, but both were against better; dropped back to where she debuted, she has a chance to take a step forward here and will have Eclipse Award for top apprentice finalist Wes Hamilton in the irons… Trainer Kevin Patterson has been a win machine these last few years — 38 percent in 2018 — but that hasn’t extended to Laurel, where he’s 4-for-22 in recent years (18 percent). That’s not stopping us from making #3 Double the Cheers (2-1) our top choice in race five, however. He’s faced better in recent tries at CT, running third in allowance/optional claiming company in his last; get a clue what to expect from him in R2 here, as the winner of his last, Grecian Prince, is 5-2 on the morning line in that tilt… We’re going to eat the chalk with #6 Southern Myth (1-1) in race six, a starter allowance for horses that have never won twice. But if you want to take a swing against, we can’t criticize; the Ham Smith trainee impressed in winning at first asking but stretches out from six furlongs to a mile here with a somewhat inconclusive pedigree for doing so; his sibs have been sprinters. The only horse to run back from his debut stepped up and ran second against better…
- Scr: 5, 7, 11, 12
- Scr: 1, 6, 7
Though a short field of just six, the seventh race presents an interesting handicapping puzzle, a third-level allowance for fillies and mares going 5 1/2 furlongs, with a favorite #1 Anna’s Bandit (2-1), who probably wants to go a little farther than this distance. We settled on the Gary Capuano trainee #6 Adios Annie (5-2), who was just fifth last out but didn’t run terribly and may appreciate getting back on a fast track. She’s been steadily moving through her conditions and probably sits a good trip close to the early pace here… The finale is a $50,000 maiden claimer, a newly added condition to the Maryland book, and we’re going to take another swing, this time with #8 Le Gros Bill (10-1). This runner makes his first start in the Horacio DePaz barn, and though he showed little on debut, DePaz likes what he’s seen of him in the mornings enough to elevate him slightly for his second try, and he’ll leg up solid journeyman Alex Cintron (24 percent with DePaz trainees)…
- Scr: 5