Something Awesome

Something Awesome ran through the snow to win the Grade 3 General George. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

by Frank Vespe

In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…

Post time: 12:30 p.m.

Carryovers: Super Hi 5 – $900

Stat of the day: During the Laurel fall meet, jockey Julian Pimentel and trainer Mike Trombetta combined to win 23 races — the most of any trainer-jock combo at the track. The duo has one in today, Souper Echo in the fourth race.

ANALYSIS

In the first, a lifetime nickel claimer going a flat mile, we regretfully used chalk in the form of #1 Disco Express (7-5) and #3 Runabout (1-1). For a bit of a shot, we also included #5 Third Son (12-1), whose recent form is atrocious but who has much, much better work in his past; it’s doubtful he’ll return to the kind of horse he was in mid-2017, but he doesn’t have to to make some noise in this group… #5 Vinaigrette (3-1) showed early zip and stuck with it to the wire in his debut, finishing third in a race won by longshot Scarlet Tanager; that earns him the nod over the favorite in here, #8 Gateau St Honore (5-2), who owns the best speed figs but really hasn’t shown much interest in winning races and remains a maiden after 10 cracks… A pair of scratches may have a huge impact on the third race, the $100,000 What A Summer Stakes. #2 Late Night Pow Wow (4-5) is clearly the best horse in this group and looked to have an ideal setup with plenty of early types to spice up the pace. But the scratches of two of those — #1 Limited View and #3 She’s Stunning — leave #6 Behrnik’s Bank (8-1) the controlling speed here. You can draw a line through that runner’s last — she couldn’t get 1 1/16 miles in a horse van — and figure that if she’s right, at a distance she loves, she may be awfully tough to reel in late. She’s our pick for the upset over Late Night Pow Wow, but you have to use both in your multi-race wagers…

PICKS

  • RACE 1
    • 1-5-3-6
  • RACE 2
    • 5-8-3-7
  • RACE 3 (What a Summer S.)
    • 6-2-5-4
    • Scr: 1, 3

ANALYSIS

Ahh, what the heck — let’s take a shot in the fourth. It’s a second-level allowance for fillies and mares going six furlongs, and we’re going to use #5 Off My Stage (15-1) on top. The Mark Reid trainee won two of her first three outings before a poor try in the Marshua Stakes — but since has been away nearly a year. She’s been working fast towards her return here, and Reid has won with three of 15 runners off similar layoffs… In race five, the Native Dancer Stakes, the scratch of Stan the Man — most recently an OK sixth in the G1 Cigar Mile — turns this into a wide-open affair. We like #7 Rich Daddy (4-1) in this spot, despite his winless 2018. He gave a tremendous effort when second in the Claiming Crown Jewel behind Aztec Sense; that runner was eight-for-eight on the season and won five stakes; plus, trainer Eddie Kenneally skipped a Friday spot at GP, in which this guy was 9-5 on the morning line.  We’re also expecting good things from controlling speed #3 Saratoga Jack (12-1), who got cooked through very fast internal fractions last out but may have it a bit easier today, and Laurel lover #5 Bonus Points (5-2), the deep closer who’s never been worse than second in six tries locally… In the sixth, #3 Mandel (5-2) seems to have found the range as a sprinter, and we’re expecting him to threepeat here…

PICKS

  • RACE 4
    • 5-4-2-1
    • Scr: 8
  • RACE 5 (Native Dancer S.)
    • 7-3-5-1
    • Scr: 6
  • RACE 6
    • 3-10-9-4
    • Scr: 1, 7

ANALYSIS

#6 Sheikh of Sheikhs (7-2) didn’t show much last out when Uncontested forgot to stop and drew away for an easy win, but on best this runner rates a major shot in race seven, the Fire Plug Stakes. Trainer Lacey Gaudet will leg up Victor Carrasco here; that duo has won seven of 14 starts together since the beginning of last year. The favorite here is #5 Cautious Giant (2-1), who ran well to be fourth last out in the Dave’s Friend, and he figures to be a prominent player here, but we wonder a bit about returning in two weeks off a near-career best outing… The eighth, the Nellie Morse Stakes, looks to be a two-horse affair between #4 Timeless Curls (8-5) and the New York shipper #6 Face It (7-5). The former has never been worse than third in eight career tries and has won three straight, the last of which has produced two next-out winners and a third horse who ran second in a stake in her follow-up. The latter, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin for Godolphin, has won her last two at the Big A, breaking her maiden two back by 10 lengths… The day’s finale is a maiden claiming event going six furlongs, and give a look to #2 Honor Run (6-1). Yes, his last two are poor, one at this level; but note that both came with blinks on, and he sheds the hood today. A return to his blinker-less form would be good enough here. We also kinda like the #6 Kosher Kontract (5-1) here; he was steadied more or less continuously through the opening quarter-mile last out but still stuck with it to the end…

PICKS

  • RACE 7 (Fire Plug S.)
    • 6-2-5-1
    • Scr: 3
  • RACE 8 (Nellie Morse S.)
    • 4-6-2-5
    • Scr: 1
  • RACE 9
    • 2-6-3-9

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