Laurel Park: Picks and ponderings Jan. 19, 2019

by | Jan 19, 2019 | Breaking, Handicapping, Maryland, MD Racing

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: Rainbow 6 — $1,880

Stat of the day: Three jockeys were injured in a scary spill January 11 at Laurel Park: Horacio Karamanos, Trevor McCarthy, and Jomar Torres. Karamanos returned to action the following day, while McCarthy made his return to action on January 18, when he won with two of seven mounts, Dancingwithpaynter in the second race and Rockin Cowboy in the seventh. Torres makes his return to action on January 19 with three mounts.


Favoritism in the first, a maiden special weight going seven furlongs, figures to land on #4 Smile Bryan (5-2), the Graham Motion trainee who has recorded strong speed figs — Beyers of 70 and 61 in his last two — and will add blinkers here. No question this one can win, but, I dunno, I’m having a hard time getting excited about short odds on a horse making his fourth career start and who failed as the favorite last out. Of more interest: #5 Canal Point (8-1), the Cal Lynch-trained first-timer by Majestic Warrior. Lynch wins with 21 percent of debut runners in maiden special weight company, and this one has been working well enough towards his bow; also of note with this runner is that he is from the owner-breeder Isabelle de Tomaso, owner-breeder of Irish War Cry… Miguel Vera’s under-the-radar barn sends out our top choice in R2, another maiden race, this one at the mystery distance — one we’ve never seen in these parts — of 6 1/2 furlongs. #1 Mary’s Jewel (6-1) ran a decent debut at Parx, running up close early and sticking around well enough to the end. She’ll get Lasix here in her second career start, and one positive sign is that rider Carol Cedeno followed this one to PRX and sticks with her here… Race three brings together an oversized field of evenly matched nickel claimers, and you can make a case for a bunch of these. We settled on #9 When It Reigns (5-1), the Jerry Robb trainee who has won two of four career starts, who figures to have a chance to work out a good trip here starting outside the other speed players…


  • RACE 1
    • 5-4-3-1
  • RACE 2
    • 1-5-8-6
  • RACE 3 
    • 9-5-10-1


The fourth is another oversized field — 11 of ’em — and poses an interesting handicapping challenge: what to do with #2 Global Citizen (3-1)? The Horacio DePaz trainee began his career in a promising manner, went sideways for a few starts, and then last out — back in October, in his first start in three months — won by a half-dozen lengths with a career-best speed fig at Parx before being DQed for an acepromazine positive. If you think he can run back to that last effort, he’s a handful in here; if he bounces even a bit, a number of other runners look live. One of those is our top choice, #1 Dirtyfoot (9-2). The Robbie Bailes trainee lands in this spot off a respectable effort last out in allowance company and cuts back to a sprint distance after breaking his maiden sprinting… The fifth is a starter handicap going 1 1/16 miles with another wide-open group. The favorite here is #3 Sacred Walk (5-2), who has won four straight while climbing the ladder for trainer Claudio Gonzalez, but these speed figs feel a bit excessive; despite how solid they are, the only horse, other than this one, from either race to win next out had to drop down to find easier company. I’m looking for a more proven commodity on top, and that commodity is the Lacey Gaudet trainee #6 Divine Interventio (3-1). He just missed at this level last out, falling just short to #2 Joy Drive (9-2), and the added half-furlong here seems more likely to play to Divine Interventio’s advantage… #7 Flying the Flag (5-1) couldn’t make much impact in his last when chasing loose-on-the-lead winner Speightsford, but the improving Graham Motion trainee, a son of Malibu Moon out of a stakes-winning Indian Charlie mare, fits the right profile to win the sixth, a first-level allowance, and retains Jorge Vargas, Jr. in the irons. The favorite in this event, #3 Jump Jive an Wail (3-1), looks like a more-than-solid bet to be in the top three, but if you want to take short odds on him to win after he’s already lost this race 18 times, be my guest…


  • RACE 4
    • 1-10-2-8
  • RACE 5
    • 6-2-3-8
  • RACE 6
    • 7-9-3-1


In the claiming world, there are few better signs than a trainer claiming back a horse he’d had claimed away, and such is the case with #3 Gorbachov (5-2) in race seven. Trainer Jose Corrales lost him two back — when he broke his maiden — and then claimed him back out of his last when he staged a stout rally to earn second. He gets an extra furlong-and-a-half to get there in this seven-furlong test — at the exact distance at which he broke his maiden… Feels like #6 Head for the Shore (6-1) gave a sneaky-good effort last out, which may set her up nicely to find the winner’s circle in race eight, a first-level allowance. Despite a moderate pace that turned into a fast dash home, this runner made up nearly five lengths in the last quarter-mile while improving from sixth to second. That’s the good news; the bad is that it’s unclear whether more pace will materialize in this one. She offers value but will need her very best to overcome #3 Three Hawk (5-2); the Chuck Lawrence trainee ran third last out in an allowance at Aqueduct, beaten a couple by Sara Street, the Grade 2-placed runner who was the favorite in last May’s Black-Eyed Susan… Top local pilot Trevor McCarthy rode #1 Candy Store (8-5) in each of his first two, and the Graham Motion trainee finished third and then second. But McCarthy jumps ship here and lands on #5 Big Boots (9-2), who ran evenly on debut to be fifth. The fourth-place finisher from that event, Still Dreaming, returned to be a dominant winner against similar rivals, and this one has three works in preparation for his second career start here. Trainer Cal Lynch is 10-for-57 with second-start maiden special weight runners…


  • RACE 7 
    • 3-7-5-2
  • RACE 8
    • 6-3-1-7
  • RACE 9
    • 5-1-4-2