Laurel Park: Picks and ponderings Jan. 20, 2019

by | Jan 20, 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 — $3,174

Stat of the day: In the “not picking up where he left off” department… Rare Eagle  was the only horse to win more than three times during the Laurel Park fall meet, registering four victories, including his last three starts of the year. He made his 2019 debut Saturday at Laurel but could not keep the good form going; he ran sixth in an allowance race.


A solid Laurel Park Sunday card kicks off with a $12,500 never-won-two claimer going 5 1/2 furlongs, and our choice here is the Anthony Farrior trainee #4 Bagels and Lox (4-1). The four-year-old Despite the Odds filly broke her maiden two back, ran credibly in her first try against winners, and here makes her third start off a five-month break. She also may have the best early lick in the group and will have Angel Suarez in the irons… #3 Crush It (3-1) feels like a horse on the rapid improve, and he’s our top choice in race two, a starter allowance test for horses that have never won three. The Mary Eppler trainee has won two straight and has increased his speed figs in every start of his four-race career, one of those wins having come at today’s one-mile distance… Safe to say, some runners in the third race maiden claimer will retire as maidens. One that probably won’t is #2 Mike the Tiger (3-1), who, though not a tiger, has run some pretty OK races in his eight-race career. The Jason Egan trainee makes his way to the bottom here and makes his first start after a nearly-three-month break. The favorite in here is the Ferris Allen trainee #4 Stevie’s Joy (9-5), who has run second three straight at the trip, with the once-promising #9 Maynooth (5-2), who has failed as the favorite in his last two, not far behind…


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


The recent series of starter handicaps — of which race four is one — have produced some bombs away! outcomes to date, including yesterday’s version, in which top four finishers were 14-1, 37-1, 33-1, and 17-1, triggering a super that paid over $33,000 for a buck. With just a seven-horse field on offer here, a similar outcome isn’t too likely in this one, but if you want to go fishing for bombers, this might be a condition to take a crack. We, on the other hand, settled on #7 Lady Terp (2-1). She ran fourth — beaten a couple — at this condition last out and may appreciate the added ground from a mile to 1 1/16 miles, though she’ll have to overcome her outside post position… #6 So Gracious (7-2) ran a bang-up race on debut to finish second, beaten by a neck against maiden special weight rivals. She returns for her second career start in the fifth, has a trio of solid works under her belt since that race, and rates a major chance to graduate here. Also of some interest here: #3 Remarkable Soul (10-1), the Graham Motion trainee who is a daughter of top sire Medaglia d’Oro, who stands for $200,000, out of a Distorted Humor mare. Eleven of the 19 first-timers that trainer Graham Motion has sent out with Jorge Vargas, Jr. in the irons have finished one-two-three… The sixth is an interesting allowance tilt for newly minted sophomores, and one runner you can’t ignore is #3 Hall Pass (5-2), the Ham Smith trainee who ran a big one last out to win at this level last out (when running for the $50,000 claiming tag) — although note that his last-race pilot Jevian Toledo jumps off to get on #1 Thatwouldbegrand (3-1) in this spot. We’re also intrigued here by #8 Trifor Gold (6-1). The Mark Shuman trainee won at first asking and then was up the track in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity, but the combination of rugged company — the top three in that race all are stakes winners — and a bad trip in which he stumbled and then was shuffled out of position was too much to overcome for a horse making his second career start. He finds an easier spot here…


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


When last seen, 10 months ago, #3 Nicholas and Me (3-1) was posting a dominant win in a race that produced two next-out winners. It won’t be easy for him to return to action against some tough runners in race seven, a first-level allowance, but on the positive side, the Dale Capuano trainee looks to be the major early speed in the race and, with Weston Hamilton up, may try to grab the early lead and hang on as long as he can. The son of Union Rags has been training forwardly for his return here and has never been worse than third in four tries at the six-furlong trip. But in your multi-race wagers, you don’t want to be too stingy in this one… Trainer Kieron Magee is following a classic claiming trainer move with #3 Blame the Kids (3-1) in race eight, the finale: claim a horse, shake out the major money he looks likely to win, and then drop him to a level where he can win and you may well lose him. He paid $16,000 for this runner four back, two back took a Maryland-bred allowance, and here puts him for sale for $12,500. His best is good enough here. A longshot worth a look in this one is #2 Done Acting (15-1); the Hugh McMahon trainee, a recent claim, has run two stinkers in a row but need only return to his late fall form to be a major player in this group…


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