Laurel Park: Picks and ponderings Feb. 3, 2019
by Frank Vespe
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:15 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow 6 — $3,845
Stat of the day: The highest-priced winner of the Laurel winter meet to date has been No More Excuses, who paid $65.40 when winning the fourth race on January 18. The Michael Merryman trainee returns to action today and is 7-2 on the morning line in race four, a Maryland-bred allowance. As she did in the last race, Carol Cedeno will ride.
A pair of maiden events kick off the Super Bowl Sunday card, and while a couple of horses in the first have good enough resumes to warrant support at the windows, we’re going to land on a first-time starter. #6 Street Prayer (7-2) comes out of the solid Mike Trombetta barn and is a son of Street Magician who is the first to run out of a winning Songandaprayer mare. Here’s what makes him interesting: Trombetta has a pair in this race, this runner and #4 Vee’s Super Star (5-2), the morning line second choice who ran second against similar last out in late November. Julian Pimentel, who is Trombetta’s go-to jock, rode Vee’s Super Star to that runner-up finish but opts instead to ride Street Prayer today, which makes us think he knows something we don’t.
The Chuck Lawrence trainee #6 Leroy’s Sweetypie (9-5) ran a pretty good race in her debut, rallying into fourth despite having to check out of contention in mid-stretch. She probably wasn’t going to win, but it was a useful start to her career. She returns here and gets our nod as top choice. But you also have to respect others in here, notably a first-time starter from Graham Motion’s barn, #5 Remarkable Soul (7-2). She’s a daughter of top sire Medaglia d’Oro out of a winning Distorted Humor mare and has attracted the services of top jock Trevor McCarthy.
Last out, #4 Gold Man (2-1) sped to the early lead against rivals similar to today’s and cruised to an easy win. But he might not find the going so smooth today, with other speedy sorts signed on, including #5 Cobh (12-1) and #6 Cort’n Asong (12-1). They may push the Gold Man harder than he was pushed last time, setting it up for late runners, including our top choice, The Great Casby (3-1), who rallied to no avail while second versus Gold Man last out and makes his first start in the barn of trainer Phil Schoenthal (28 percent first off the claim).
- RACE 1
- SCR: 5
- RACE 2
- SCR: 3
- RACE 3
A somewhat motley crew gathers for this Maryland-bred allowance, and the favorite here is #3 Rein Supreme (2-1), who rallied to score last out against $12,500 claimers at odds of 23-1, but I dunno, feels difficult to take short odds on this runner. The major speed in this spot looks to be #4 Gloria’s Gal (4-1), who won for a nickel last out and makes her first start for trainer Henry Walters (0-for-37 in 2018). Offering perhaps better value is #6 No More Excuses (7-2), who won at 31-1 last out versus $8,000 claimers in an effort that, while a big step up from her prior two, was pretty much in line with some of her earlier tries.
Nickel claimers line up for the fifth, and honestly, I tried like heck to come up with a reason to take a stand against the favorite in here, #9 Trapper’s Delight (7-5). You might find better value with #3 Dr. Cerrato (3-1) or longshot #5 Stay On Point (20-1), but Trapper’s Delight looks like the most likely winner in here.
A group of $8,000 starters will run the ‘tweener distance of 6 1/2 furlongs in the sixth, and only two of these have demonstrated the ability to compete at this level: #8 Tradfest (3-1) and #5 Papacho (9-2). Look for one of them to get the money.
- RACE 4
- RACE 5
- RACE 6
- SCR: 1, 1A
Leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez claimed #1 Stormin Hongkong (3-1) for $25,000, won with him in a starter allowance, tried him unsuccessfully versus allowance foes, and now drops him back to the $25,000 level. He may lose him here but has a pretty good chance of shaking the money tree once more on the way out. Gonzalez and rider Ricardo Chiappe have won together with four of 12 starters.
The featured eighth race is a second-level allowance going seven furlongs, and maybe we’re chasing — probably, we’re chasing — but this looks like a good spot for #5 Greatbullsoffire (9-2) to win for the first time in seven starts and the first time since the 2016 Maryland Juvenile Futurity. Probably the two best races of his career have come at today’s distance — including that six-length win in the Md. Juvenile Futurity — and I’m not too concerned about his last, which was over a muddy strip, his first time on an off track. He’ll catch a fast track today and a distance he likes.
The favorite in the eighth race is In Arrears, who last out won a Maryland-bred allowance by a length. The runner-up that day, #1 Torch of Truth (5-2), is the favorite in this Maryland-bred allowance. The Tom Iannotti trainee ran really well last out to be second in what was his first try in nearly one year, and that was at the challenging seven-furlong distance. He owns the right to improve here, and if he does, he’ll win this contest.
Last out, #7 Congrats Graduate (9-5) ran a bang-up race, slugging it out for a long way with the winner, Dancingwithpaynter, who was 1-5, before settling for second. He’ll have to overcome the seven-hole in this two-turn contest, but he’s our pick for the mildest of mild upsets, this over the 7-5 morning line choice, the late-running Juan Vazquez trainee #2 Brew by You (7-5).
- RACE 7
- RACE 8
- SCR: 3
- RACE 9
- SCR: 6
- RACE 10