Laurel Park: Picks and ponderings Feb. 10, 2019
by Frank Vespe
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:30 p.m.
Carryovers: Super Hi 5 — $1,437
Stat of the day: Four of the seven horses in the sixth race today were ridden last out by jockey Trevor McCarthy, two of them to victory. For this tilt, he lands on #4 Jump Jive an Wail, whom he piloted to a runner-up effort last out — that runner’s fifth consecutive second-place finish.
The favorite in the opener, a one-mile nickel claiming race, is #5 Likeagirl (7-5), who enters off a second-place finish against similar rivals last out and possesses the best recent speed figs here. But she’s also 0-for-10 on a fast track and 1-for-8 at the distance, all of which seem like arguments against taking what figure to be short odds. She’s also a closer who figures to have a lot of work to do late. We’ll keep her in the mix but try to beat her on top with #4 Beatubyachubinose (2-1). Trainer Scott Lake had two entered in this one, but the other, #6 Include Gold, comes up a vet scratch. This mare finished well behind the favorite last out but figures to be a little bit closer to the pace in what figure to be tepid early fractions. She has some better efforts to run back to and may offer slightly better value.
Yesterday, a first-time starter named Lordhavemercy lit up the toteboard at 40-1 in winning a maiden special weight test at Laurel. You won’t get anything like that on the first-timer in here, #1 Edit and Simplify (2-1). She’s a Sagamore Farm homebred by Super Saver out of the graded stakes-placed Bluegrass Cat mare Tell a Great Story. Trainer Horacio DePaz is 8-for-23 with first-timers in maiden special weight company at Laurel, and he’ll leg up Alex Cintron, with whom he has a 21 percent strike rate and a positive ROI.
Trainer Kieron Magee is off to a sluggish start thus far at the Laurel meet — 2-for-25 to date — but given his record in recent years, you have to figure his barn will kick into gear soon. He rates a big shot here in race three with #2 Young American (8-5). This figures to be the sixth consecutive race in which this veteran gelding is favored — he’s won three of five and been second in the others — and Magee wheels him back here on nine days rest (he has a 27 percent strike rate bringing horses back on less than 10 days). This guy has the kind of tactical speed to work out a good trip and is 2-for-3 at the six-furlong distance. One longshot we’re curious about here is #1 Sventastic (15-1); it’s the first time in the Dale Capuano barn for this guy, and while he’s certainly no world-beater, it’s intriguing to see Capuano raise him from the $5,000 level to this $8,000 spot despite a poor performance last out. Capuano is 5-for-26 raising horses first off the claim, and here he’ll reunite this horse with jock Trevor McCarthy.
- RACE 1
- SCR: 6
- RACE 2
- RACE 3
Speaking of first-time starters, we’ll ride with another here in this race. Trainer Phil Schoenthal doesn’t have a great record with debut maiden special weight runners (4-for-52), but you wonder how many of those were bred quite like #5 Miss Guided (12-1). This daughter of top sire Speightstown — who stands for $80,000 — is out of the multiple graded stakes winner Miss Behaviour, a daughter of Jump Start that Schoenthal trained. This one is the first foal out of Miss Behaviour, who began her career with three straight wins, the last of which came in the Grade 2 Matron. If she can run like mom, this filly will be tough in here. If not? Look for #4 Jump for Sally (7-2), who got plenty of education in her debut and rallied for the show, to complete the rally this time and get the money.
Journeyman jock Dexter Haddock rode six horses yesterday at Parx Racing. He’s scheduled to ride four tomorrow there. But today he’s come to Laurel with a single mount, that aboard #4 Huascaran (5-2) in this $12,500 claimer. This Haynesfield colt — a recent claimback for trainer Alfredo Velazquez — ran a decent race last out in his first try back in the barn and first in four months, leading for a long way before settling for third in a race in which the top pair closed from the back. That came over a slow, tiring Parx strip; it took the horses 1:49.51 to navigate a mile and 70 yards. That race came January 28, and notably, Velazquez worked the horse five-eighths on February 6, suggesting a horse who’s raring to go.
See our stat of the day above: jockey Trevor McCarthy rode four of the runners in this race last out, including last-out winners #1 Crouchelli (6-1) and #3 Tattooed (5-2). But he lands here on the Mary Eppler trainee #4 Jump Jive an Wail (3-1), who ran second at this allowance level last out. He’s been second five straight at this level, and that’s the concern: with just four wins in 36 career starts, he’s established himself as a check-cashing machine, but one who doesn’t win much. We’re going to look to beat him with #6 Threes Over Deuces (4-1). The Gary Capuano trainee kept the right kind of company as a sophomore, winning an allowance/optional claiming race and placing in a pair of stakes. Brought back January 12 at Aqueduct, he had a useful return to action when finishing fifth, though beaten just less than three lengths. Here, in his second start after a six-month break and stretching out to a distance at which he hasn’t been worse than third, he owns the right to step forward.
- RACE 4
- SCR: 6
- RACE 5
- RACE 6
Is the favorite in here, #4 Throw the Fade (6-5), the fastest horse of the bunch? It sure looks that way. Is he the most likely winner? Yup. But — the Shackleford gelding is also 0-for-7 on a fast track and has finished second in six of 11 career starts, versus just a single win. Those facts are enough for us to decline the short odds and look to beat him on top. #1 Glengar (5-2) finished three behind the favorite last out on a muddy strip but here will catch a fast track. He’s also getting an additional furlong to unfurl his run, and trainer Claudio Gonzalez adds solid journeyman Julian Pimentel in the irons. That duo is winning at a 31 percent clip.
One of these very slow maidens will graduate today. Which one? We’re saying it’s the Jose Corrales trainee #7 Simmard Shenanigan (9-5), who plummets from $25,000 company to the bottom.
- RACE 7
- RACE 8