Laurel Park: Picks and ponderings Feb. 21, 2019
by Frank Vespe
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:30 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow 6 — $8,321; Super Hi-5 — $1,135; Late Pick 5 — $6,281
Stat of the day: In the last two years, trainer Lacey Gaudet has won with nine of 31 runners first off the claim with an ROI of $3.67 per $2 win wager.
The Laurel racing week begins with three-year-old claiming horses going 5 1/2 furlongs, and with a horse — #4 Readytotapit (3-5) — who figured before scratches to be a very strong favorite and now, after them, will almost certainly be an overwhelming one. Too bad, too, as the move that trainer Ricky Sillaman is making here — dropping him from $25,000 to $8,000 despite a credible effort and just two starts after claiming him for $20,000 — seems to suggest you might want to take a stand against. Your best bet to lodge the upset now would be #2 No Mistake N Me (5-1), who finished two lengths behind the winner three back with a bit of a trouble line (but then again, he always has a bit of a trouble line).
Trainer Lacey Gaudet is 9-for-31 first off the claim with a very positive ROI in the last two years (and that’s a stat that’s consistent looking farther out). She’ll send out #6 Candy Asset (5-2) in this spot after grabbing him last out for $12,500. He pressed the pace before tiring last out, so the slight cutback — from a mile to seven furlongs — may help a bit, and he’ll catch an off track here (3:2-0-1), which also plays to his advantage.
An intriguing group of starter allowance runners is on tap for the third at the one-turn mile distance. That’s an added wrinkle here, because runners like #3 Trusting Friend (2-1) and #4 Correjon (3-1) have done their best work at sprint distances, the former having finished first or second in six straight, all at six furlongs or less, and the latter having just set the Laurel Park track record at 6 1/2 furlongs. A runner who notably likes this trip is the Laurel lover #6 Double Whammy (7-2), who has 10 wins over the strip and six (from 13 tries) at the trip. With Horacio Karamanos up today, the Mary Eppler trainee may also sit a good trip off what figures to be a contested early pace.
- RACE 1
- SCR: 5
- RACE 2
- SCR: 1
- RACE 3
In two recent tries against allowance foes, #4 Cowboy Night (8-5) has run a pair of good races, finishing second and third in those efforts. Dropped into an easier spot here, he figures to be a handful. The one-turn mile distance looks likely to hit him right between the eyes, and regular pilot Angel Rodriguez is slated to make the trip for his only mount at Laurel today. Another horse worth a look here is #2 My Good Man (9-2), who broke his maiden fairly easily last out in a race for which the long comment says he “appeared to have something in reserve.”
Here’s an interesting stat: trainer Mike Trombetta, who’ll send out two in this maiden claiming event, has a middling record of 7-for-67 (10 percent) with debut maiden claimers ridden by anyone other than his go-to rider, Julian Pimentel. With Pimentel, however, his record is 8-for-31 (25 percent). He’ll send out #9 Gold Cadillac (10-1) in this spot for this runner’s career bow with Pimentel up. He also has #3 Cover Photo (7-2) here, who ran a sneaky-OK race last out while rallying into the show spot and will add Lasix today.
Last out, #3 Amino (8-5) chased the early leader to no avail, settling for second. The group he’ll face in here is another without a ton of notable early zip, leading us to look for a horse with a bit more tactical speed. That would be #5 Red Gum (2-1), who broke his maiden last out easily and has never been worse than third in three tries on off tracks. Three of four to run back from that race finished in the money in their follow-ups.
- RACE 4
- RACE 5
- SCR: 1, 5, 10
- RACE 6
- SCR: 2
Trainer Kevin Patterson has won with 40 percent (!) of horses in their first starts in his barn in recent years, and such is the case with #4 Cinderela El Crome (6-1). This runner was in terrific form this past fall but tailed off slightly at the end of 2018. This will be his first start since late December, and Patterson will leg up Arnaldo Bocachica; that duo has a 43 percent strike rate (!). This is a race with a lot of early zip in it, so horses that like to run on late should have a big chance to get a piece; one of those is #8 Robey’s Boy (15-1), who though better on turf, has finished second or third in four straight against similar rivals and figures to get a congenial setup in this race.
In her last start, #2 Angelinas Star (2-1) ran a perfectly acceptable fourth, beaten just three lengths, against better rivals than she’ll face here. The Jerry Robb trainee has finished in the money in five of six at this 5 1/2-furlong distance and retains regular pilot Xavier Perez. They’ll have to contend, though, with the Jeremiah Englehart trainee #8 Caitriona (5-2), who likewise is taking a drop in class. Englehart wins at a 44 percent rate when making similar moves, and a return to this one’s two back form might be enough to get the money here.
- RACE 7
- RACE 8
- SCR: 3, 4