Laurel Park picks and ponderings Mar. 2, 2019
by Frank Vespe
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:30 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow 6 — $5,724; Super Hi 5 — $2,337
Stat of the day: Number of racing publications that provided picks for the “February 29” Laurel card: 1 (this one). Oops! At least we think we have the date right today…
Claiming sophomores kick off the card, and while you have to respect the favorite in here, #4 Mimic (5-2), I’m not sure how low you want to be willing to go odds-wise on her; the issue isn’t that she had a bad race last out (although she did, losing by 17 lengths with a Beyer speed fig of 21), it’s that outside of her one victory — achieved at 37-1 odds — her best fig to date is a 29, which would not win this race. So, the verdict is use her on the ticket but try to beat her; we landed on #3 Empire Panther (6-1); the Jose Corrales trainee ran well enough two back against similar when second before climbing the ladder with bad results last out. Dropped back into a place she fits, she can move forward here.
The other day, trainer Gary Capuano sent postward a debut runner whose final work in preparation had been a mile move from the gate. That runner, Hoffa’s Union, won a maiden special weight test by a dazzling 15 lengths. In this more modest maiden claiming event, Capuano is sending out #6 San Marco (15-1), who worked a mile from the gate that very same day (presumably in company, although a good two seconds slower). So the work tab appears to be a positive, and so, too, does the fact that Capuano keeps the horse at the same level, although he’s shown nothing to date in his two starts. He’ll leg up go-to rider Wes Hamilton, and against a group that doesn’t have any standouts, the value looks to be there.
You can make a case for several runners in this maiden special weight contest for three-year-olds, and we’re going to swing for a bit of an upset with #3 Great Herman (6-1). The Jerry Robb trainee ran second on debut back in June at Delaware in a solid heat that produced two next-out winners, while winner Tybalt returned to be second in a stake (and has gone on to be a useful if not spectacular horse). He hasn’t run since but has been working well, including a bullet five-furlong move Feb. 23, and five of the nine Robb-trained maidens returning from similar layoffs have finished in the money in recent years.
- RACE 1
- RACE 2
- SCR: 7
- RACE 3
- SCR: 1
Citi Party looks to be a talented runner, having won her first two starts by a combined 10+ lengths. The horse who finished second to her last out, #1 Baccarat Fashion (1-1), shows up here for trainer Bruno Tessore, and while we’d really like to try to beat her in this spot, that appears to be a heavy lift, so we’ll eat the chalk. We’re curious to see how #5 Mae Sai Princess (10-1) runs here in her first try against older runners after a good debut and, last out, a solid third-place try.
More chalk in this middling $10,000 maiden claimer: #1 Buster’s Brother (6-5) will break from the rail and, under Carol Cedeno, likely zip to the front. Then the question is whether he stays there.
The favorite in the sixth, a first-level allowance,is the Rudy Rodriguez shipper #2 Aikenetta (7-5), and there’s no question that a repeat of her last, an easy win against $32,000 claimers at the Big A, would be enough here. But she hasn’t really established much consistency and is winless on off tracks, all of which makes those odds a little too much for us. How about the Tim Woolley trainee #6 Magically Discreet (4-1) instead? Last out, at this level, she moved smartly to the lead in the lane but couldn’t quite contain one of the late runners and had to settle for second. Right back at the same distance and level, she could knock this condition down here.
- RACE 4
- SCR: 6
- RACE 5
- RACE 6
- SCR: 1
Last out #10 Foggy Dreams (2-1) ran a good one at this $10,000 level, finishing second behind Allison K, who returned to win for a second consecutive time. She looks to have the tactical ability to work out a good trip under Jevian Toledo, and merely a repeat of her last would probably get the money in here.
Horses that ran second and third in a state-bred allowance last out are favored in here, with #1 Torch of Truth (2-1) the favorite and our top selection. The Tom Iannotti trainee has run well in both tries against allowance foes and broke his maiden at today’s 5 1/2 furlong distance. He might have preferred not breaking from the rail for the third consecutive race, but such is life; he’s still good enough, and lightly raced enough, that he can overcome it in this spot.
We’ll look for one last upset to close the card, this in the form of #4 L’Overture (6-1). He can step forward today after decent return from a six-week break, running third in his last, and he’ll have Trevor McCarthy up. The favorite in here, #6 Orient Point (9-5), is a user but has not raced in nearly three months while showing just a single work. He might need one to deliver his best.
- RACE 7
- RACE 8
- RACE 9