Laurel Park picks and ponderings Mar. 8, 2019
by Frank Vespe
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:30 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow 6 — $9,329
Stat of the day: Five of the six runners in race three have a combined 0-for-32 record at the race’s six-furlong distance.
Last time out, #2 Sir Rockport (2-1) ran a huge one, romping to a four-length win while posting a Beyer fig of 80. Can the seven-year-old repeat that? If so, he’ll be a handful in here, but that feels like a tall order. Less like a tall order is that #4 The Great Provider (9-5), who looks to be the main speed in this spot, will run his race at a distance — six furlongs — at which he already owns six wins in his career. Also of note in this spot, #6 Candymankando (8-1), who is otherwise pretty nondescript, is the first horse that trainer Horacio DePaz has claimed in his brief career and here makes his first start for the new connections.
In this seven-furlong maiden test, all five of the remaining runners (after the scratch of #1 Atlantic Avenue) look more or less the same: all posted a last-out Beyer of between 48 and 58 while finishing second, third, or fourth. We’re going to use the Kieron Magee trainee #3 Eifs (7-2) on top; the Hunters Bay filly ran a good one on debut, finishing fourth while beaten just a length. That was at one mile — a difficult distance at which to debut — and this one should be plenty fit on the cutback to seven furlongs here. The runner-up from that race returned to graduate next out, this one has a work in the interim, and normal second-race improvement should be sufficient.
Here’s a racing oddity: in this six-furlong test, five of the runners have a combined record of 32:0-9-1 at the distance, which, not to put too fine a point on it, is terrible. That points us to the one runner here with a demonstrated affinity for the trip: #5 Tidy Stripe (5-2). The Sam Davis trainee ran evenly last out after getting squeezed and bumped back to last leaving the gate; the winner returned to win a Maryland-bred allowance in her follow-up. Look for an improved try in this spot, with regular pilot Forest Boyce up.
- RACE 1
- RACE 2
- SCR: 1
- RACE 3
- SCR: 7
With her main rival scratched, the way looks clear for the favorite in here, #7 Bring Me Answers (9-5), to find the winner’s circle for the fifth time in her career. Sheldon Russell is up.
Here’s the conundrum: #3 Brew by You (7-5) clearly looks to be better than her rivals in this motley crew of nickel claimers set to go 1 1/16 miles. But she has a disastrous habit of whiffing on the break: in four of her last five starts, she’s had trouble getting away from the gate, most notably two back when she spotted the field several lengths early and ended up losing by just a nose. Even with all of that, each of her last three races is better than any of her rivals’ last three, so she’s our choice. But if that bad habit and those short odds give you pause, we can’t blame you. Give a look to #2 Cisco Bay (6-1), who ran evenly last out with a trouble line and can improve here.
The second of the day’s maiden special weight tests is the better of the pair, this one for three-year-olds and up going six furlongs. The favorite in here is #4 Tom Hagen (5-2), who certainly merits consideration; we decided to stand against, however, because this Tim Keefe trainee hasn’t started in over two months and had his career-best performance at 1 1/16 miles, making us wonder if this one is more of a tuneup for a longer race to come. Instead, we’ll put #6 Sinchow (4-1) on top. The Graham Motion trainee is super-well-bred, a son of Tapit out of the multiple graded stakes-winning Mr. Greeley mare Aruna. Aruna was a turfer, but her only foal to race thus far posted her only win on the main track. It’s also notable that Motion shipped this one down from his Fair Hill base on Feb. 23 for a half-mile breeze from the gate — that should help this guy acclimate to his surroundings and may help him deliver a top performance. Also of note in this race is another firster, #3 Day the Music Died (9-2); this Mike Trombetta trainee is a half to a bevy of multiple winners and is by Maclean’s Music, probably the best sire that his dam, Kelly’s Question, has seen.
- RACE 4
- SCR: 6
- RACE 5
- RACE 6
Obviously, #3 M G Broker (4-5) is the horse to beat in here: he’s won on the lead and rallying from the back, and last out he galloped by 10 lengths. But, ya know, just for fun, we’re going to try to beat him in here; he’ll have company in here early from #2 Expect Drama (8-1), while sitting just off them should be #5 Ricardito (6-1), the Richard Vega trainee who has won at this level and should appreciate the added ground from his last start.
It’s hard to get excited about the obvious runners in this nickely claimer going two turns: favored #2 Do Yahwanna Salsa (2-1) was all out to win at the N3L level in his last and switches from the high-percentage Claudio Gonzalez barn, while #3 Brahms Romp (3-1) has lost eight consecutive times against similar rivals, with his last couple evincing declining form. That steered us to #1A Jose Sea View (5-1) who is no world-beater himself and is working on a lengthy losing streak — but at least offers a bit of value.
One more nickel claimer closes the Friday proceedings, and the good news here is that #6 In Him With Him (3-1) figures to be controlling speed in here and, with a name like that, ought to have God on his side. (Assuming, ya know, that God is a betting man). The bad news: he’s winless in six tries at the trip, though he has been second three times.
- RACE 7
- RACE 8
- SCR: 6
- RACE 9