Laurel Park picks and ponderings Mar. 15, 2019

by | Mar 15, 2019 | Breaking, Handicapping, Maryland, MD Racing

Something Awesome

Something Awesome ran through the snow to win the Grade 3 General George. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

by Frank Vespe

In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…

Post time: 1:10 p.m.

Carryovers: Rainbow 6 — $15,318

Stat of the day: Number of races in which Laurel’s racing analysts Stan Salter and Tim Tullock have picked the same horse to win: 1 of 8. (In one other race, in which they did land on the same horse, that runner was scratched).



None of the obvious horses in this bottom-level maiden has much to recommend them as a betting proposition, but then again, neither do the non-obvious horses. So we’ll give a crack to the favorite here, #1 Blue Danube (9-5). The Jose Corrales trainee ran a good one two back at this distance and against slightly better, rallying into third with a career-best speed fig. He’s reunited with his jockey from that day, Kali Francois, should get a fast track again after a try on a sloppy strip, and a reprise of that effort ought to be enough here. But 9-5? Ugh…


The last three for #5 Black Jacket (4-1) aren’t great, but they’re all at a higher level than this $12,500 event, and he has some better efforts to run back to. Dropped into this spot, with leading local pilot Trevor McCarthy up, he has a chance to find the range once again. The favorite in this spot is #4 Sacred Walk (7-5). The Claudio Gonzalez trainee could certainly win here and belongs on your ticket somewhere, but those odds are a bit tough to take off two middling tries. It looks like Gonzalez got three bang-up races out of him off the claim and now, after two sub-optimal efforts, has decided he’s shaken loose the money he can and is letting this one go.


Look for bug rider Jann Hernandez to hustle #1 Huascaran (7-2) out of the gate and towards the lead early in this two-turn test. The Haynesfield colt crushed never-won-two rivals two back in front-running fashion, but last out, with an attempt at a stalk-and-pounce trip, he threw in the towel early. He won in his only prior trip to Laurel, and it looks like only one other runner here — #5 The Walk (3-1) — possesses the kind of speed to press him in the early going.


  • RACE 1
    • 1-7-5-6
  • RACE 2
    • 5-4-1-6
    • SCR: 1 (part of entry)
  • RACE 3
    • 1-7-5-2



That was a big effort last out by #5 Once More Eh (7-2), showing speed early and fighting it out gamely with 9-5 favorite Lucacito before settling for second. A repeat of that might well make him a graduate in here in a race that seems fairly light on early runners.


Here’s a prediction: no horse on today’s card will be happier to be in Laurel than will #7 Wildcat Combat (6-1). The speedy mare, based at Parx Racing, has made five straight starts there, over the absolutely dead main track, in which the Daily Racing Form analysts said the race played to closers. She’s managed to win two of those and finish in the money in two others. Here today, she figures to be the speed of the speed on a track that has been either fair of speed-friendly for most of the meet.


Speaking of speed, who’s going to run with #2 She’s Primo (9-2) in the early going in this $32,000 claimer? A filly by The Factor, she crushed her rivals by double digits last out versus slightly lesser company at Parx and owns a win in her only prior try at seven furlongs. She might go to the front and never look back again in this spot, as well. It’s a pretty wide-open contest, though, and runners like the class-dropping #3 Knock Out Kid (7-2), lightly raced #5 Zira (4-1), and #8 Wicked Awesome (4-1) also merit consideration.


  • RACE 4
    • 5-7-2-1
    • SCR: 3
  • RACE 5
    • 7-1-9-2
    • SCR: 3
  • RACE 6
    • 2-3-5-8



The favorite in this claiming event is #2 Jackgreerstubhutch (5-2), who bested bottom-level maidens last out. But, I dunno, it’s tough to take favoritism on a horse a) facing winners for the first time and b) rising in claiming price as well, even if this is a pretty modest group. We’ll give the nod instead to the Penn National shipper #4 Clark’s Kryptonite (7-2). He broke his maiden at the $25,000 level two back, and while his last, versus similar at Penn, wasn’t great, he had something of a trouble line after breaking in air and running wide. Of the three to run back from that race, one has won and another finished third in their follow-ups.


There’s a nice big field set to line up for this first-level allowance for sophomores, and we’re going to give the nod to #3 Wendell Fong (7-2). The Jermiah Englehart trainee was up late to win at first asking, and last out, in the Miracle Wood Stakes, he was a credible fourth — just a half-length out of second. Englehart, who tried him with blinkers on for the first time in the Miracle Wood, here takes them back off (he’s 11-for-45 taking blinks off), and this runner is showing a bullet half-mile move — fastest of 45 — since that race. A couple others to watch in here include #6 By the Sey Shore (6-1), who won the speed duel last out versus similar but could not hold off a late runner and settled for second, and #9 Lordhavemercy (6-1), who was a 40-1 upset winner on debut in a race that’s produced three next-out winners.


With the Maryland-bred waiver back in place at the $40,000 maiden claiming level, eight of 10 in here are not in for the tag. One of those is #6 Little Miss Jones (8-1). The Ferris Allen trainee is a daughter of Smarty Jones out of the multiple stakes-winning Polish Numbers mare Chrusciki, who has been an ultra-productive broodmare. This one has four sibs who have earned at least $100,000, including full brother John Jones, an earner of over $450,000. If she can run to her breeding, she can win here. One other runner we’ll call your attention to here is #4 Gold Cadillac (6-1); while we generally hate moving a maiden up in class off a defeat, this one had some excuses when finishing second on debut: she showed some funky action and seemed a bit uncomfortable for a ways on the backstretch, and then ran most of the way in the lane on the wrong lead before switching late. She can improve here in her second start, and note that trainer Mike Trombetta’s go-to rider Julian Pimentel lands on this runner rather than the trainer’s other entrant, #2 Lucky Ninety Nine (10-1).


  • RACE 7 
    • 4-2-1-3
  • RACE 8
    • 3-6-9-1A
    • SCR: 1 (part of entry), 7
  • RACE 9
    • 6-3-4-5