Laurel Park picks and ponderings Mar. 29, 2019

by | Mar 29, 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: Super Hi 5 — $1,094

Stat of the day: Trainer Ham Smith is 7-for-65 with a positive wagering ROI when bringing horses back off long layoffs, as he’s doing in race three.



In this nickel claiming event, we’re locked in on a pair of relatively lightly raced runners: #2 Perfect Exchange (9-2) is a horse who likes to run into the pace but has caught speed-favoring strips her last three. She can move forward here if she gets an even track and will retain regular pilot Xavier Perez. #3 Wee Monie Creek (5-2) ran poorly in her last start, but that was around two turns at Timonium; her last try in a similar spot resulted in a second place finish. She’s been away since August, which is an obvious cause for concern, but trainer Kenny Cox has been having a productive season thus far.


The favorite, and our top choice, in this one-mile claiming event is #4 Le Weekend (9-5). The Great Notion mare has run competitvely in her last two against better and will have a chance to control this one on the front end.


The favorite in the third is #3 Silver Sides (2-1), and she deserves to be on your ticket after having been claimed back by trainer Mike Geralis for $25,000. She didn’t run particularly well last out but should appreciate getting back on a fast track here. However, we’ll try to beat her on top with #6 My T Talk (8-1). The Ham Smith trainee gave perhaps a better account of herself on debut than it looks at first glance. The top two finishers both have gone on to win allowance races, with that day’s runner-up, Belial, stakes-placed. This one has been away since July, and over the last five years, trainer Ham Smith is 7-for-65 off similar layoffs with a positive wagering return on investment. Bug boy Julio Correa will ride.


  • RACE 1
    • 2-3-5-6
    • SCR: None
  • RACE 2
    • 4-5-1-2
    • SCR: None
  • RACE 3
    • 6-3-8-5
    • SCR: 2, 4



This one seems fairly cut-and-dried: #6 My Chesa Charm (8-5) probably is the controlling speed in this spot, just missed at this level last out, and has much better efforts to run back to. Even a repeat of her last could win here, and any improvement would make her an absolute handful. Also note that jockey Katie Davis, who rode #1 Banana Kova (5-1) last out, lands on My Chesa Charm.


There aren’t a ton of speed horses in this starter allowance, but there are a couple, which should mean that #4 Double Whammy (4-1) has a target to run at, as he prefers. The eight-year-old has some tries on the page that would win here, and he should appreciate the fast track — he has nine wins on fast tracks — and the one-mile journey, a trip that has provided six of those scores. Another horse we think is worth using here is #2 Try Flying (5-1); it seems that he may prefer being wide and out of traffic, a preference that can’t help going two turns. But this one-turn mile might be what the doctor ordered for him.


We’re looking for #7 Eifs (6-1) to improve on her last. She made a favorable impression when fourth in her debut, but her follow-up last out was just ok; she ran up close to the pace before fading. Breaking from the outside here, jockey Julian Pimentel will have the chance to eyeball the competition early and try to put her in an advantageous spot. An improved effort would make her a graduate here. Another horse worth a look is #6 Song of Mine (3-1). This Ghostzapper filly makes her first start in the Ollie Figgins barn, and while her prior dirt tries haven’t made much impact, they were all at tougher locales, including Keeneland and Oaklawn Park.


  • RACE 4
    • 6-7-1-3
    • SCR: None
  • RACE 5
    • 4-2-1-6
    • SCR: None
  • RACE 6
    • 7-6-5-4
    • SCR: 2, 8





The only reason #4 Intrepid Forest (4-1) qualifies for this “haven’t won two in six months” condition is because she did not race from last May until February. But she’s won two of her last four, including two back, seven of 19 overall, and should find the much easier company on offer here more to her liking than the allowance foes she saw last out.


That was a decent effort last out by #1 Polarization (2-1), who rushed up after stumbling out of the gate and stuck with it a long way before fading late. She gets top local pilot Trevor McCarthy up here, and, breaking from the rail, projects to be the one in front early. Then we’ll see if she can seal the deal this time.


Last out #7 Giant Viking (4-1) disappointed as the favorite. He’ll get blinkers on, a shorter trip, and easier company here, and all of that can be enough to leave the maiden ranks. Trainer Gary Capuano has a history of bringing young horses along race-by-race, so improvement here seems likely.


  • RACE 7 
    • 4-6-2-1
    • SCR: None
  • RACE 8
    • 1-7-2-4
    • SCR: 5
  • RACE 9
    • 7-8-6-3
    • SCR: None