Laurel Park picks and ponderings Mar. 30, 2019
by Frank Vespe
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 1:10 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Pick 6 — $985; Super Hi 5 — $1,319
Stat of the day: The last time Fearless Terp ran, he was 133-1. That’s the longest odds for a Claudio Gonzalez trainee in the last five years and one of only two of his horses in that period to go off at over 99-1.
The speedy #3 Expect Drama (5-2) made the early lead last out but had no answers for the formful M G Broker, who won off by nine. But he did manage to hold second, finishing ahead of, among others, the favorite in here, #4 Charging Lion (2-1). Expect Drama looks to be the controlling speed in here and will have Kevin Gomez in the irons.
Big effort last out by the favorite here, #3 Fearless Terp (7-5), who led a long way at 133-1 before settling for fifth, beaten a couple by the hard-hitting Wendell Fong. That was his first in about six months and also first with blinkers, so it may well represent a new normal for the Claudio Gonzalez trainee. But it feels like he’ll have company on the front end here, which might give a horse with a bit of late foot a chance; say, for example, #2 Bridey’s Kitten (12-1). The Ollie Figgins trainee broke his maiden at the $40,000 level at Belmont Park last May, was off until earlier this month when he returned to fade to fifth in allowance company at Charles Town. He drops here in for the tag and has a chance to move forward in his second off the bench.
That was a heck of an effort last out by the favorite in here, #1 Mortal Storm (2-1), and we think the stars are aligned for a repeat. In that last race, at this same level, the Take of Ekati filly grabbed the early lead, seemed to be swallowed up at the head of the lane, but then proved resilient, battling back to be a near-miss second while four lengths clear of the rest. She looks to be the main speed in this contest, and at the same time has shown the ability to run into a pace if she doesn’t have the early jump. Rosario Montanez is up.
- RACE 1
- SCR: None
- RACE 2
- SCR: None
- RACE 3
- SCR: None
We’ll look for the mild upset here with #7 Kierland (4-1). The Mark Reid trainee, making his second start off a nearly-three-month freshening, finally drops to the lowest level, and if he can get back to his better efforts could be tough in here. #4 Here’s Paco (4-1) rates consideration in here as the likely controlling speed, as does the chalk, #1 Accusing (2-1), who picks up leading local rider Trevor McCarthy.
Are we being too cute in here? Quite possibly. But hear us out. The 8-5 favorite in this spot is #3 Dr Bolt, whose speed figs suggest he should win. But he’s a closer working on a 17-race losing streak who just was third at this level. I wouldn’t leave him off the ticket, but 8-5 is just a little excessive for my tastes. How about #9 Greely Is Back (10-1)? This Marion Cuttino trainee was outfooted in his last couple going 4 1/2 furlongs at Charles Town but should appreciate the added ground here. His last couple of tries on the main track not at CT — where the night racing and short distance make it a bit of a different animal — were a first and second against $10,000 company. A return to that form would be good enough here, and at any rate, taking 10-1 on that proposition is a lot more palatable than 8-5 on Dr Bolt.
Speaking of cute… here’s a wide-open $40,000 maiden claimer going a mile, and we’ll take a swing with #1A Hanalei’s Houdini (10-1). This one did not finish his debut — thus receiving no speed figure or final placing — but it was one of the oddest outcomes we’ve seen. He was going to be a clear second behind 3-5 favorite Smile Bryan, but in the shadow of the wire fell. He got up and walked off, so he was apparently fine and just took a tumble. He would likely have earned a Beyer speed fig of between 60 and 65 that day — the winner got a 71 — which is competitive with the best of these. First-race pilot Jevian Toledo jumps ship (who can blame him?) to ride #6 One More Drink (5-2) for Kelly Rubley, so trainer Ham Smith will leg up red-hot bug boy Julio Correa. Others worth a gander here include a pair for Graham Motion in #4 Benandjoe (3-1) and the firster #9 Lincoln’s Address (4-1), and a firster for Mike Trombetta, #2 Welling (7-2).
- RACE 4
- SCR: 3
- RACE 5
- SCR: None
- RACE 6
- SCR: 1 (part of entry), 3
Last time out, the Wayne Potts trainee #6 Brightest Star (3-1) sped to the early lead and never looked back, breaking his maiden at the $10,000 level by over four lengths. It says here he can do that again, though he may have early company from — and may not be as good as — #7 Top Czar (5-2), who showed little last out against better but now drops to a spot where he can compete.
The favorite in this nickel claiming sprint is the Kevin Patterson trainee #5 Townie (8-5), who certainly is a threat to win — but is also winless in four tries on the main track, his only score having come on grass. We’ll try to best him with the Claudio Gonzalez-trained #4 Lucacito (4-1). The three-year-old was thrashed last out by M G Broker but with only three starts under his belt, he retains the right to improve.
Our top pick in here is #9 Gorbachov (3-1). This one arrives with back-to-back wins for trainer Jose Corrales, who claimed him for a nickel, won at that level and then at the $16,000 level, and now drops the five-year-old back to a nickel. That might typically make him a standout in this company — and the scratch of #5 Parade of Nations helps in that direction — but this is a fairly salty crew for the level. Still, we think he’s a good bet to make it three straight.
- RACE 7
- SCR: None
- RACE 8
- SCR: None
- RACE 9
- SCR: 3, 5