Laurel Park picks and ponderings Apr. 7, 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 — $6,996
Stat of the day: Trainer Phil Schoenthal is 13-for-45 (29%) first off the claim in recent years; Tricky Lion, in the sixth, is making his first start off the claim for Schoenthal today.
Starter allowance types going a mile kick off the card, with the favorite, #1 Bobby G (9-5) an obvious player here. He’s run three straight good ones, two since the claim by trainer Jose Corrales, and last out was second in a 1 1/4-mile starter handicap over the strip. We’re slightly puzzled, though, by Corrales’ decision to spot this guy here — where the purse is $27,000 — versus in a first-level allowance, which likely would be an easier spot and carries a $42,000 pot. So we’ll take a swing against him with the comebacking #8 Run for James (5-2). The Jamie Ness trainee beat second-level allowance foes last out; that was back in September, and trainer Ness is about 10 percent off similar layoffs. He may be the controlling speed in here, and while he may need a race, let’s see what he can do.
With the maiden $40,000 waiver back in place for Maryland-breds at Laurel, this intriguing maiden event is a de facto maiden special weight in which the favorite, #1 Blameitonthekiss (7-5), just missed last out against maiden special weight rivals. But we’re gonna try to beat her in here on the grounds that a) she’s failed at this level two previous times; b) we’re not sold on the quality of the field of that last race; and c) there are two others in here with intriguing breeding. The first of those, and our top choice, is #4 Saltworks (9-2). This sophomore Bullsbay filly is out of the Mineshaft mare Sheave, which makes her a half-sister to the champion Cathryn Sophia, who won the first several races of her career and six of nine overall, including the Kentucky Oaks. The other notable debut runner here is the Chuck Lawrence trainee #5 Our Star (7-2); the Tapizar filly is out of the Diamond mare Silmaril. Maryland racing fans will remember her as the multiple Grade 3-winning millionaire who defeated the Hall of Famer Ashado in the 2005 Pimlico Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
The probable post-time favorite in this $16,000 claimer is #4 Robin’s Destiny (2-1), who’s dropping out of allowance company for trainer Lacey Gaudet, who’s also taking off the blinks. But we’ll look for #6 Truly Hot (3-1), who’s been keeping he right company of late. The last time she ran at a similar level, she finished second behind Bye Bye Blues, who turned around to win a second-level allowance next out. And that effort last out may be better than it looks (at 46-1), as that was a salty enough group despite its being a Maryland-bred stake.
- RACE 1
- SCR: 4, 5, 7
- RACE 2
- SCR: 2
- RACE 3
- SCR: 1 (part of entry), 3
Speaking of keeping the right company, #8 Bobby the Brain (6-1) managed to butt heads with Persie last out; that runner won 10 times last year and is two-for-two so far in ’19. He won’t find any of these here, ran well in his prior try at the one-turn mile, and gets leading rider Trevor McCarthy in the irons. That’s a good combination of positives in this race full of horses with in-and-out form.
The improving #4 Bagels and Lox (4-1) has been in the top three in five of her last six starts — she was fourth in the other — and ran well enough last out against similar despite a troubled trip. She’s also demonstrated the ability to run into the pace, and in a race that seems to have some early zip, that makes her our top choice in here. The favorite, #5 Ten Count Out (2-1), is one of those early types and may just be too good for these on the drop in class. But her last was not good, which gives us pause on using her in the top spot. We’re keeping her on the ticket but trying to beat her.
Big run last out for #2 Tricky Lion (3-1), who rallied inside to win easily at the $25,000 level. He’s stepping up here in his first try in the Phil Schoenthal barn, and Schonethal is 13-for-45 (29%) in recent years first off the claim. It’s a vote of confidence that he’s stepping up in class, and Schoenthal keeps regular pilot Wes Hamilton on him; that duo has won three of four starts, and we like that this guy showed a new dimension last out running into the pace.
- RACE 4
- SCR: None
- RACE 5
- SCR: 3
- RACE 6
- SCR: None
It’s a field of six in this Maryland-bred allowance, and we’ll take the Jerry Robb trainee #1 Great Herman (3-1) on top. This speedster graduated last out with a front-running score, and breaking from the rail with Xavier Perez up, will look to reprise that here. He’s faced some pretty talented rivals in prior starts, as well, running second to Tybalt in his debut — that runner has now been stakes-placed four times — and to Baptize the Boy in his second career start. He makes his third try off a lengthy layoff here. If the pace heats up — and the presence of both our top choice and #2 Nico Bree N Teej (5-2) might lead it to — look for #6 Popizar (5-1) to make late noise. The Richard Vega trainee was third against similar last out and should appreciate getting back on a fast main track today.
If you like Great Herman in the seventh, then you ought to like #4 Baptize the Boy (7-2) in the eighth. He bested Great Herman to graduate in his last start and draws into this starter allowance as a Maryland-bred who’s never won twice. Rosario Montanez will pilot a runner who might find a good trip behind a couple of speed types, too. Another runner with intriguing credentials is #5 Thatwouldbegrand (3-1). The Dale Capuano trainee has run credibly in some pretty tough spots, finishing less than six lengths behind Mind Control in the Grade 1 Hopeful last summer and running behind Alwaysmining and Tybalt in his last two. That gives him the strongest resume here, though he is working on a six-race losing streak.
In the “keep it simple, stupid” vein, we’ll settle on the late-running favorite, #1 Tidy Stripe (4-5) in the finale. The Sam Davis trainee is dropping in class off credible tries and catches a middling group in here.
- RACE 7
- SCR: None
- RACE 8
- SCR: 2
- RACE 9
- SCR: None