Laurel Park picks and ponderings Apr. 11, 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 — $8,963; Super High 5 — $1,028
Stat of the day: Four trainer-jock combinations have combined for at least 10 wins in Maryland since the start of the year, and two of those combos are in action today. Hugh McMahon and Katie Davis lead with 14 wins and team up today with Cowboy’s Plan, our longshot of the day, in race six; and Jerry Robb and Xavier Perez are fourth with 11 wins and will team up with L L Silver in the eighth.
Maiden claimers kick off the racing week with two runners — #1 Jimmy Idontknowya (2-1) and #6 Bourbon Streak (5-2) — clearly favored. I dunno, though – both have question marks. The former hasn’t raced in two months, has made only one start this year, and though he’s dropping to his lowest level yet, is winless in 13 tries. The latter had it all his own way up front last time out, setting moderate fractions while in control, but still couldn’t seal the deal. Let’s try to beat ’em both with #4 Mice and Men (7-2). The Robin Graham trainee finds his lowest level yet in this spot and has a try or two good enough to win this race. The added ground — he’s never been beyond seven furlongs — is a bit of a question mark, so we’ll want to be sure there’s value before making the wager.
The Dale Capuano trainee #3 High Roller (2-1) is favored in this $16,000 claimer and might simply be too good for these; certainly if he runs back to his better form, he’ll win here. But his last was a disappointment, and without a ton of early speed, he’ll be looking to pass a bunch of ’em late. He’s a user, certainly, but might get bet down farther from 2-1. Likely to offer better value is #7 Belmont Ride (6-1). The Claudio Gonzalez-trained sophomore tries his elders here for the first time, arrives with a two-race win streak and the right to continued improvement, and figures to be a little bit closer to the early action than High Roller.
The favorite in this bottom-level maiden is the Mike Trombetta trainee #7 Tracy With a Y (9-5). This guy has been keeping better company than these and should find the easier group to his liking. But his best efforts have been on the lawn, and his dirt tries haven’t made much impact. Our top choice instead is #3 Salutelute (2-1); the Mike Gorham runner has been runner-up a couple of times versus similar, and we’re inclined to toss that last, as some horses just don’t take to the Parx surface. Back home, he has a chance to make amends here.
- RACE 1
- SCR: None
- RACE 2
- SCR: None
- RACE 3
- SCR: 1
Last time out, #4 Bunting (5-2) drew away smartly to break her maiden with ease. Here in this starter allowance contest, she has a chance to make it two straight and should sit a good trip behind the speed, which projects mostly to be #3 Two Sixteen (5-1).
After scratches, the controlling speed in this starter allowance going a flat mile looks to be #4 Cause He’s Western (8-1), who arrives off a win against lesser. But we don’t think he’s quite good enough to seal the deal against the likes of these and will be looking elsewhere. Two major players in here figure to be our top choice, #9 Bob’s My Uncle (9-2), who should be mid-pack early and running on late and has beaten similar in the recent past; and #7 Watch My Dust (5-2), who will be at the rear early and had been consistently churning out good races until his last. A return to form for the latter would put him right in the mix.
The deserving favorite in this Maryland-bred allowance is #3 Citi Party (3-5), who may just be too good for this group. The Mary Eppler trainee is two-for-two in her brief career, and the only real question here is soundness; the Desert Party filly has made just two starts at age four, was off three months between her debut and her second start, and has been off two months since. You certainly need to have her on your ticket. A horse we like here who is likely to offer value is #4 Cowboy’s Plan (12-1); the Hugh McMahon trainee didn’t run poorly last out when fifth (by a couple) against similar. And look at the work tab since: this miss, who’d had OK works previously, has fired three bullets (fastest of 58, fastest of 83, fastest of 20) since her last start. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything — or maybe she’s sitting on a big step forward.
- RACE 4
- SCR: None
- RACE 5
- SCR: 2, 3, 6
- RACE 6
- SCR: None
After being out for eight months, #9 Cash Exchange (6-1) returned with a middling effort against better than these, finishing sixth in a race from which all four to run back have finished in the money next out. He can improve here, and any improvement at all would put him in the mix against a pretty modest group.
Last time out #6 Lucky Leonard (8-5) ran a good one a step higher than these $16,000 maidens, finishing second, and now drops back to a level where he’s competed before. A repeat of that might be enough in this spot. Another runner to consider here is #4 L L Silver (4-1). The Jerry Robb trainee hopped at the start and broke outward in his debut, rushed up into contention while three wide, and stuck with it into the final furlong before tiring. He should be fitter here, and normal second-race improvement would make him a contender.
- RACE 7
- SCR: 1, 4
- RACE 8
- SCR: None