Laurel Park picks and ponderings Apr. 18, 2019
The first baby race of the year awaits us, a 4 ½-furlong dash with seven two-year-old fillies set to go after a couple of scratches. We landed on the Phil Schoenthal trainee #1 Determined Love (9-2), a daughter of Shackleford who is a half-sister to a stakes-placed runner — but in this wide open event, your mileage may vary.
A pretty evenly matched group of starter types will go a mile in this event, and four of the six are between 2-1 and 7-2. We landed on #6 Uno Dancer (2-1), who likes this one-turn mile trip and might sit a good journey here stalking the early types. Two of three to run back from his last have finished in the exacta next out.
Nickel starters are set to go six furlongs here, and #1 Whateveryouwant (3-5) looks to be a handful. The Juan Vazquez trainee, who’s wheeling back on short rest, has recorded three straight Beyer figs above 90, which would be sufficient in this group, and, breaking from the rail, he looks to be the main speed in this group. Looking for an upset? Worth noting that #3 Correjon (9-2) beat him five races back (after sitting a pretty ideal trip) and that Jeremiah Englehart, trainer of #4 Guick (10-1), who ran credibly last out against $8,000 starters, is 32 percent second off the claim.
- RACE 1
- SCR: 2, 8
- RACE 2
- SCR: 3
- RACE 3
- SCR: 5
The first grass race of 2019 arrives with $16,000 never-won-two claimers going 5 ½ furlongs, and this could fairly be described as a tricky handicapping proposition. We’ll take a bit of a shot with #8 You Made It (8-1). The Congrats filly has yet to try the grass in her brief, five-race career, but figures to like it; her dam, Heaven Knows What (by Holy Bull), was a two-time stake winner on the green stuff. She’s been pretty much just a horse on the dirt, but she can improve here, and any improvement puts her in range of a race in which the morning line favorite, #6 Gateau St Honore (9-2), is winless in five turf tries.
That was a perfectly reasonable debut for #6 Makewayforjerry (5-2) last out when beaten two lengths in maiden special weight company. He drops a step here, and while it’s no easy spot, certainly owns the right to improve. Plus, he attracts the services of leading local rider Trevor McCarthy, which has to help. His main competition here figures to be the Tim Keefe-trained favorite, #7 Tom Hagen (7-5), who just missed against maiden allowance foes last out.
In her first two tries on the lawn, #6 Introduced (1-2) ran bang-up races, finishing second to Concrete Rose, who turned around to win the G2 Jessamine next out, and to Regal Glory in the Stewart Manor, and that runner has subsequently been second in two graded events. She won’t see any like those in this spot, and though the odds are daunting, she figures tough in here. If you don’t like her, you can more or less take your pick of the rest. Jevian Toledo will ride.
- RACE 4
- RACE 5
- SCR: 1
- RACE 6
Nickel claimers are on tap in the seventh, with a 7-2 favorite in the form of #7 Parade of Nations. The Kieron Magee trainee is dropping from much better company and making his third start off a layoff. If he can get back to his form from last year, he’ll win here. But his last three are subpar, and so we’ll see if we can beat him with #5 Easy River (5-1), whose two-back try against similar was pretty good and came with a trouble line. Cutting back in distance from his last, and finding a bit of an easier group, should help.
Maidens going a route of ground on the turf close the card, and it’s an interesting group of runners, with a couple of firsters, a couple who’ve run well without winning, and our top choice, the British-bred #8 Written Word (5-2), making her first start for trainer Graham Motion and first in North America after some OK, but non-winning, tries in Ireland. Some other notables include #4 Multitude (4-1), the Linda Rice-trained firster, and Rice is 8-for-22 with first-time starters at Laurel; and the Eddie Graham trainee #3 Pepper Pot (7-2), who just missed last out, in October, against similar and whose trainer is 8-for-34 off long layoffs.
- RACE 7
- SCR: None
- RACE 8
- SCR: 5