Laurel Park picks and ponderings Apr. 19, 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 — $20,664
Stat of the day: Trainer Arnaud Delacour makes his first Laurel Park starts of 2019 today; in the last two years, he is 40-for-125 (32%) at the track.
Baby race number 2 arrives here, a 4 1/2-furlong dash for two-year-olds. Yesterday the Anthony Farrior trainee Twirling Owen dominated her field of fillies, running away to win by six lengths in fast time. Another Farrior-trained runner, who may have been working with Twirling Owen — and has been working as well as she was — is #1 Malibu Moonstruck (4-1). The Bodemeister colt is showing a couple of zippy three-eighths works on the page and will have Jevian Toledo up; he rode Twirling Owen, as well.
The second is a $25,000 claimer going a route of ground on the turf, and the favorite in here is #4 Tricked Up (5-2). When last seen on the grass — last October — this one was beating $50,000 claimers at Belmont, rallying from the rear to win at long odds. He hasn’t raced this year, though, and hasn’t run all that well off prior breaks, and you kinda imagine that if trainer Rudy Rodriguez were especially happy with him, he’d find a bit more ambitious spot. So we’ll try to beat him with a couple of these. #1 Roman Approval (9-2) has kept generally better company than this on the turf — including a couple of tries in graded company last year — projects to be controlling speed here, and gets leading rider Trevor McCarthy up. And let’s not hold that last race too strongly against #2 Dattt Melody (7-2); the Mike Gorham trainee was a major longshot and was basically eased from the quarter-pole on home. He can get back to better form here and likes this 1 1/16-mile trip.
This is a not-especially good group of starter allowance types going a mile on the main track, and we’ll eat the chalk with #5 Hashtag Selfie (7-5), who makes her third start off a break, has two wins at the trip, should appreciate a bit of class relief here, and comes out of a race from which the only horse to run back won next out.
- RACE 1
- SCR: 6
- RACE 2
- RACE 3
- SCR: None
Buried four races back is the lone turf try for #1 You Can Never Tell (4-1). The Mike Trombetta trainee ran seventh that day, well beaten at long odds. But that was against allowance company, and a pretty good group at that; the top pair in there were miles better than anything he’ll see here. After being away a couple of months, this one returned with a useful third-place try at CT, and he gets Trombetta’s go-to rider, Julian Pimentel, in the irons. But keep in mind, these turf races at the beginning of the season are tricky, bringing together runners who’ve never tried the grass, horses returning from layoffs, and others with indecipherable form; don’t be afraid to spread out.
There was nothing wrong with that debut turf try for #5 Scoreswhenhewants (9-2). The Arnaud Delacour trainee was bounced around leaving the gate, had a difficult opening sixteenth and dropped to the rear of the field, but then mounted a willing rally while four wide to earn the place. No reason he can’t improve off that, and Delacour will leg up go-to rider Daniel Centeno here (31 percent together). The favorite in this spot is #9 Candy Store (2-1), whohas run competitvely on the main track and here tries the turf for the first time: a surface on which his dam was 0-for-8.
In this starter allowance, our top choice, #3 Last Love (2-1), graduated last out versus maiden special weight foes, and one of two to run back from that race has won. The Bill Komlo-trained Not for Love filly has shown the ability to run good races on the lead or stalking the pace, and in a race without much early zip, that should stand her in good stead. All that gives her the nod over the favorite, #2 Toma (8-5), who’s run competitive races at this level but enters off a two-month break and may want a bit more ground than is on offer in this six-furlong test.
- RACE 4
- SCR: 7, 9, 10, 16
- RACE 5
- SCR: 2
- RACE 6
- SCR: 1
This three-other-than turf sprint looked to run through Misericordia, but with her scratch, it opens the race up considerably. We’re aiming for an upset here with #6 Hailey’s Flip (8-1). The Gary Capuano trainee is in decent form now and won at this level, albeit on the main track, three races back, in early February. Her lone turf try wasn’t good, but it was at a route distance; she’s done her best work on the dirt sprinting, and her dam won an allowance at Saratoga going 5 1/2 on the green. If not her, the most likely winner is the Rodney Jenkins trainee #8 Dare to Be (5-2), who has run some really good races on the lawn but is making her first start since October — and just third since September 2017 here.
The formful #8 Sarah’s Treasure (7-2) enters with wins in two of her last four starts and loves this one-mile trip (5:2-1-2). With Katie Davis up and breaking from the outside, she’ll have a chance to grab the early lead or sit right off it if one of the inside runners guns for it. Two others worth a look at a bit of a price are #4 Magically Discreet, who’ll get leading jockey Trevor McCarthy up after competitive tries at this level; and #6 Quargent (6-1), who followed the winner home while four wide in a game effort last out at Tampa.
With rain predicted later this afternoon, everyone — turf horses, dirt horses, also-eligibles — is staying in this maiden claimer on the lawn for the time being. We’ll ‘cap it on the assumption it stays on the grass, which leads us to #4 Burak (7-2). The Eddie Graham trainee made just two disastrous starts in 2018, though both were on the main track. Prior, he ran three times on the grass in ’17, and all three were credible efforts against much, much better: maiden special weight runners at Belmont and Aqueduct, including several subsequently stakes-placed. A return to that form would win here, and Graham can get a horse ready off the bench. One longshot we think is worth a ponder is #9 A Little Info (20-1). The Marsh Side filly’s lone prior turf try was a third-place finish at Delaware; the runner-up from that race, Suba Lou, returned to beat $50,000 maiden claimers at Belmont in her follow-up. Can this one move forward enough to jump into contention? At 20-1, it might be worth a couple bucks to find out.
- RACE 7
- SCR: 2
- RACE 8
- SCR: None
- RACE 9