Laurel Park picks and ponderings Apr. 22, 2019

by Apr 22, 2019Breaking, Handicapping, Maryland, MD Racing

Something Awesome

Something Awesome ran through the snow to win the Grade 3 General George. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

by Frank Vespe

In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…

Post time: 1:10 p.m.

Carryovers: Rainbow Pick 6 — $30,729

Stat of the day: Trainer Ricardo D’Angelo has won with five of 22 starters in his brief career and — notably for bettors — has a positive ROI, returning $2.44 for each $2 win wager placed on his horses.

ANALYSIS

RACE 1

Nickel claimers kick off the Easter Monday card and the favorite in here is #6 Chocomount (5-2). The Beth Worton trainee ran a good one last out, grabbing the early lead, running a quick second quarter (23.62 seconds after a dawdling 25.14 opening quarter), and sticking around to the end for second. But this five-year-old pretty much never wins — 2-for-32 in his career, with six second-place finishes — which makes taking short odds on him a bit tough to swallow. We’ll try to beat him with #1 The Walk (4-1). The Hansen gelding had an improved effort last out when dropping down to this level and making his second start after a two-month break, and he has better efforts to run back to. The added furlong on offer here should aid his cause, too.

RACE 2

Wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see favored #8 Hip Hop (2-1) take this grassy starter race. She’s competed at (and beyond) this level and has been first or second in three of five turf sprint starts in her career. She makes her first start since November here, and recently returned Daniel Centeno will ride her for the fourth consecutive start. We’ll keep her on the ticket, but we’re aiming for an upset here with #8 Snippety (8-1). The Ed Merryman trainee has won two straight — and two of just three in her career — and will try the lawn for the first time here. The Great Notion mare is a half-sis to No Knock Raid, who won three times sprinting on the turf, so the grass should be friendly to her. She’ll need to improve, but the price should be right.

RACE 3

In his first try, #2 Creative Budgeting (8-5) didn’t run a bad one, rallying to be beaten just a couple of lengths in a maiden special weight test. He drops here in the $40,000 maiden claiming condition, but as a Maryland-bred, does not have to run for the tag. Normal second race improvement would make him tough in here; leading rider Trevor McCarthy is up. Another interesting horse in here is #3 Welling (7-2); he finished fourth on debut versus similar after running greenly through the lane and on his wrong lead most of the way. He can improve here.

PICKS

  • RACE 1
    • 1-6-7-5
    • SCR: None
  • RACE 2
    • 9-8-3-2
    • SCR: None
  • RACE 3
    • 2-3-5-6
    • SCR: None

ANALYSIS

RACE 4

It’s a pretty mixed bag of runners slated to contest this $12,500 starter on the lawn. The favorite, #7 Brickyard Kitten (5-2), spent much of last summer dominating similar rivals, but he made only one disappointing start after July. That one came in October, and he has not run since. On best he probably wins here — but will he be at his best? We’ll take a stab with the veteran #6 Double Whammy (3-1). The Mary Eppler trainee crushed starter foes last out — perhaps grateful to be back on a fast track after two subpar efforts on off going — but hasn’t run on the lawn since January ’18. He does own a grass win, though, and some of his efforts would be good enough in this company. Another runner of interest here is #1 Seeking the Sunset (3-1), making his first start since last August. He’s run figs that would fit in this group, but this is something of an odd spot for him; with only six starts (and two wins) under his belt, there are a variety of conditions still available to him.

RACE 5

Three-year-old fillies square off here going 6 1/2 furlongs, with the favorites being the class-dropping #3 Hail the Queen (9-5), who has competed against better, and the formful #1 Allison K (5-2), who’s won three straight. We’ll try to beat them with #8 Call Me Jelly Roll (3-1); she makes her first start after being claimed by Jerry Robb and last out dominated older runners when winning by three lengths. Breaking from the outside, she should be able either to grab the lead or press some other speed types to her inside.

RACE 6 

The sixth is a second-level allowance sprint on the turf, and like a lot of turf races this time of year, it brings together some confirmed grass runners who have been off since the end of last turf season and some never-tried-it types, one of whom, #7 Souper Echo (5-2), is the favorite in here. The Mike Trombetta trainee actually has tried it twice and run well enough, including posting a victory on the lawn. She arrives having stalled at this level on the dirt; she’s lost this race six times now. Our choice in here is the Susan Cooney-trained #2 Madame X. (8-1). This runner has been ambitiously spotted throughout her career and has been 40-1 or higher in four of her last nine starts. But she’s run some pretty good races in the right spots, including a win sprinting on the turf at first asking and, two starts later, a runner-up effort in the six-furlong Selima. This is her first try since October, and it looks like the kind of company with which she fits.

PICKS

  • RACE 4
    • 6-1-7-2
    • SCR: 10
  • RACE 5
    • 8-1-3-2
    • SCR: None
  • RACE 6
    • 2-5-7-6
    • SCR: None

ANALYSIS

RACE 7

Here’s a pretty wide-open $8,000 claimer for horses that haven’t won in six months. Trainer Ricardo D’Angelo makes a huge drop here, plummeting #5 Queen of Schmooze (7-2) from allowance company to this not-quite-the-bottom-but-not-far-above-it spot. She ran poorly last out going seven furlongs, but her two back try would probably win in this group. Cutting back from seven furlongs to 5 1/2 should also aid her cause, and she picks up the services of Victory Carrasco here.

RACE 8

Last time out #1 Prevailing Party (2-1) showed improved speed and drew away to win by four lengths, and the stars appear aligned for the Midnight Lute mare to repeat those feats in a group lacking other early zip. 

RACE 9

The card closes with fillies and mares going 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass in a maiden special weight test. There are a bunch of ways to go here, and in the end, we figured that 9-2 on the Linda Rice trainee #7 Forbidden Frolic seemed to offer some value. She’s a daughter of Verrazano and is a half-sis to a couple of Grade 2 winners. I’m generally suspicious of New York-based trainers shipping horses to Maryland to debut — you figure that if they liked the horse all that much, they’d stay home for the much richer purse — but Rice is 5-for-17 with a positive ROI starting horses off at Laurel in maiden special weight company. But this would be a classic race in which to spread out on the ticket; a bunch of these could jump up and win here.

PICKS

  • RACE 7 
    • 5-1-6-2
    • SCR: None
  • RACE 8
    • 1-3-2-6
    • SCR: None
  • RACE 9
    • 7-9-1-10
    • SCR: None