Laurel Park picks and ponderings Apr. 25, 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 — $38,488; Super High 5 — $1,137
Stat of the day: The sixth race allowance contest includes three horses that are stakes winners.
Might have been a better-than-it-looked debut for #1 Fernwood Drive (3-1) last out, as he made the lead through wicked early fractions and stuck with it to the furlong grounds before emptying out. Dropped into an easier spot and making his second career start, he can move forward here.
We’ve seen #5 Port Louis (8-5) run good races on the lead and closing, and he likes the six-furlong distance he’ll cover today in this beaten nickel event. His top competition here may be from #4 Top Hat Ragtop (4-1), who’s making fairly short work of his conditions with two wins in seven starts.
Maiden claimers will sprint on the grass in this one, and we’ll try to juice the early pick 5 with #7 Senor Seville (8-1). The Ann Merryman trainee has made two not-terrible starts to date, both on the main track, and here will make his first start since late January. It’ll also be his first on the lawn, but his breeding says he’ll like that; his sire, Seville, was a millionaire on the green stuff, and his siblings have a combined five turf wins. The favorite in here, #9 Lucky Leonard (2-1), has some good tries — including three runner-up finishes — on the main track and also will try turf for the first time. His dam’s only win came on the lawn.
- RACE 1
- SCR: None
- RACE 2
- SCR: None
- RACE 3
- SCR: None
A whole bunch of runners are slated to contest this $10,000 maiden event, and we’re thinkin’… why can’t #13 Quit Your Moanin (5-1) win it? The Ham Smith trainee ran a couple of OK tries at Mountaineer last summer but has been off since. He drops to the bottom here and has spent the early part of 2019 getting legged up at Smith’s brother’s Elloree training center. A repeat of his earlier efforts should be fine in this spot.
Two really good races in a row here with the fifth — a second-level allowance — and the sixth, a three-other-than. In this one, we’ll take #6 Triple Burner (3-1), wheeling back on short rest. He didn’t run a terrible race — beaten six lengths — at 50-1 odds last weekend in the King T. Leatherbury Stakes, and any improvement in this spot would put him right there. It’s a pretty wide-open spot, though, and it’s worth looking at horses like #1 Uncle Youdge (7-2), who ran really well previously for trainer Hugh McMahon, who claimed him out of his last; and #4 Robey’s Boy (10-1), who keeps churning out good races at long odds.
This third-level allowance has drawn a fabulous field to go seven furlongs; you could easily make a case for six of these. We settled on the speedy #8 Stoney Bennett (5-1). The Linda Rice trainee grabbed the early lead and just held on last out going a mile and might be staring at a similar scenario in this one. But this is a race you’ll want to spread out; #6 Struth (9-2) had a really positive return to action last month in the Not for Love Stakes and can improve here in his second off a year break; #9 Two Charley’s (6-1) is in really good form right now; and #1 Cordmaker (7-2) enters off a win in the Harrison Johnson, albeit at a two-turn distance.
- RACE 4
- SCR: 5, 7, 14, 15
- RACE 5
- SCR: 7, 8
- RACE 6
- SCR: 2, 5
Trainer Eddie Graham has a good record bringing horses back off long layoffs, and if he can work his magic with #3 Shrew Meaning (5-2), he’ll send out the winner of this $16,000 claiming event. If not? Then a horse like #2 Soldat House (6-1) or #7 Congratstomywife (10-1) could jump up and grab the upset.
Maiden claimers on the turf here in race eight, and we’ll take a minor shot with #7 Gran City (5-1). The City Zip gelding’s dirt tries aren’t bad — certainly competitive with these — and while his sibs are 0-for-14 on the turf, their speed figs on grass are about equal to their dirt figs. Plus trainer Raul Garrido attracts the services of leading rider Trevor McCarthy and pulls off the blinks here.
Starter types finish the card going 1 1/16 miles, and we landed on #2 Lucid Dream (7-2). Trainer Linda Rice claimed this one two back for $30,000, dropped it in for $16,000 — and a 10-length win — last out, and here moves up the ladder while protecting him from getting claimed. Rice’s go-to Laurel pilot, Horacio Karamanos, is up.
- RACE 7
- SCR: 11
- RACE 8
- SCR: 9
- RACE 9
- SCR: None