Laurel Park picks and ponderings Apr. 26, 2019
Bottom-level maidens kick off the Friday card, and if one of these is going to wire the field, it’s most likely #1 Once More Eh (5-2). The Charlie Frock trainee has shown speed and faltered in prior tries, but just missed at this level and distance a few races back. Trevor McCarthy in the irons figures to want to get this one going early, though he figures to take pressure from #4 Belmonte (4-1), who likewise showed speed and faltered last out and here is making his first start for Marco Salazar. If they heat up the pace, just about the only runner here who’s shown he can pass horses is #7 Perfect Heir (3-1), who rallied from seventh to be a well-beaten second versus similar last out.
Maiden claimers sprint on the grass in this one, and we’ll take a swing with the class-dropping #4 Joan Clarke (10-1). The Tres Abbott trainee showed zippy in her debut against maiden special weight rivals — but that was a year ago. She’s been training well enough towards her return here, should catch a much easier group — the winner of her debut subsequently won a stake — and gets Lasix for the first time. Jorge Vargas, Jr. will ride. The tepid morning line favorite is #3 Silver Sides (7-2), who also merits consideration. She was a claimback for trainer Mike Geralis two starts ago, has run well enough to contend here on the main track, and has just enough turf in her background to be interesting.
Chalk time, as trainer Claudio Gonzalez looks to get out on #6 Shecor (7-5). This one faced open $16,000 claimers last time out and now drops to the bottom — beaten nickel claimers — in this spot. She’s not much of a horse, but she won’t have to be to score in here. But we gotta say — we were sorely tempted to go with #5 Cocktail Waitress (2-1), who projects to be the main speed in here.
- RACE 1
- SCR: None
- RACE 2
- SCR: 10, 16
- RACE 3
- SCR: 1
Back to the turf for never-won-two claiming horses, and we settled on the chalk in here with #9 Electro (2-1). The Trombetta barn is red-hot right now, and this runner hasn’t run terribly against similar at Gulfstream and here catches a field that appears pretty manageable. One longshot that might merit some consideration is #6 Escrow Finnidilly (15-1); he’ll try turf for the first time in here and might just like it, as one of his sibs won five times on the green.
This one’s a wide-open starter on the turf. #5 Cabinet Pik (9-2) enters off a couple of tries that would be good enough to get the job done in here down at Gulfstream. A couple of longer shots that will appear on our ticket include #7 He’ll Do (10-1); the Tom Proctor trainee showed early promise, and while his last race was unsightly, he’s been working fast towards this event, and a return to earlier form would be a positive step. And #10 Vincent Van Gogo (12-1) makes his second start off a lengthy layoff for Lacey Gaudet and has some decent turf tries to return to.
This one is a motley crew of $10,000 maidens sprinting on the main track, and pretty much by process of elimination, we ended up on the first-time starter #6 Lucy I’m Home (7-2). She has the benefit of having not yet proven herself incapable of winning, and trainer Jerry Robb is at about 14 percent (4-for-29) debuting runners in maiden claiming company. He’ll leg up go-to rider Xavier Perez.
- RACE 4
- SCR: 2, 11, 12
- RACE 5
- SCR: None
- RACE 6
- SCR: None
Here’s another handicapping challenge, a first-level allowance going one mile on the turf. In a race with a 4-1 favorite (#8 Tempt Me Twice), we’ll try to spring a minor upset with #9 Done Acting (6-1). The Hugh McMahon trainee probably is a cut below the best in here overall, but he has competed at this level on the grass, and unlike, say, the favorite, he’s not returning from a long layoff. In fact, he ran third in a main-track race in the middle of March, so he ought to have a bit of a fitness edge on some of these. Among the others, #3 Positivist (10-1) is a Quality Road gelding making his first turf try and has sibs who have won on the turf, and #10 Family Tree (9-2) ran just OK in a couple of turf tries at Tampa but has since been gelded.
Here’s an interesting stat: trainer Katy Voss is 4-for-12 with maidens making their second career start. Such is the case with #4 Saltworks (5-1), a half-sis to superstar Cathryn Sophia. This one didn’t run poorly in defeat in her debut, finishing third after a wide journey. The winner that day was Blameitonthekiss, who had finished ahead of the favorite here, #2 Jump for Sally (3-1), by a similar margin previously. And curiously enough, though trainer Graham Motion is often noted for his work with turf runners, at least with first-start maidens, he’s better on dirt (15 percent with first-start maidens receiving Lasix sprinting on the dirt). That all makes #1 Hot Choice (9-2) a user in this spot; she’s a Friesan Fire filly who’s a half to the $500,000 earner Digger.
Maiden claimers on the turf finish up the card, and we’ll grab #7 Kitten’s Friend (4-1), whose prior turf tries compete with these. The firster #15 Two Step Sis (5-1) is also a little interesting — trainer Cal Lynch has a strong record with debut runners — but will have to work out a trip from the far outside.
- RACE 7
- SCR: 7
- RACE 8
- SCR: None
- RACE 9
- SCR: 8, 16