Laurel Park picks and ponderings May 2, 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 — $1,517
Stat of the day: Six of the seven runners in race one are trained by a Salzman. No, seriously.
If you’re thinking the first race has the feel of an intrasquad scrimmage, you’re right. After scratches, six of the seven runners are trained by a Salzman: Two by John, Sr., two by John, Jr. and two by Tim. One of the Junior horses, #5 Forfiftyfiverocket (6-1) ran a better-than-it-looks race on debut after bumping repeatedly with another horse leaving the gate. That effort was flattered yesterday when winner Rookie Salsa scored a big upset in the Kentucky Juvenile at Churchill Downs. Also notable in here: trainer Anthony Farrior had two entered but scratched one, leaving just #4 Side Car (3-1), who makes his debut after some OK morning works.
The Derby-bound duo of trainer Mike Trombetta and rider Julian Pimentel have a runner in this $16,000 claiming event in the form of #4 Star Hawk (5-2). This one was tons the best last out to graduate and catches a modest group here for his first try against winners. A bit of a puzzle here is: where’s the speed coming from? There’s not much of it, and one possible source is #5 Mr. Chesapeakcity (6-1), whose last two, one on the turf, aren’t much to look at but who here drops in class and has shown speed in prior races.
The Bourbon Courage filly #5 Punk Rock Princess (3-1) didn’t run badly in her debut, rallying from far out of it to be second while never a threat to the ultra-speedy winner, Twirling Owen. The Jerry O’Dwyer trainee figures to be tough in here. We also kinda like #7 Gandhi’s Castle (15-1). She’s a half-sister to Vic’s Pick, the Charles Town-based runner who’s now four-for-five with a stakes win; her trainer, Michael Sterling, is three-for-four with debut runners.
- RACE 1
- SCR: 3, 6, 8
- RACE 2
- SCR: None
- RACE 3
- SCR: 2, 4, 6
Trainer Jeremiah Englehart is nine-for-48 with runners debuting in maiden claiming company, like #3 Mrs Robin E (3-1), who’s been training decently here at Laurel for the last month or so. In this modest group, that’s enough to get her the nod.
The Mike Dini trainee #8 Quarky (3-1) has run well on turf, winning a maiden special weight race at Tampa Bay before finishing fourth against starter/optional claimers at Gulfstream. We’re not too worried about the latter effort, which in any case wasn’t bad but also came going 7 1/2 furlongs. Cutting back and getting blinks on today, this one by The Factor could be tough. He’ll have to contend with the favorite in here, #7 No Regrets (2-1), who has run competitively against better. And don’t sleep on #5 Stroll Smokin (6-1); he’s only been on the lawn once but what a good effort. He ran a near-miss second in the ’17 Laurel Futurity, which was won by Therapist, who now has six stake wins and over $440,000 in earnings.
A really nice Maryland-bred allowance is on tap here, and a couple of runners making their seasonal debuts — and who have already won an open allowance race — figure best. #4 More Abundance (3-1) makes his first start for trainer Lucia Garibay and has been in the money in four of five on the lawn, including an allownace win last August. And #5 Jarvis Steel (7-2) facing better company without notable success, though he did finish a decent third three back behind Dirty, who last out set a Laurel course record in winning the King T. Leatherbury Stakes on the lawn. If you’re more inclined to take a runner who’s made a start this year but still has credible turf form, two that fit the bill are #9 Daystrike (8-1) and #11 Godlovesasinner (15-1).
- RACE 4
- SCR: None
- RACE 5
- RACE 6
- SCR: 12
We’ll go bombs away! in the eighth with #4 Greely Is Back (15-1). The seven-year-old will need his running shoes on, for sure, but it’s his first start for trainer Kieron Magee, he has better efforts in the not-so-distant past, and he’ll get top rider Trevor McCarthy up here. The favorite in here is #5 Cobh (2-1), who needs to be on the ticket on the drop down in class, as well.
Time flies by, and before you know it, #11 Time Flies By (1-1) is four years old and still a maiden after eight career starts. He’ll drop into maiden claiming company here for the first time, makes his third start off a three-month break, and ought to be tough to beat in a field that’s not overwhelming.
Another tough Maryland-bred allowance, this one on the main track, is race nine. This is a race that looks to have some early zip to it, which might set it up for mid-pack runners, such as #2 Thatwouldbegrand (4-1). This one has kept decent company and last out rallied nicely to just miss in his first try against older runners. This will be his second start after being away for most of three months, though it is notable that Jevian Toledo, who had ridden him three straight, jumps ship for #1 Torch of Truth (7-2), who has been first or second four straight. Both should be on your ticket, and we’ll look to split them with the speedy #3 Great Herman (8-1), who it seems we’re going to keep betting until our fingers fall off.
Trainer Jerry Thurston’s patience with #1 El Rojo (7-2) seems to have expired, and this one shows up at the bottom level today on a multi-step drop in class. A return to earlier form should be good enough, though several of these appear to be good enough to score at this level.
- RACE 7
- SCR: 1, 3, 8
- RACE 8
- RACE 9
- SCR: None
- RACE 10
- SCR: None