Laurel Park picks and ponderings May 3, 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; Super High 5 — $1,251
Stat of the day: Horses breaking from the one-hole have won 7 of the 10 1 1/16-mile races contested at Laurel Park this year. Races 2 and 9 are at that distance today.
We’ll take a swing in the maiden claimer that opens the Laurel Park card; it’s a middling group of runners in which no horse has earned a Beyer speed fig above 46, and the horse that has that — #2 Queens Or Better (5-1) — has lost repeatedly at and below this $16,000 level. We’ll give a shot to #3 Millie Child (10-1). Trainer Katy Voss is 2-for-8 — with six in-the-money — debuting horses in maiden claiming company, and she’ll leg up go-to rider Jevian Toledo on a Freedom Child filly that has plenty of works in the bank in preparation for this.
A bit of an oddball condition here in race 2 — a starter for horses that have run for a $16,000 tag in their last three, or open $25,000 claiming — and we’ll put #5 Blame the Kids (7-2) on top. We always thought the kids are alright, but nevertheless — this Kieron Magee trainee drops in for the tag here after keeping some pretty good company, has had trouble lines in his last couple and might sit a good trip with speedy types #1 Run for James (9-5), #4 Never Nevermore (7-2), and the stretching-out sprinter #6 Sir Orinoco (3-1) providing the target up front.
The Claudio Gonzalez trainee #1 Cool Alley (5-2) won by a pole two back against bottom-level maidens. He found the going a little rough last out in his first try against winners and here drops into a better spot. He’ll get Katie Dvis in the irons, and look for that duo to flash early foot. A horse we’re very curious about — and including on the ticket — is #7 Zira (7-2). Trainer Dale Capuano claimed this miss for $32,000 last time out, when she ran poorly and was eased. He’s waited six weeks to bring her back, which he does here at one-half the claiming price. Clearance sale, or stealing a march on the opposition? We’ll find out this afternoon.
- RACE 1
- SCR: None
- RACE 2
- SCR: None
- RACE 3
- SCR: None
In this $8,000 claimer, we’re thinking that #8 Cause He’s Western (7-2) may be the controlling speed. He breaks from a congenial spot outside other potential speed rivals, and on the drop down — off a credible try against better — can be tough in here. We’re also thinking it’s worth keeping an eye on #3 Chinnici (12-1); the Hugh McMahon trainee has much better form to run back to.
An awfully rugged group is set to contest this third-level allowance, including the millionaire #2 Force the Pass (3-1), Grade 3 winner #6 Ghost Hunter (7-2), and local fave #3 John Jones (5-1). All could be formidable here, but we’ll try to beat them with #5 Twenty Four Seven (9-2). The son of City Zip will make his first start in the Jamie Ness barn, has kept pretty good company, and will get local leader Trevor McCarthy up. He’ll need a pace to materialize here, but with John Jones and #4 Super Dude (6-1) in the mix, that could well happen.
It’s $40,000 maidens sprinting on the turf in this one, and we’re thinking this race runs through #3 English Heiress (3-1). The Robbie Bailes trainee ran well last out when third in maiden special weight company and drops to what should be an easier spot in here. A first-time starter worth a gander is the Lynn Ashby trainee #5 Trois Ponts (10-1); the daughter of Seville is a half-sis to Vielsalm, who was graded stakes-placed in a career that saw her earn over $300,000.
- RACE 4
- SCR: 6, 7, 9
- RACE 5
- SCR: None
- RACE 6
Trainer Mike Trombetta has generally handled #4 Questionoftheday (9-2) like she’s a good horse, though the results to date have been mixed; she’s run in six stakes in her nine-race career, including the Grade 3 Matron at Belmont Park. But in her three non-stakes tries, she has two wins and a second, and that second last time out might be better than it looks, as winner Citi Party went off at 1-5 and is now 3-for-3 in her career, the wins by a combined 18 lengths. Her main challenge will be overcoming the favorite, #7 Last Love (5-2), who has won two straight for trainer Bill Komlo.
In a race absolutely filled with question marks, let’s see if we can get a 5-1 shot home in the form of #3 Seville Barber (5-1). Trainer Tim Woolley has had a productive season thus far, and while this one hasn’t shown a huge amount in two career starts, he could move forward here. His dam won three races on the turf, and this will be his first time on the green stuff; he’s also been gelded and may improve off the five-month layoff.
We’ll eat the chalk in this one with #7 Hashtag Selfie (9-5). The Claudio Gonzalez trainee has shown the ability to lead or press the pace, fits with these on class, owns three wins at the trip, and ought to be able to work out a trip. It’s that last point that causes the most concern; horses breaking outside the five-hole are a combined 0-for-18 this year at this distance, and the short run to the first turn places a premium on the ability of jockey Carlos Carrasco to make a quick — and correct — decision. If not this runner, look to the inside to #1 Girl Drama (8-1); she also fits snugly with these, and the inside post is 7-for-10 going 1 1/16 miles.
Bottom-level maidens close the card, and we landed on #9 American Star (7-2) who finds her lowest level yet after a credible try against better. But if you want to go fishing for a longshot to blow up the toteboard, we can’t fault you for that; it’s that kind of race.
- RACE 7
- SCR: 1, 3, 8
- RACE 8
- SCR: 6
- RACE 9
- SCR: 8
- RACE 10
- SCR: None