Laurel Park picks and ponderings May 4, 2019
by Frank Vespe
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:15 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Pick 6 — $2,572
Stat of the day: The best Beyer speed fig recorded by a two-year-old to date in 2019 is an 84 earned by Maven in a race at Aqueduct in April. The second best, an 82, belongs to Lebda, who was second in that race and is the favorite in the first here today.
Let’s be pretty clear: if the Beyer speed fig of 82 that #3 Lebda (3-5) received in his debut is approximately correct, and he runs back to anything like that form, he wins here. But we’re not quite sold; that’s an awfully big fig to lose a two-year-old race in April, and since none of the six who contested that event has returned, we have nothing to compare it to. So… at those very short odds, we’ll try to beat him, and the logical horse to try it with is #6 Quad Eights (3-1). The Jerry Robb trainee finished a good second in his debut in a race that’s now produced two next-out winners, including the victor, Rookie Salsa, who won a stake at Churchill Downs on Thursday.
Since Linda Rice claimed him four back, #2 Regal Quality (3-1) has shown anything but regal quality, having been drubbed three straight. Let’s give him one more crack to get it together; Rice ships him down to Laurel, where she’s had great success, and puts go-to pilot Horacio Karamanos aboard. A return to earlier form would make him too good for these. If not, look for the favorite #1 Rouxhere (2-1) to post a second-straight win on the front end.
Certainly #3 Whateveryouwant (3-5) looks tough here, having won three straight with strong figs and projecting to be the main speed. But here’s a thought: suppose trainer Jose Corrales decides to send first-off-the-claim #2 Parade of Nations (15-1) hard to the lead to make Whateveryouwant work for it. Then what? Then Corrales’ other trainee, #7 Correjon (5-1), who chased and faded against the favorite here last out, is sitting in a perfect stalking spot, just waiting for the moment to pounce.
- RACE 1
- RACE 2
- RACE 3
It says here that second time in the Gonzalez barn should be a good thing for #3 Brenda’s G L P (5-1), whose earlier turf tries appear to fit nicely with this group. If not, Elizabeth Merryman sends out a pair in #4 Flyingontheground (3-1) and #5 Goodnight Moon (7-2), who both fit well in this group.
That was not a terrible debut for #7 Reno Grande (7-2), who got soundly bumped leaving the gate and had a bit of subsequent traffic but stuck with it to the late stages before fading to seventh. On the drop down, the Damon Dilodovico trainee can improve here. One other horse to flag is #6 Ice Rain (8-1); trainer Corby Caiazzo won a couple weeks back with a first-time starter, and this one’s dam scored at first asking.
The Jerry Robb trainee #1 Unique Humor (9-2) tries the grass for the first time here today; the Jimmy Creed filly has a half-sib who was stakes-placed on the lawn, and note that this horse was a claimback for Robb a few races back. Our take: the possibility that she could move up on the grass gives her the edge in a group where those with proven grass form have proven not to be world-beaters.
- RACE 4
- RACE 5
- RACE 6
The Jose Samaniego-trained #2 Jersey’s Kittens (4-1) had a useful return to action a couple weeks back after having been off since August. Now she gets back on the grass where she’s done her best work and catches a manageable field in this $16,000 claimer. We’re also using #6 Lady Jane (5-1); she ran competitively at this level last year, and coming off a couple of tries over jumps, she figures to be dead fit for this contest.
The obvious horses — the favorites — look to be the obvious horses in this nickel claiming race and need to be on the ticket. Looking for value? Perhaps #8 Conquistodor Fuego (12-1) can help. The Carlos Mancilla trainee finally graduated last out — in his 38th try. Maybe the light bulb went on, and he does get solid journeyman Jorge Ruiz up.
The two strongest runners in this solid Maryland-bred allowance are #5 Daddy’s Cozy (3-1) and #9 Nakamura (7-2). We give the nod to the former; the Michael Matz trainee has run very competitively against similar and didn’t run a bad one last out — in February — in his first try in six months, down at Gulfstream Park. He has the recency edge over the latter, whose most recent race was in November.
The versatile #2 Tempt Me Twice (3-1) cuts back from a route to this 5 1/2 furlong sprint. It’s not our favorite move, but this Ann Merryman trainee has made it work in the past, including a victory making this very move. He makes his second start off a seven-month break here and can improve.
Four back, #8 Roman Holiday (4-1) broke her maiden at the $25,000 level; that would make this $16,000 claiming even a pretty logical spot for her, and while the Kevin Dove trainee did fail against lesser immediately after the maiden score, that came over “good” turf at the Meadowlands. She has a couple of good-enough dirt tries in the bank already, so fitness shouldn’t be an issue. She’s not the most likely winner here — that’d be the favorite #1 Squibnocket (7-5) — but that runner was throttled by similar two back at the Fair Grounds at 20-1 odds, which makes taking the expected short price on her a little bit tough to stomach.
Nothing wrong with that debut by #5 Our Star (3-1), who rallied a bit into fourth against similar. The show horse from that race graduated in her follow-up, and normal second-race improvement could get her the money in here. In fact, trainer Chuck Lawrence might be sitting on an exacta, as he sends out debut runner #6 Zonda (2-1), a $155,000 daughter of Scat Daddy.
- RACE 7
- RACE 8
- RACE 9
- RACE 10
- RACE 11
- RACE 12