Laurel Park picks and ponderings June 7, 2019
Doctor Mounty held off Projected narrowly to upset the G3 BWI Turf Cup at Laurel Park. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
by Frank Vespe
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 1:10 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Pick 6 — $3,466
Stat of the day: Two of today’s favorites haven’t raced in more than a year, and a third has been off since last July.
Two-year-old maiden claimers kick off the weekend racing with a five-furlong sprint, and we’ll use a horse who probably will get bet down from her morning line on top. #4 Gauzy (4-1) got a nice education in her debut; she broke slowly, was three and four wide on the turn, took some dirt in her face, ran on the wrong lead in the lane — all the kinds of things young horses do wrong. For all that, she ran on willingly to be fourth and beaten just three lengths. She drops a step off that debut, and any improvement at all would probably make her too much for these. Her top rival here looks to be the Anthony Farrior trainee #10 Naughty Thoughts (7-2), who was second last time out at this level.
Let’s be honest: if #9 Eleven It Is (8-5) is right, he wins here. The Smart Strike gelding ran perfectly credible races as a three-year-old against maiden special weight rivals and now dips down into the claiming ranks. Trainer Jack Fisher has been very successful over jumps, and he knows how to get a horse ready to run off a layoff. But that’s the question: this one hasn’t run since September 2017 and here is plummeting three levels. I’d have him on the ticket, but it’s hard to be enthusiastic about a horse who might be even money when all is said and done on a three-level drop off a 21-month layoff. So we’ll try to beat him, and in this modest group, #12 Zaptuit (20-1), who has turf tries that compete at this level, looks as likely as any.
The 9-5 favorite in this claiming event is #3 Regal Quality, a horse who trainer Linda Rice appears to be begging someone to claim from her. A $40,000 claim last November, he’s run at the following levels since: $62,000, $40,000, $14,000, $8,000, and now a nickel. He certainly can win here and ought to be on the ticket. But note that her go-to local rider, Horacio Karamanos, jumps ship to land on #6 In Him With Him (5-2). That raises some questions and points us in a different direction, to #5 We Made It (7-2), who is trained by Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon, who’s been winning at a 25 percent clip the last 90 days with — get this — a $3.11 ROI (meaning that for each $2 win wager you make on his runners, they’ve been returning $3.11).
- RACE 1
- SCR: 1, 6
- RACE 2
- SCR: 13, 14
- RACE 3
- SCR: None
More maiden claiming juveniles here, these at the $25,000 level, and let’s look for an upset with #9 Promising Pistol (5-1). This one had his head turned when the gates opened in his debut, broke awkwardly and caused his rider to lose his irons briefly, and by the time the rider recovered, they were a mile behind the field. He showed a bit of late interest after that and takes a two-level drop here to the $25,000 level, and rider Victor Carrasco remains aboard. A cleaner break could make all the difference here.
A bunch of these runners figure to be pushing forward in the early going, with several having done their best work on the lead or pressing the pace. That points you in the direction of a horse who can settle mid-flight and run them down late, a runner like #7 Jumping Michelle (7-2). The Claudio Gonzalez trainee has kept generally better company than these and last out, when racing against similar, closed nicely to be second while well clear of the rest. Gonzalez has handled this runner like he sees more in her, and that, coupled with the favorable pace scenario, ought to be enough to take down this group.
The scratch of #1a Misericordia (2-1), who is stakes-bound this weekend at Monmouth, opens this turf sprint up quite a bit. We’re going to use #2 Dare to Be (5-1) on top; she didn’t run a bad race last out when seventh in The Very One at Pimlico after she had a bad start and found herself well wide on the course rounding the turn. That gives her the edge over #3 Souper Echo (9-2), who finished just ahead of her but with a cleaner trip. We’ll also include the other part of the entry here, #1 Boos (2-1), who hasn’t run since last August but kept the right sort of company prior.
- RACE 4
- SCR: 3, 4, 8
- RACE 5
- SCR: None
- RACE 6
- SCR: 1a
A pretty tepid group is slated to line up in this $8,000 claiming event, and we’ll use — gotta admit, somewhat unenthusiastically — the class-dropping favorite, #7 Zip Van Winkle (6-5). His last was poor, but any of his several previous starts would make him a winner here.
It’s maidens going long on the turf in the eighth, and it’s the kind of group where it’s easier to rule horses out than rule them in on your ticket. We settled on #12 Planned (8-1); the Donna Lockard trainee didn’t run a terrible race on debut, drops a step here, and gets added ground, which he’s bred to prefer. Three runners from his debut graduated next time out, and while Lockard is 0-for-7 with second-time starters, four of those runners finished in the money. Jorge Ruiz gets the call. The favorite, who also needs to be on the ticket, is the class-plummeting #10 Tachyon (9-5), who competed against much better — but hasn’t run since last July and drops all the way from maiden specials to this $16,000 event here. Also worth a gander is #3 Mike the Tiger (10-1), who hasn’t shown much on the main track but who is a half to grassy stakes winner Eyeplayeveryday.
What a good allowance contest this one is. A couple of these are making their second starts after winning at first asking, and others have run well. We’ll take #1 Pepper Sprout (5-2) on top; this one was super-impressive in winning at first asking after a rough beginning, cruising past the leaders when she finally got running room. Plus, that was at a mile, so coming right back at the distance should be no problem at all. Another who impressed on debut was #3 Ode to Joy (9-2), who was tons the best after a rough start in a 5 1/2-furlong test. Two of three to run back on turf from that outing have won, and she shifts into the Arnaud Delacour barn here. One other runner worth a glance is #9 Alexa Rose (6-1), who makes her first start in the US for trainer Kelly Rubley. Her lone turf try among four starts in England was a decent third in her debut after a rough beginning.
In this $12,500 claiming turf sprint, we’re thinking that #2 Market Money (3-1) is just going to be too good. The Mark Reid trainee has finished in the triple in her last six turf sprints, and last time out, she was a very credible third in a $12,500 starter; the winner that day was Eye on Berlin, who’d been fourth in The Very One in her prior start. Dropped into an easier spot, she can shine here.
- RACE 7
- SCR: None
- RACE 8
- SCR: 13, 14
- RACE 9
- SCR: 5, 11, 12, 15, 16
- RACE 10
- SCR: None