Laurel Park picks and ponderings June 14, 2019
Doctor Mounty held off Projected narrowly to upset the 2018 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 — $6,4,54; Super High 5 — $472
Stat of the day: Trainer Marilyn McMullen’s one turf winner at Laurel in the last five years paid $119.40
Two-year-old maidens kick off the racing week, and we’ll use #5 Evan’s Chile (5-2) in here. The Anthony Farrior trainee gave a good account of himself on debut when beaten less than a length by a 1-2 favorite… #2 Ain’t None Lucky (8-1) is a half-sister to a multiple stakes winner who’s been working well enough — including a bullet five-eighths in 1:01 on May 24 — for trainer Lacey Gaudet… The two priciest runners here are #6 Shippy (3-1), a $77,000 auction purchase, and #8 Lady Magnolia (5-1), who cost $55,000. The former is intriguing in that he’s a shipper for Penn National ace Tim Kreiser. The latter, trained by Phil Schoenthal, is a daughter of Tritap, whose progeny are winning thus far at a remarkable 23 percent clip…
A starter/optional claiming event with somewhat complicated conditions, the second is a turf sprint, and you kinda need to have #8 Amelia’s Wild Ride (2-1) on the ticket. It doesn’t show on the page, but this one has been a pretty serious runner, a multiple stakes winner who knocked heads against some terrific horses over the years (beating Ben’s Cat in the 2015 PA Governor’s Cup, defeating Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint show horse Green Mask that same year, etc. At eight, he’s not the same horse he was, but then again, he won’t have to be here. Since being reunited with trainer Jane Cibelli, who conditioned him in his best years, this one has two wins and a second in four starts, and she protects him from being claimed here…
Our top choice is #1 Down in Front (7-2, part of entry), a daughter of War Front who cost $500,000 at auction. She is out of the stakes-winning Tapit mare Goin to the Window and has been training well enough. Jevian Toledo will ride.
- RACE 1
- SCR: 4
- RACE 2
- RACE 3
- SCR: 1A
This never-won-two claimer feels like a wide-open heat, so we’re going hunting a price. The effort of #7 Strong Ties (12-1) last time out may have been better than it looks. This miss did a lot of the dirty work in the race, chasing a very fast pace — she was six lengths clear of the rest of the field after three-eighths of a mile — and had the lead inside the furlong grounds before tiring late. The horse she was chasing ended up last in the race. The late runners came and got her that day, but she was still beaten just three lengths for all the money, and she may have a chance to show her early lick to best advantage in this spot. But this isn’t a spot to go narrow; the favorite in here (also on our ticket) is just 7-2. That’s #9 Jagger Baby, who ran second in Strong Ties’s last race.
His recent form is nothing to crow about, but #6 Concordia’s Way (2-1) has much better efforts to run back to. Trainer Hugh McMahon can’t be too thrilled with how this claim is working out, but he’s given this runner a two-plus-month break and drops him in class here; that’s a move with which McMahon is 4-for-11 in recent years. Also notable here is #1 Baseballnbourbon (7-2), who loves this 5 1/2-furlong trip (7:2-1-3 record).
Former trainer Charlton Baker tried twice to get #5 Silencia (5-1) on the turf without success. It looks like new trainer Lynn Ashby will succeed in that respect today, and this one’s breeding says the turf should hit her right between the eyes. It’s a pretty nondescript group, so if she moves forward at all on the turf, that would put her right in the mix.
- RACE 4
- RACE 5
- RACE 6
The favorite in this allowance contest is #2 Hell of Afire (2-1), and she certainly could win; her speed figs stack up nicely versus these, and there’s no killer in the group. But she’s also a six-year-old mare hunting a first allowance win and has lost at this level repeatedly. That makes it tough to accept short odds, so we’ll aim for slightly longer odds in the form of #4 Scatrattleandroll (5-2). This improving Kelly Rubley trainee was second last out at Delaware and may find the one-turn mile on offer at Laurel to her liking.
In this evenly matched group of nickel lifetime claimers, we’ll use #5 Iron Lion (6-1) on top. That last was his first try in the Claudio Gonzalez barn, and while the speed fig isn’t much, note how it was achieved. He was up close early, began to fade — as he had done frequently before — but then re-rallied to take third, beaten less than two lengths. Stretching out to the distance at which he posted his only win and dropping a half-step in claiming price, look for him to take a step forward here.
There ought to be value in this one-mile turf starter, as the favorite is #8 Nate’s Tizzy (7-2), who has been third against similar in his last two starts. We’ll try to beat him with a couple of horses who arrive from different directions. #5 Minister’s Strike (4-1) has won a pair of races since Jamie Ness claimed him, winning while moving up the ladder, and he should fit versus these. And #4 Southside Warrior (10-1) arrives from the opposite direction: a class-dropper in search of a field he can handle for trainer Mike Trombetta. His last on turf was poor, but he has competitive races in his background.
The favorite, #1 Electro (5-2), looks solid in the finale after a tough-luck runner-up try against similar last time out, and that’s your most likely winner. A longer shot worth having on the ticket is #10 High Society (8-1). The Marilyn McMullen trainee didn’t run a bad one last out when third (at 24-1) against open $12,500 claimers. He has a terrible overall record (2-for-41), but his ledger on the lawn is more respectable, and he certainly ought to appreciate dropping into lifetime claiming company here. Plus – for good measure – McMullen has a positive ROI the last five years at Laurel.
- RACE 7
- SCR: 3
- RACE 8
- SCR: 2, 7
- RACE 9
- RACE 10
- SCR: 5