Laurel Park picks and ponderings June 22, 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 — $14,984; Super High 5 — None; Late Pick 5 — None
Stat of the day: Jockey Xavier Perez leads all riders at the meet with six wins on the main track, and 14 of his 17 mounts on the main track have finished in the money.
The morning line favorite in this turf sprint is #5 Elusive Hero (2-1), and while he certainly could win, it’s hard to get over-excited about short odds on a horse trying the grass for the first time. Yes, two of his sibs have won on the lawn, and perhaps his dirt figs are just slightly better than his rivals’ turf numbers — but 2-1? We’ll use him underneath by try to beat him with #3 Belmonte (5-2), who ran a big one last out in his first try on the lawn, though our concern here is that he did seem to get weary late last out after opening a big lead and here will have to last an additional sixteenth.
We’re hoping that #3 Unequivocal (5-1) can spring the upset here after a not-completely-terrible try against better, though it is notable that trainer Ham Smith opts not to protect this runner from being claimed. #2 Vicar’s Legend (12-1), who has won a first allowance race, also presents an interesting profile if he can return to better form.
The best horses in this race were on the AE list and, thus, are scratched, leaving us to go with #9 Yes Means No (5-2) as the best of the rest after a couple of runner-up tries versus similar. We’re also looking for a better-than-expected try from #8 Unbelievable Story (12-1), whose debut wasn’t bad against lesser.
- RACE 1
- SCR: 1, 7
- RACE 2
- RACE 3
- SCR: 11, 12, 13
A pair of class droppers figure best in this nickel lifetime claiming event. #6 Unique Humor (5-2) broke her maiden against $25,000 types on the main track and subsequently beaten $16,000 never-two claimers on the lawn. She’s back on the main track here at her lowest level to date. Similar is true for #5 Hail the Queen (9-5), who beat claiming three-year-olds two back but had no answers last out against $16,000 horses. She should appreciate the easier company here.
The tepid favorite in this turf event is #4 Maryland Pride (7-2), who has posted several Beyers in the upper-70s, which looks like about enough to win. Here’s the problem: he’s 0-for-9 and has lost against similar several times. We’ll keep him on the ticket but try to beat him with #7 Seville Barber (8-1). The Seville gelding was fourth against similar last out, closing ground without passing horses, and in his third start of the year — and just the fifth of his career — he can move forward here. Also on the ticket is #3 Rule Yourself (4-1), who has been second twice at the level and has been in the triple in three of four at the distance.
In her career debut, #9 Little Skiff (8-5) was much the best but was DQed for interference a half-mile from home. If rider Avery Whisman can avoid trouble, this daughter of Midshipman should graduate today. She receives Lasix for the first time here, as well. Also of note is #7 Fionnbharr (12-1), who didn’t run a bad one on debut when fourth at Delaware. The daughter of stakes winner Embarr gets some added ground here, which aids the cause.
- RACE 4
- SCR: 2
- RACE 5
- SCR: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16
- RACE 6
- SCR: 5, 11
Two starts back, #1 Prevailing Party (8-5) dominated a field of nickel claimers, then was moved up a couple levels to face starter foes. He ran well that day, finishing second, and here drops one step back to the $8,000 level. That looks like a winning recipe. The one question is the pace, which may be zippy and could set this up for a horse like #7 Frisky Whiskey (8-1) or #2 Justgimmeakiss (6-1).
This’ll be the first start of the year for #5 Tide Storm (6-1) and just the second of her career. She debuted with a win against maiden special weight foes at Aqueduct, and the show horse that day, Positive Skew, graduated next out and then was beaten just two lengths when fifth in a stake. Trainer Michael Matz cross-entered this one but passed on a Belmont spot yesterday. That combination makes her more enticing than favored #4 Hip Hop (5-2), who also rates a big shot after just missing versus similar last out and has been in the exacta six of seven at the trip.
In his first start since last August, and first with Horacio DePaz, #7 El Dulce (5-2) ran a good one to be second in an allowance behind Love You Much, who returned to win a Maryland-bred allowance in his follow-up. In his second start in 10 months, this one rates a big shot here. Let’s also drop #9 Enasoit (12-1) on the ticket; he ran a sneaky-good race last out when third — at 50-1 — in a starter at Pimlico in late May. The winner of that event, American Sailor, won against yesterday at Laurel.
Let’s be honest: #1 Fernwood Drive (1-1) probably is best in here on a dropdown after credible tries against better. But what’s fun about even money? Let’s take a shot to best that one with #3 Loudon’s Song (15-1). The Kenny Decker trainee has a couple of races on his resume that might be good enough and, in his third off a layoff and switching turf-to-dirt, might step forward here at a big price.
- RACE 7
- RACE 8
- SCR: 7, 8, 11
- RACE 9
- SCR: 4, 6, 13
- RACE 10