Laurel Park picks and ponderings July 6, 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 Jackpot Pick 6 — $40,645; Super High 5 — $876; Late Pick 5 — None
Stat of the day: Trainers Cal Lynch and Jerry Robb are tied for the meet lead with four dirt sprint wins each. Lynch is 4-for-5, while Robb is 4-for-8.
A competitive $12,500 claimer on the main track kicks off the card, and the favorite here is #2 Manipulated (8-5), who keeps running good races — but whose only wins on the page are against lesser, and it seems notable that, though he was a pretty good third in a Delaware Park allowance, trainer Hugh McMahon offers him up for the mid-level tag here. We’ll try to beat him with #1 In Arrears (2-1), whose form is a bit in-and-out — he was crushed last out at long odds in a two-other than, for example — but whose best efforts win here. Another we’ll have on the ticket is #5 T Sizzle (10-1). The Mary Eppler trainee makes his first start in almost three months for a barn that does well off similar layoffs, and she’ll leg up go-to rider Horacio Karamanos.
The favorite in this maiden event is #4 Naughty Thoughts (5-2), who ran three pretty OK races on the dirt before a disappointing turf outing and now switches back to the main track. It wouldn’t be a shock to see the Claudio Gonzalez-trained #8 Ankle Monitor (3-1) go favored in here after a respectable debut. She drops in company here, and Gonzalez is 9-for-26 with second-start maidens. He takes off the blinkers here on a horse who showed no speed at all in her bow; that race was won by a horse who looks to be a rocket ship, Shippy, who went off at 2-5 and won by 10. Another out of that race, who’ll be our top choice in here, is #3 Courtesy Shuffle (12-1). Two back this Jerry Robb trainee ran a good one to be third, beaten less than two lengths, in a maiden special weight. Last out, she showed good early speed but pretty much packed it in once Shippy went by three-eighths of a mile in. It’s doubtful there’s anything like that runner here today, and we’re looking for an improved effort from this one.
We’ll eat the chalk in this one with #3 Not a Chance (8-5), whose last turf effort was just fine and who has won at this level previously. He should show speed in here, though he’s also run decent races off the pace. One intriguing runner here is #5 Stomp Dance (7-2), who ran well to be third against better behind a repeat winner last out — but trainer August Martin is 0-for-87 in the last five years and hasn’t won a race since 2010.
- RACE 1
- RACE 2
- RACE 3
The morning line favorite in this maiden event is #7 Unabridged (5-2), whose best would be good enough here and who gets both blinkers and Lasix on today for the first time. She could win, but I dunno, she feels like a horse who just kinda runs around the track; in her three North American starts, she’s never really been involved at any point, never made any serious move or seemed a threat to win (or even lead). We’ll try to beat her with #3 Not My Money (3-1), making her first start for trainer Ferris Allen after toiling at Golden Gate Fields. She hasn’t raced since October, but if form holds, she may show speed from the two-hole and could be tough to run down. Jorge Ruiz is up.
We’re inclined to give #4 Graceygab (4-1) another chance in this bottom-level maiden event. In her last, she broke slowly, rushed up to the leaders while in traffic along the inside, and then retreated readily. A cleaner trip today would certainly work to her benefit against a very modest group of rivals.
The favorite in this Maryland-bred allowance is #1 Saltworks (2-1), who has a win from three starts and last out was an even fifth in an open first-level allowance. None of six to run back from that race has run one-two, though, and this one has been off for nearly two months. We’ll keep her on the ticket but try to beat her with #5 Last Love (3-1), who’s been cleverly handled by veteran trainer Bill Komlo, who claimed her for $25,000 and is shaking all of her conditions out of her. She won a starter/optional claimer last out, the second of those she’s won, and three back was a credible third at this level; the runner-up that day, Well Hello, returned to win this condition in her follow-up. This runner should be able to work out a stalk-and-pounce trip under Julio Correa.
- RACE 4
- RACE 5
- RACE 6
Feels like we’ve done this before, but let’s give one more crack to #5 Boos (10-1) to knock down the third allowance condition. She kept pretty good company for most of last year and ran a bunch of solid races before running poorly over yielding ground at Suffolk Downs. Her first start of this year netted a poor Beyer fig, but it wasn’t terrible; she kept trying to the wire and can take a step forward here. The jockey moves in this race are interesting, too; Jevian Toledo, who rode this one last out, goes to #7 Too Much Tip (5-1), who was a willing second in the race in which Boos ran fourth. He is replaced on Boos by Horacio Karamanos, who rode #6 Unaquoi (5-2) last time when that runner was an easy winner of a second-level allowance.
No question that #2 Peach of a Gal (9-5) has the most impressive credentials in this bunch. She’s a stake winner who was Grade 3-placed behind the hard-hitting Valedictorian earlier this year. If she runs her race, she can be a handful in here. But what’s fun about that? A horse offering solid credentials of her own (and better value) is #4 Ode to Joy (5-1). The Arnaud Delacour trainee is 2-for-2 in her brief career, both on the turf. She broke her maiden back in April sprinting at Laurel, and three of the five from that race who ran back on the turf won their follow-ups. She followed with a solid win against local first allowance foes. The daughter of Artie Schiller hasn’t done anything wrong yet, cuts the right profile, and offers square value; she needs to be on the ticket, too, and is our top selection in this contest. One last runner worth note: #3 Not in Jeopardy (12-1) is coming out of three straight sprints and returning to a route of ground. In her last try around two turns, she finished third, beaten two lengths, by Notapradaprice — a result that was seriously flattered when the latter won the G3 Dr. James Penny at Parx Racing next out.
We’ll finish up with some tasty chalk in the form of #1 Paid Holiday (9-5). Trainer Mike Trombetta has handled this runner generally like a horse he thinks is better than he’s shown in the afternoons. That hasn’t gotten much in the way of results, though, and now having found his way to this level, he rates a big shot to graduate.
- RACE 7
- RACE 8
- RACE 9