Laurel Park picks and ponderings July 12, 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 — $60,321; Super High 5 — None; Late Pick 5 — None
Stat of the day: Trainer Kieron Magee wins one-third of the time (69% in the money) when giving horses a big drop in claiming level, as he’s doing with Poplar Avenue in race eight.
Two back, for his first start of the year, #10 Tachyon (5-2) dropped from maiden special weight company where he’d run credibly to the $16,000 level. He won just like that sort of horse should; rider Jevian Toledo kept him out wide and out of trouble, he moved to the lead nearing the stretch while still in hand, and drew off easily. Of six to run back, only one has finished in the money, but that one was a runner-up against maiden special weight foes, and all six ran against tougher company in their follow-ups. Back on the turf here, we’re thinking this one rates a solid chance to win again, though it’s likely Toledo will need to work out a less wide journey here, though he is once again breaking from the far outside. The favorite in this spot, #1 Hunca Rock (2-1), showed speed and faded last time out versus better.
The top two morning line choices are scratched here, but we were trying to beat ’em anyway, with #7 Masai Man (8-1). Making his first start in Jose Corrales’ barn, this guy gets Lasix and blinkers, both for the first time. He hasn’t shown a lot, but you have to consider what he’s been facing: on debut, he was beaten less than three lengths by Everfast, who later would be the runner-up in the Preakness, and last out, in his first of ’19, he ran in a Churchill Downs maiden that’s produced two next-out winners. He should appreciate an easier group here today.
RACE 3 — OFF THE TURF
She’s no world beater, but #2 Into Bluegrass (5-1) has proven about as adept on dirt as on turf, and in this off-the-turf claiming race, that might be sufficient to get the job done. In fact, it could end up a Mike Trombetta-trained exacta if #5 Cherokee Sky (7-2) can find her old dirt form.
- RACE 1
- RACE 2
- SCR: 1, 6
- RACE 3
- SCR: 3, 4
Small but solid group of $16,000 claimers in this one, and we’ll eat the chalk with #1 Tricky Lion (9-5), who arrives in good form off a clear victory against similar last out and has been in the money seven of 14 tries at the trip. One horse we’re especially curious about (and keeping on the ticket underneath) is #2 Gold Man (2-1); this guy ran a good one last out against similar at a mile and owns five wins at the trip. But… his last three starts at less than seven furlongs, admittedly all against better, have not been good.
RACE 5 — OFF THE TURF
A contentious group will test their mettle in this off-the-turf allowance, and we’ll take #7 Fearless Terp (7-2). This one didn’t run particularly well last out, failing as the favorite at Charles Town, but he’d been in good form prior, catches a fairly moderate group here, and may appreciate getting back to a track on which he’s won two of three. He also might be the controlling speed in this contest with solid gate rider JD Acosta up.
This Maryland-bred allowance remains on the turf (for now, anyway), and #3 Street Copper (2-1) figures tough in here. He returned from over a year off to win a first-level allowance sprinting two back and followed up with a decent try against two-other-than foes. He stretches out to two turns today and has run well doing that in the past. A longer shot that might outrun his odds here is #7 Mr. d’Angelo (15-1). The Tim Woolley trainee won at first asking and gets blinks on today for his third career start. While his most recent doesn’t look like much, take a closer look: this was a slow-early, fast-late race in which they got the last half-mile in under 46 seconds. This late-running sort had no chance to close into that kind of pace, but he still managed to trim about six lengths off his deficit. With blinks on, he might be a bit more engaged early today. Jorge Ruiz will ride.
- RACE 4
- RACE 5
- SCR: 5
- RACE 6
The Claudio Gonzalez-trained #4 Absolved (3-1) has made just two starts on the turf in his career, finishing fourth and fifth. But both wree in stakes company, the most recent, in November, in the Awad at Aqueduct, a race which included subsequent G3 winner A Thread of Blue. This one gave a decent accounting of himself there and finds a more manageable group here. Another horse that’s a little interesting — though perhaps more for the future — is #2 Seville Barber (8-1). He gets Lasix for the first time today after being eased late in his last, suggesting he bled; he’s got a little bit of talent and certainly should fit with these but might need a try with Lasix to regain confidence. Look for an improved effort today and then a more significant move forward next time.
Last time out #8 Glad Dad (7-2) sure ran a good one, finishing less than a length behind the winner at a slightly higher level in a race that’s produced two next-out winners (and two others that finished in the money next time out) from five to run back. He owns a win at the trip and, while he has speed, might be sitting behind a couple of these early and looking to run on late.
In this bottom level maiden event, #5 Zitarrosa (8-5) looks to be a handful on the drop-down, though it’s worth noting that trainer Brittany Russell is dropping this one pretty aggressively: from maiden special weight to $25,000 claiming to $10,000 all in three starts. If that gives you pause, then the other horses with low morning lines, #7 Stacksdenero (3-1) and #8 Willie the Whale (9-2), figure better than the rest in here.
- RACE 7
- RACE 8
- SCR: 5
- RACE 9
- SCR: 9