Laurel Park picks and ponderings July 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 Jackpot Pick 6 — None; Super High 5 — None; Late Pick 5 — None
Stat of the day: Trainer Tom Proctor is 3-for-15 bringing horses off layoffs of 180-plus days and switching from routes to turf sprints, which he’s doing with Summering in R8.
Solid effort last time out from #7 Marco Island (5-2), who was bounced around from both sides leaving the gate, took pressure every step of the way, and stayed on to the very end before being beaten a head. He’s drawn better outside today and can be the one applying the pressure, rather than taking it. Julio Correa is up.
The favorite, #7 Pugilist (9-5), looks tough in this starter handicap. She’s probably controlling speed, crushed similar two back, and didn’t run badly when jumped up into stakes company. A runner worth a look at a price in this one is #3 Pink Elephant (10-1), whose best chance was seriously compromised when she had to check leaving the furlong grounds last out against similar.
We land on #5 High Noon Rider (3-1), who’s in good form now and rallied while wide on the course to defeat similar last out. We’re giving a bounceback chance to #2 Papal Law (10-1), as well. He beat two-other-than rivals at Pimlico back in May, which would make him a snug fit here. His last two are poor, but one of those was in the Robellino when he was cooked on the front end — early fractions of 22 2/5, 45 4/5, 1:09 2/5 for a 1 1/16-mile race — and the other was in an off-the-turf contest. Back on his preferred surface, and against an easier group than the Robellino, he rates a shot to step forward.
- RACE 1
- SCR: 3
- RACE 2
- SCR: 8
- RACE 3
RACE 4 — TWIXT STAKES
The most intriguing runner in this $75,000 event is #6 Late Night Pow Wow (9-5), who won the G3 Fritchie over the strip in the winter and last out was a willing, if well-beaten, third in the G1 Madison. If she comes back the way she left, she’ll be tough in this spot, but she’s showing just three inconclusive works since that April 6 contest. If she’s going to be vulnerable at this level, it’s probably going to be right here, coming back from a bit of a layoff. We’ll try to be her with #1 Cairenn (3-1); the Graham Motion trainee didn’t show much last out when away slowly and never making an impact in the Penn Ladies Dash, though the winner and runner-up from that returned yesterday to be one-two again in the Dashing Beauty at Delaware. She can bounce back today. Also worth a look is #5 Alter Moon (6-1), if only because it’s not every day you can get a Chad Brown-trained stakes winner at 6-1 at Laurel Park.
RACE 5 — JAMEELA STAKES
This Maryland-bred filly and mare stake runs right through #4 Fear No Evil (5-2), who, on best, is simply better than these. She’s been stakes-placed in open company four times on the page and last out was beaten just a length in the G3 Intercontinental, and she brings jockey Joe Bravo in for the ride. There are issues, though: one is that she doesn’t win much (4-for-26), and the other is that those last two good efforts came at six and seven furlongs, and the last time she tried shorter, in a tough renewal of the Captiva Island, she was a bit outfooted early. Still – looks like she’s a bit too much. One horse we’ll have on the ticket is #3 Dendrobia (10-1), who’s just getting good right now, it appears, and arrives with two wins and a second in her last three.
RACE 6 — BEN’S CAT STAKES
This Maryland-bred stake may be all about #8 Dirty (8-5). He rallied to win the King T. Leatherbury back in April and followed that up with a perfectly credible try in the G1 Jaipur at Belmont Park. Dropped into a much easier spot, he can thrive. But he’s also a closing sort who’ll want a zippy pace to run into, and it’s not at all clear he’ll get that. In fact, for a turf sprint, this race is awfully light on pace. Two horses that do have early lick — and who finished fourth and second, respectively, in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico in May — are #5 Oldies But Goodies (6-1) and #7 Tempt Me Twice (10-1). The former just missed two back in a three-other-than after setting a wicked, pressured pace and is our choice in here. The latter fought on for second in the McKay and had a good follow-up.
- RACE 4
- SCR: 2, 3
- RACE 5
- SCR: 5, 10, 11
- RACE 6
- SCR: 1, 2
RACE 7 — CONCERN STAKES
The favorite in this three-year-old stake is #3 Mind Control (7-5), and the Gregg Sacco trainee looks tough to beat. He’s a Grade 3 winner at the distance, and last time out, in the G1 Woody Stephens, he was away slowly, made progress while widest on the turn, and then was checked pretty sharply when a rival came over on him in the lane. He looked to be stopping by then after his wide journey, but for all that, he was beaten less than five lengths. One we’re curious about in here is #8 Gnarly Mo (8-1), who was an easy maiden winner last out in a race that’s produced two next-out winners and a runner-up from four to run back. He’s been gelded since but clearly is a horse with some talent. Also of interest is #11 Captain Von Trapp (12-1), whose best effort to date was a fourth-place finish in the G3 Pat Day Mile, a race won by Mr. Money, who won yesterday’s Indiana Derby, and Woody Stephens winner Hog Creek Hustle.
RACE 8 — STORMY BLUES STAKES
You have to figure that #13 Change of Control (7-2) is going to get plenty of action at the windows, since her lone turf try produced a smashing win in the Mamzelle Overnight Stk. at Churchill Downs and a best-in-the-field Beyer fig of 87. Of course, she was also 30-1 that day, and it feels worth trying to beat her in this spot, especially since she’ll have to work out a trip from the far outside. #8 Summering (5-1) makes an intriguing candidate: a runner who owns a stakes win and whose connections liked her enough to try her (to no avail) in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. She hasn’t raced since, but trainer Tom Proctor is 3-for-15 bringing horses back off long layoffs and switching them from routes to sprints, including a stakes win. He’ll put blinkers on and Feargal Lynch up. We’re also thinking that #5 Tide Storm (15-1) is a little interesting if she posts (she’s cross-entered at Monmouth); she had an awful trip last out, breaking in air and then frustrated by an almost comic inability to find a seam in which to run in the lane. She can improve.
The favorite in this maiden claimer is #1 Ravenel (9-5), who certainly fits on the drop down and who should be on the ticket. Two runners who figure to offer much better value, though, are #7 La Silueta (12-1) and #8 Paris Lady (8-1). The former didn’t show a lot on debut, going 5 1/2 furlongs, but she did close about a dozen lengths in the final furlong, entirely under her own courage. The added ground should aid her cause. And the latter ran credibly against much better last out (the winner probably would be 3-5 against these). Both will be on our multi-race tickets.
- RACE 7
- SCR: 2, 5, 6, 10
- RACE 8
- SCR: 11
- RACE 9