Laurel Park picks and ponderings July 19, 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 — $2,387; Super High 5 — None; Late Pick 5 — None
Stat of the day: In the last two years, trainer Jose Corrales is 7-for-32 with horses that have been off for 61-120 days. His ROI in that circumstance is $4.55.
It’s $16,000 claimers to kick off the card, and the favorite here is #1 Le Gros Bill (5-2), a Kenny Cox trainee who’s shifting from turf to dirt, the latter being the surface whwere he’s done his best work. One concern, though, is that his only win came at a mile, his best Beyer came at 1 1/16 miles, and he’s never run less than seven furlongs, while today’s test is just six furlongs. His only win came while on the engine, but he may have to scramble to find that sort of spot here. We’re going to take a swing against here with #4 Me Darlin Kara (12-1). The Noah Abramson trainee gets blinkers on today for his second start after a three-plus month break, and he, too, is switching over from turf to his preferred surface. His last two dirt outings both were against better, and his effort three back, against allowance foes, would likely win in this spot.
Scratches have knocked this maiden special weight down to a four-horse field, and it looks like favored #3 Doc Boy (9-5) ought to graduate today. He’s a pricey son of Into Mischief who was an even fourth at Belmont on debut; he’ll be getting Lasix for the first time today. Into Mischief, of course, is one of our top sires, and this one’s maternal granddam won the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. His main competition looks to come from the filly #2 Lady Magnolia (9-2); she was second (albeit a distant second) on debut behind next-out G3 Schuylerville show horse Shippy, and she seems to have outworked her stable mate #4 Heart Hero (10-1) on the turf July 14. The bad news: she’s also trying turf for the first time, and her sibs are a combined 0-for-12 at route distances.
The favorite in this maiden event is #6 Cool Man Cletus (3-1), who has shown a particular affinity for finishing second and third, which is never a good habit for a horse. We’ll try to beat him with the class-dropping #2 Dapper Mun (7-2), who didn’t run poorly last time against better and can move forward today. Also worth a look are #3 Battlebus (4-1), who flashed brief speed on debut and has been gelded since; and #9 Above It All (12-1), who was very hard to handle entering and through the turn last out and then was empty. If he can settle down, he can take a step forward today.
- RACE 1
- SCR: 3, 5, 11, 12
- RACE 2
- SCR: 1, 5, 6, 8
- RACE 3
- SCR: 10
When you think of claiming trainers in Maryland, you don’t generally think of Horacio DePaz, who’s made his name training Sagamore Farm homebreds, but he’ll send out the favorite — first off the claim, too — in this nickel sprint on the main track. #7 Quit Your Moanin (8-5) ran well against slightly better his last couple of starts, and that last race has been especially productive, as five of six to run back finished in the triple, including two winners. He’ll also get blinkers on today, and all of that should make him tough in here.
Another multi-scratch races leaves us with a field of five in this starter handicap, and it sure seems like #6 American Sailor (1-1) is going to be a handful in here. He’s won his last two against starter foes after four pretty good tries (without getting the money) in stakes company. He’s taken care of his major rivals in here — #4 Vicksburg Bluffs (5-1) and #7 Where You Was (4-1) — in his last two starts. And he looks to be the speed of the speed. We’re also looking for a good effort here from the formful #3 Jammer (6-1), who’s won two straight and figures to be running on late.
The obvious favorite here (and, honestly, most likely winner) is #2 Decorating (9-5). The Tom Proctor trainee has a steady string of mid-70s Beyers while running some pretty good races at Santa Anita and Belmont. But she’s also 0-for-9 and has defeats at Delaware, Monmouth, and Laurel, as well as those other tracks, and all of that makes her the exact sort of favorite we hate in maiden races. So what’s a bettor to do? Take a look at #5 Pepper Pot (6-1); the Eddie Graham trainee has two good tries on turf, including a near-miss third when rank early in her second career start. Her last two have come on dirt and synthetic, but here today, she’ll get back to her preferred surface with hot-riding Alex Cintron in the irons.
- RACE 4
- SCR: 5
- RACE 5
- SCR: 1, 2, 5, 8
- RACE 6
- SCR: 6, 7, 9
The favorite in here, #3 Top Hat Tizzy (1-1), won at the $16,000 level two back, had a mediocre effort on the turf in her follow-up — and now shows up here for $5,000. Why the sudden drop? No idea, but it certainly doesn’t seem like a vote of confidence that this is the same horse that defeated much better two races ago. We’ll try to beat her with #2 Unique Humor (5-2), who was an easy winner against nickel claimers last out in race from which the runner-up won next out.
This turf allowance is a race with plenty of ways to go, and the morning line reflects that; six of eight after scratches are 10-1 or less. The favorite is #4 Gardenista (5-2). She’s an Arnaud Delacour trainee who certainly fits with these and probably needs to be on the ticket. But it’s hard to get excited about her as the chalk, since she’s already lost this race five times on the turf. We’ll try to beat her with #6 Mahkato (9-2). Last time out, this Chuck Lawrence trainee kinda ran off with rider Julio Correa, zipping the opening quarter-mile in 22 4/5 seconds and the half in 46 4/5, which didn’t leave her much in the tank at the end. She stuck with it until the final furlong when she faded to fifth in a race won by Carnival Colors, who had been second in a Grade 3 at Woodbine in her prior start. She’ll get Lasix for the first time today, and if she can settle early, she might have a shot to take ’em gate to wire. One horse worth a look at a price is #10 Zonda (10-1), another Lawrence trainee; this daughter of Scat Daddy won impressively at first asking, hasn’t really fired against stakes rivals, and tries the turf today for the first time.
It’s another $5,000 claiming race to close the card, and like race 7, this one has a favorite who’s making an aggressive drop. Trainer Anthony Farrior claimed #3 Sheza Handfull (7-5) two back for $20,000 and ran her next out in a starter/optional claiming $25,000 in which she ran pretty evenly to be fifth as the 8-5 favorite. Now she drops all the way to the bottom, and rider Trevor McCarthy gets off. We’ll try to beat her with the crafty Jose Corrales, who sends out longshot #7 Empire Panther (15-1). This runner hasn’t shown much of anything thus far in her career, but then again, neither have most of these. Corrales has given her three months off since her last start, and in the last two years, he’s 7-for-32 with a $4.55 ROI off similar layoffs. Don’t like those? How about #9 Country Linedancer (3-1), who has run competitively at this level, or lightbulb theory candidate #2 Picture (8-1).
- RACE 7
- RACE 8
- SCR: 5
- RACE 9