Laurel Park picks and ponderings July 26, 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 — $4,369; Super High 5 — $1,696; Late Pick 5 — None
Notable: The first of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah’s offspring seen in these parts makes her career debut in the eighth race.
Bottom-level maidens kick off the Friday, 10-race card, and in a pretty evenly matched group, let’s see if we can get #4 Wisconsin (6-1) and jock Alex Cintron home. This runner has tried this level of horses twice, once at Pimlico and once at Delaware, and run second both times after leading late. Last time out, she never got a break, slugging it out on the front end with one rival for quite a while, and then, immediately after she vanquished that one, was confronted by another runner, Darlindiva, who went on to win. This miss held second, and it was a long way back to the rest. It was a solid try in the slop, and she can move forward here back on a fast track and shortening up from two turns to a one-turn mile. The uncoupled Claudio Gonzalez trainees, #2 Life in Flash (7-2) and #8 Graceygab (7-2), both could also have an impact here.
Nice effort last time out by #8 All Good Times (3-1) to win at a similar level to this starter contest at Delaware. In that race, she cruised up inside, dueled the 3-5 favorite into submission, and held firm for the win. A repeat of that would make her tough in here. One runner worth a look at a price is #4 Bring Me Answers (8-1), who won at this level three back. Her two interim starts aren’t great, but one was in allowance company in a race where she was 10-1 and the other was on the grass. She should be running on late.
The deserving chalk in this maiden claimer is #2 Gold Cadillac (2-1), who makes her first start off the claim for trainer Noah Abramson. This miss has run well twice on the grass against better, and while her last wasn’t good, it was on the main track. That makes you wonder why they’re dropping so abruptly, and steers us to look elsewhere in the top spot. #9 Dancing Contessa (5-1) ran pretty well last time out in her second off the bench, leading for a long way against better before fading late. A slightly shorter distance — a mile versus 1 1/16 — and a bit easier company might do the trick for this one. Another price horse worth consideration here is #5 A Little Info (12-1); this one’s form is a bit spotty, but her last may be better than it looked; she was rank and climbing through the early portions of the race but stuck with it well enough to earn fourth while never a threat to the top trio. She can move forward here.
- RACE 1
- SCR: 1
- RACE 2
- SCR: 6
- RACE 3
- SCR: 3, 7, 12
The favorite in this second-level allowance on the dirt is #1 Majestic Reason (2-1), a Graham Motion trainee who’s been moving in the right direction and already has a stakes win on her resume. But she’s been away since May, and we feel like the jury is out on her last start; of the seven to run back from that race, none has finished higher than third in their follow-ups (and only two managed to get to third). We’ll try to beat her with #7 Our Super Freak (6-1), who ran third last time out against similar at Delaware in what was her first allowance try after seven consecutive stakes starts. She ran evenly that day but owns the right to improve in her second sprint after four consecutive two-turn races and at a distance where she sports a 5:2-2-1 ledger.
Our top selection in this contest, who is also the lukewarm favorite, is the class-dropping #5 Why Now (4-1). This lightly-raced filly is moving through her conditions readily and last out tackled stakes fillies in the Stormy Blues, a race in which she didn’t run badly at all to earn fourth at 62-1 odds. She should appreciate the major class relief she’s getting here. Another who might appreciate the class relief is #2 My Vixen (10-1). The Gary Capuano trainee didn’t run badly at all last out against $16,000 starters going a mile on the turf. Being back among lifetime claimers ought to help, and she figures to be dead fit in a race at the slightly oddball distance of six furlongs with the long run to the second wire.
Really wanted to pull the trigger for #2 Always Talking (3-1) in this maiden claimer for two-year-olds (and might yet talk myself into it), but we ended up using #9 Landing Zone (5-2), dropping into a spot where she fits after credible tries against better. She’s also eschewing a maiden special at Charles Town in which she was the 5-2 favorite. As for Always Talking, she broke like shot to the lead least time out but was extremely green in the late going and gacked up a three-length advantage in the final furlong. A more professional effort today might be sufficient.
- RACE 4
- RACE 5
- SCR: 12, 13
- RACE 6
- SCR: 1, 8
Four horses have run back from the sixth race at Delaware Park on June 27, and all four have finished first or second. Let’s see if #5 One Two Three Go (3-1) can make it five-for-five. She ran second that day and can improve here. The favorite is the other Claudio Gonzalez trainee, #3 Jumping Michelle (5-2), but she’s lost against similar three straight and is 0-for-5 at the distance, which makes her hard to get excited about on top.
The first American Pharoah filly to run locally is in this maiden special weight on the grass, and we’ll give the nod to #2 Bernadette the Jet (4-1), who’s bred to be a star, as her $425,000 auction price attests. Not only is she by the 2015 Triple Crown winner, but she’s also a half-sister to the speedy Social Inclusion, who ran third in the 2014 Preakness. She’s been training well enough for Graham Motion, who is 15-for-79 when debuting two-year-olds in maiden special weight company the last five years. This is no easy spot, though; it also includes #3 Jenn’s the Boss (7-2), who ran very well on debut after a slow break before tiring in the late stages; #9 Giggling (8-1), a daughter of Creative Cause out of a productive dam and coming from the Cal Lynch barn, which can get a horse ready to win at first asking; and #10 Three Sided Story (6-1), a daughter of War Front out of the multiple graded stakes-placed Galileo mare Easter.
Bombs away? Sure, why not! #8 Now I’m Ready (20-1) won at first asking going a mile — no easy feat — in a race in which she broke sharply, drafted back almost to the rear of the field, made a four-wide move on the turn to the lead, and then was very green in the lane. She probably got quite an education that day, and the five-furlong move she’s showing in the interim — in 58 3/5 seconds — says she can improve today. The favorite, #9 Marvelous Martina (7-2), will also be on our ticket, as will #2 Steamy Hot (4-1), from the Mary Eppler barn. The latter is making her first start in a year — somewhat similar to what she did yesterday, when Smart Step returned victorious in his first start of ’19 (and also with Trevor McCarthy up) at 17-1.
The two chalks here — #7 Silver Sides (5-2) and #9 Bestatgettinbetter (2-1) — just seem better than their rivals in this bunch. Of the two, we’ll give the nod to Silver Sides, whose last was poor but whose prior tries probably would be good enough here.
- RACE 7
- RACE 8
- SCR: 1, 8, 11, 12, 13
- RACE 9
- SCR: 3, 11, 12, 13
- RACE 10
- SCR: 2, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16