Laurel Park picks and ponderings July 27, 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 — $6,245; Super High 5 — None; Late Pick 5 — None
Notable: Trainer Lacey Gaudet is 4-for-7 in recent years with 2-year-olds making their debut in maiden claiming company, as Patriotic Punch is doing in race 10.
Kinda agonized over this one before landing on the chalk. #8 Shecor (9-5) was a $5,000 claim two back for trainer Kenny Cox and then ran very well, just missing against $12,500 types. She’s been away since mid-May and here drops back to the level at which she was claimed. If she runs back to her earlier form, she wins in this spot. The concern here is the abrupt drop off a good performance, but a back-of-the-napkin calculation suggests it’s a low-risk situation; if she’s right, wins, and gets claimed, the owners probably break about even, and with the Maryland-bred bonus turn a small profit. If she’s right, wins, and doesn’t get claimed, then they have all sorts of options. And, of course, if she doesn’t win here, it’s obviously the right spot. So, we’ll keep her on top. If she’s not right? Look to #9 Unique Humor (7-2) to be the beneficiary, which would run her win streak to three.
It’s time for #1 Chicken Dinner (7-2) to be a winner winner. The Greg Wilson trainee just missed last out and was a dozen clear of the rest. The winner, Pictura, won her follow-up against winners.
This $16,000 claimer is a pretty contentious affair, and we landed on #5 Roman Holiday (5-1), who’s run well her last couple on the turf, winning one and running credibly against better in the other. The favorite, #5 Caterina One (3-1), also is on the ticket, as is #6 Fiduciary Values (6-1), whose lone turf try came at 1 1/8 miles (and wasn’t bad) and who ought to appreciate the cutback here.
- RACE 1
- SCR: 6
- RACE 2
- SCR: 7
- RACE 3
It’s an allowance test for 2-year-olds, and two of these — #1 Mischevious Alex (1-1) and #4 Gifted Heart (8-5) — ran faster than the rest in their debuts. The former won a hard-fought battle at Parx Racing, a race that’s produced a next-out winner. The latter, a filly facing the boys today, galloped against $40,000 maiden claimers. Both are obviously live today, and we’ll take the Parx invader, who faced what looks to have been a significantly tougher group on debut.
Last month #6 Verboten (4-1) had a useful return to the races. The stakes-placed Graham Motion trainee, who kicked of his career with two straight wins, was away 13 months after a runner-up effort in a stake on the synthetic at Woodbine. In his return, he chased loose-on-the-lead Archaggelos to no avail but did manage to nip #1 Taxable Goods (4-1) for second. He can move forward today. Taxable Goods, meanwhile, returned to action after that test with a win against allowance foes.
The favorite in this first-level allowance is #1 Hip Hop (2-1), who certainly should be on the ticket, but whose five losses at this level, surface, and distance make 2-1 an uninviting proposition. We’re curious to see how #5 Something Magical (9-2) runs in this spot. The Phil Schoenthal trainee has been in the money five of six on the turf, including two wins, but all were around two turns. She has natural speed, so she shouldn’t be run off his feet early, and the fitness she’s developed going routes of ground might be the extra boost to get her the money today. Also of interest is #7 Little Skiff (6-1), who ran very fast but was DQed in her debut and then was erratic when second in her follow-up. Last time, she put it together in a professional effort, getting through between horses in the lane and inching away from her rivals to win.
- RACE 4
- SCR: 6
- RACE 5
- SCR: 8
- RACE 6
- SCR: 4
Trainer Arnaud Delacour has two in this second-level allowance, and both could win. #3 Frippery (3-1) has run a couple of good ones at Delaware without winning, last time finishing third as the favorite, and Daniel Centeno, who rode both Delacour runners in their last start, picks this one. And #9 Madame Milan (7-2) cruised in her last turf race against allowance foes four back. Her two tries against stakes horses, including in the G3 Pucker Up, weren’t great, but they weren’t terrible either. In the Pucker Up, she was rank early, made a big middle move, but couldn’t sustain the rally. She’s a half-sib to star-crossed 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. All that said, we’re going in a different directoin, with #6 Not in Jeopardy (8-1). This one’s coming out of three straight sprints, but her most recent route try — in April, in her first start of the year — was a good one. She finished third at this level behind Notapradaprice, who followed that up with a win in the G3 Dr. James Penny Memorial Stakes.
Coming out of a win at the maiden claiming $10,000 level, #5 Two Step Sis (5-1) lands in the right spot to double up in this nickel claiming event, which also includes several horses dropping out of much better company on the turf. Jorge Ruiz is up.
We’ll probably regret this, because #4 High Society (4-1) never, ever wins (2-for-43 in his career). But he gave a good account of himself last time out against similar and maybe he’ll find the range today. He closed over 10 lengths in the last quarter-mile of that one-mile event, zooming from ninth to third. A repeat of that might be good enough today. Of course, you don’t want to sleep on #7 Electro (3-1), whose two-back try at this distance against similar saw him have an absolutely disastrous trip when beaten less than three lengths. He may appreciate being drawn farther outside today.
Maidens close the card and let’s see if we can get #2 Rapidashqueen (6-1) home. This Jerry Robb trainee is a daughter of Tritap, whose offspring have hit the ground running. She’s been working fast in preparation for her debut today, including a bullet five-eighths in 1:00 4/5 a week ago that was faster than stakes winner Scrap Copper worked the same day. These are two-year-old maidens, though, and mostly unraced, so you’ll want to spread it around. The only horse with a start under her belt — and she has two — is #3 Hello Beautiful (7-2), who merits consideration off second- and third-place finishes in her first two starts. Trainer Cal Lynch — whose three wins with two-year-old firsters at the meet are two more than any other trainer — sends out #6 Maybe an Omen (3-1). And Lacey Gaudet (see “Notable” above for her key stat) sends out #7 Patriotic Punch (10-1).
- RACE 7
- RACE 8
- SCR: 8
- RACE 9
- SCR: 3, 11, 12
- RACE 10