Laurel Park picks and ponderings August 1, 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 — $11,623; Super High 5 — $1,046; Late Pick 5 — $5,326
Notable: Trainer Anthony Pecoraro is 9-for-20 in the last five years with horses owned by his Pecoraro Stable, Inc. He’ll send out Yess Pec in the second race today.
Last time they met, #3 No More Talk (9-5) grabbed the early lead and had just enough to hold off the late efforts of #2 Gold Man (2-1), winning by a head. No More Talk hasn’t raced since, while Gold Man had an OK try in the interim going six furlongs. Now they meet at a 7-furlong distance that might be Gold Man’s best; he’s 4-for-5 with a runner-up effort at this trip, while you have to imagine that No More Talk may face added pace pressure early that could give Gold Man the chance to turn the tables.
A couple of interesting runners offer some value in this spot. #8 Five Star Perfect (6-1), from the Ham Smith barn, is a son of Seville whose dam was a turf sprinter, so this 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint should hit him right between the eyes. He’s been training well enough towards his debut here and gets Victor Carrasco in the irons; Carrasco and Smith have teamed up for a 21% strike rate with a positive ROI the last 18 months or so. And #4 Yess Pac (8-1) will make his debut for trainer Anthony Pecoraro, who is 9-for-20 the last five years training for the owner, who is… ahem… Pecoraro Racing Stable.
Lot of ways to go in this maiden event, and we’ll take a bit of a swing with #9 Epic Idea (6-1), who took a big step forward last time out in her first time on the lawn. This one took the worst of the trip that day, struggling to find room and never really getting clear while finishing fifth. But she was beaten just two lengths, and the runner-up returned to graduate next out, on July 31. Trevor McCarthy remains aboard, and if he can work out a cleaner trip, she should be right there.
- RACE 1
- RACE 2
- RACE 3
- SCR: 1
We’ll eat the chalk here with the three-year-old #2 Hail the Queen (9-5), who’s already won four races while her rivals here are still looking for their third win. She ran just an OK race last time out against similar but has better efforts to run back to. The same is true for #1 Wee Monie Creek (2-1), who two back was beaten just a couple at the $16,000 level.
Wait, did we take a wrong turn and end up in Saratoga? This maiden event has runners sired by War Front, Hard Spun, Flatter — and American Pharoah. Those four have a combined stud fee of $440,000. They’re all first-time starters, and it’ll be interesting to see if one or more give evidence of serious potential today. We’ll take #1 Food and Wine (5-1). The Tom Proctor-trained son of War Front has been training steadily at Fair Hill towards his debut and is a full brother to the stakes winner Summering. For those of you wondering, the American Pharoah runner is #4 King of Egypt (9-2), who’s trained by Graham Motion.
One runner in this $16,000 claiming event who has kept significantly better company than these is #5 Who U Gonna Call (8-1). The Lori Testerman trainee has seen nothing but stakes and allowance company since breaking her maiden impressively at second asking. Her last, in a Maryland-bred allowance, was kind of a mess, but she has efforts on her resume that would get it done in this group, and we’re betting that the drop to more manageable company will help her find her good form.
- RACE 4
- SCR: 5
- RACE 5
- SCR: 6, 7
- RACE 6
Several of the runners in this maiden special weight test have multiple races on the page without earning a diploma, and while certainly one of them could win, they’re hard to get excited about. On the other hand, #10 Arrifana (5-2) is a daughter of top sire Curlin and a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Lukes Alley. Her work tab is dotted with bullet moves, and while trainer Kelly Rubley does not have a great record with horses debuting in maiden special weight company, she and rider Julian Pimentel have a flashy 25% strike rate together. Another horse who’s bred to be something is #3 Accumulate (10-1). This Cal Lynch trainee is a half-sis to another Grade 1 winner, Morninng Line, and while her debut wasn’t great, she had some trip issues that day. On a fast track, and with the education she got in her debut, she can move forward.
We’ll use another first-timer in here, #3 Three to Get Ready (7-2) for Ham Smith. This one’s been training well enough, first at Elloree over the winter and for the last month at Laurel, and her only sibling to race won four times in turf sprints. The favorite here is the Wayne Potts-trained #8 Controllingthegold (9-5), who plummets for the $40,000 claiming level to $16,000 after a credible try in which she led early but tired going seven furlongs in New York. The cutback today may aid her cause, though the pace should be much more rapid.
- RACE 7
- RACE 8
- SCR: 7