Laurel Park picks and ponderings August 9, 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 — $23,114; Super High 5 — $477; Late Pick 5 — None
Notable: Trainer Christophe Clement (race 2, #1 Percentage) is 2-for-14 with runners in maiden special weight company at Laurel Park.
RACE 1 — OFF THE TURF
The turf sprints, like this one, are off the turf today, while the routes remain on. The horse who ought to win this one is #7 Sir Orinoco (2-1), who has the best speed figs of the group, and while his recent tries are at route distances, he’s also run good races sprinting. But he’s also been second in four straight races and in five of seven overall this year. We’ll try to beat him with #6 Daily News (12-1). The Katy Voss trainee had a useful return to action last out on the turf when finishing sixth, beaten three lengths, against similar. In his second start in a year, he can move forward here and has better efforts to return to. He likely will need some help up front, as he’s done his best work on the main track rallying, but he might get it.
RACE 2 — OFF THE TURF
Two runners with a bit of established dirt form seem likely to slug it out in this off-the-turf maiden event. Our top choice, #3 Bucked Tooth (4-1), makes his first start since March for the Trombetta barn. His debut was a solid runner-up effort against better, and last time out, he faded to fourth in a race from which the runner-up returned to win. He’ll have to overcome the main-track-only entrant #1 Fort Royal (5-2), who was a willing second in his debut — though that, too, was back in March.
It’s a steep drop, but not an inappropriate one, for #3 Twin Valor (7-5). This one ran third, but was well beaten, last time out at the $16,000 level at Penn National and here takes the double drop down to the nickel level. The late-running sort likes this one-mile trip — he’s been in the money five of six times at it — and gets Jevian Toledo in the irons. His biggest challenge figures to come from either #7 Greek God (6-1), who’s about as close as any of these to a horse with speed and may be cycling back to better form, or #6 Free to Trump (3-1), whose last three doing the one-turn mile thing at Laurel are good.
- RACE 1
- RACE 2
- RACE 3
#5 Polished (9-5) has kept the right sort of company and rates a big shot in here. The Arnaud Delacour trainee was third at this level last out, though that was going 1 1/2 miles. The last time she tried this 1 1/16-mile distance, two back, she was beaten less than two lengths in a race that produced three next-out winners, including the winner, Valiance, who won a Monmouth stake in her follow-up. One horse who might move forward here to challenge is #2 Mary’s Jewel (4-1); the Miguel Vera trainee led leaving the furlong grounds last out at this level before tiring to third following a wide journey, but drawn inside today, she may be able to get a better trip.
At his best distance and making his third start off a freshening, you have to think #5 Taco Supream (2-1) rates a big shot in this second-level allowance. He was a late-running third last time out after some gate issues and gets a bit of added ground here to aid the cause. One horse who might offer a bit of value is #3 Awesome D J (6-1). The Jose Corrales trainee won a first-level allowance last out and has the look of a horse moving in the right direction. You have to wonder if the cutback to six furlongs will aid his cause, though; all races prior to his last were at a mile or beyond, and in that last, he last life and death to get there going 6 1/2 furlongs.
The favorite in this starter handicap is the New York shipper #2 Ekhtibaar (2-1), who’s turned in back-to-back good efforts on the main track for trainer Ray Handal and has a back effort or two on the grass that contends here. But it’s hard to get excited about him; he’s winless in four career tries on the lawn, and his last two tries on turf (albeit at 1 1/2 to 2 miles) have been terrible. We’ll try to beat him with #7 Papal Law (6-1), who’s been in good form of late and won at this level last time out. He’s got plenty of zip to contend early — and to lead if no one else goes — and breaking from the outside should give bug boy Felix Pinero the chancne to eyeball the competition before committing.
- RACE 4
- RACE 5
- RACE 6
RACE 7 — OFF THE TURF
Feels like #5 Onarock (6-1) can move forward off that maiden score, and if he does, he can win today. If not, two others who look likely are the Hugh McMahon-trained #1 Celtic Treasure (4-1), who keeps running about the same race each time out, and #3 Time Flies By (9-5), who ran well last out, showing no ill effects after falling over a rival two back.
We suspect there was an error in the printing of the morning line odds in this race, but if we can get the morning line on #6 Quit Your Moanin (6-1), we’ll gladly take it without complaint. He was a well-beaten second last time out but was well clear of the rest and here makes his second start off the claim for Horacio DePaz. One horse that will be a genuine longshot — but one we think can move forward here — is #3 Once More Eh (20-1). The Charlie Frock trainee has run three straight stinkers but has early speed and some better efforts to run back to.
It’s always something with #7 Electro (6-1). In his last three, he’s gotten comment lines of “rank, steadied,” “Brk slow,” and “Brutal trip.” Despite all of that, in the most recent of those (“rank, steadied”), he managed to get up for the victory. He’ll face tougher company in here than he did that day, but perhaps the added confidence of a win last out will aid his cause, and maybe, just maybe, he can get a clean trip for once. The favorite in here is #6 Front Line Paige (5-2), who’s been facing better but has only a single win in 16 starts in 2018-2019 and lost a half-step below this level three back. He’s fine and certainly could win here, but the value proposition appears dicey.
- RACE 7
- RACE 8
- RACE 9