Laurel Park picks and ponderings August 15, 2019

by | Aug 15, 2019 | Breaking, Handicapping, Maryland, MD Racing

Doctor Mounty

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 — $33,235; Super High 5 — None; Late Pick 5 — None

Notable: Trainer Claudio Gonzalez is 33-for-100 (33%) when dropping a horse in claiming price by 50% or more, as is the case with #9 Two Putt in race 8.



The pricey American Pharoah filly #2 Bernadette the Jet (4-1) ran evenly to be fourth in her debut three weeks back and certainly has the right to move forward here. That was on the grass, and trainer Graham Motion is 6-for-18 with horses moving from turf to dirt in their second career start in maiden special weight company. Two others on the ticket will be #5 Shyza (2-1), a John Servis-trained daughter of Cairo Prince who’s been working fast at Parx, and #6 Wonder City (5-2), the first foal out of a stakes-winning mare for the red-hot Cal Lynch barn. Also of note: #1 Moravian Prayer (12-1) is a half-sister to near-millionaire The Factor.


It’s bottom-level maidens in the second, and we’ll use #8 Three to Get Ready (4-1) on top. Though she’s switching from turf to dirt, the daughter of Straight Talking had a credible debut and gets Jorge Vargas, Jr. in the irons for her second start. 


The favorite in this turf claimer is #3 Firth (5-2), who has better figs than most of these and has been facing better. But she’s a runner with a history of leading and then faltering late, which is why her record on the green stuff is 0-for-6. We’ll keep her on the ticket but try to beat her with #10 Liberale (4-1). The Mary Eppler trainee makes her first start since late May in this one, and her last was better than it looks; she had to steady twice in the final quarter-mile, costing her all chance in a race in which she was beaten less than two lengths. One longshot we’ll keep an eye on here is #7 Roses for Ruby (12-1), who’s won two of three career starts and last time out rallied gamely between horses.


  • RACE 1
    • 2-5-6-1
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 2
    • 8-6-9-10
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 3
    • 10-2-3-7
    • SCR: 



There’s a lot to like — including the price — about #5 Pigeon Creek (5-1). The Kenny Decker trainee made her first start on turf last time out, two months ago, and gave a good accounting of herself at 21-1 odds. She was taken up in the very first jump of the race and immediately found herself well behind. But she mounted a sustained, willing run after that, closing to be a clear third. That race has produced two next-out winners, including runner-up Lost Scroll, who graduated next time out, and if this one can work out a better trip, she’ll have something to say today. 


In her first try over a fast track, #5 Truly Red (9-2) ran fine, finishing second — albeit well-beaten — behind a 4-5 favorite. For her third start here today, trainer Jamie Ness adds Lasix for the first time and switches to his go-to rider, Trevor McCarthy.


Major class relief in the offing in this allowance for #2 Introduced (2-1). The Jorge Duarte trainee has been beaten on the lawn by the likes multiple Grade 1 winner Concrete Rose and Grade 3 winner Regal Glory and last out was third, beaten less than two, in the Stormy Blues. A repeat of those efforts would win in this spot. A longshot worth a gander here is the lightly raced #4 Little Skiff (12-1), whose worst enemy at times has been herself. She won her debut but was disqualified, then gacked up a lead in her follow-up when drifting very wide in the lane. And last time out, the was a step slow leaving the gate, which made life tough. But she’s got talent and, with just four starts under her belt, plenty of upside.


  • RACE 4
    • 5-9-8-4
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 5
    • 5-7-4-1
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 6
    • 2-4-8-12
    • SCR: 





The tepid favorite in this maiden event is #7 Golden Gary (3-1). The Jamie Ness trainee had a rough trip last time but stuck with it to be fourth, beaten just a couple of lengths. He’ll get blinkers on today for his third start. He’ll be on our ticket, but this feels like a race where a first-time starter who’s a runner might be able to get it done. We’ll use #2 Muchmorethanthis (9-2) in the top spot; the Mike Trombetta trainee is a half-brother to a couple of stakes animals, has two siblings who won at two, and has been working reasonably well. Another who’s been working fast is the Tom Proctor-trained #5 Creative Plan (7-2), who has three straight bullet works under his belt, though his trainer is just 4-for-35 with two-year-olds debuting on turf in maiden special weight company.


The favorite in this nickel claiming event is #4 Spartiatis (9-5), who has kept better company than these and has better speed figs. But he’s a 9-year-old making his first start in over six months (and first for new trainer Damon Dilodovico), and dropping from open $8,000 company to the bottom here. If he’s right, he wins, and we’ll have him on the ticket — but this doesn’t feel like a big vote of confidence. So we’ll try to beat him with another class-dropper, #9 Two Putt (4-1) for top local trainer Claudio Gonzalez (see stat above). This one can move forward in his second start off a three-month break.


It’s an evenly matched group of claiming horses on the turf to complete the card, and we’ll use #1 Dixie Drawl (7-2) on top. The Ham Smith trainee gave an even effort against better in his only prior turf try and should appreciate the class relief in here (though it’s worth noting that jockey Victor Carrasco jumps off this horse to ride Smith’s other runner, #5 Makes Mo Cents (6-1)). A longshot who might be worth a gander is #3 Jimmy Idontknowya (12-1), who broke his maiden on the lawn for $25,000 and gets back on it, for the first time in three starts, at the appropriate follow-up level.


  • RACE 7 
    • 2-7-5-6
    • SCR:
  • RACE 8
    • 9-11-4-1
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 9
    • 1-8-3-4
    • SCR: 


        About The Author

        Frank Vespe

        Frank Vespe, the founder and publisher of The Racing Biz, has owned, bought, sold, claimed, written, and talked about horses, in varying combinations, for a decade. Email him at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @TheRacingBiz.

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