Laurel Park picks and ponderings August 16, 2019

by | Aug 16, 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 — $36,262; Super High 5 — $2,959; Late Pick 5 — None

Notable: Trainer Rodney Jenkins, whose multiple stakes winner Cordmaker won at Delaware Park on Thursday, sends out another multiple stakes winner here at Laurel today in Shimmering Aspen in the seventh race.



Last time out, #8 The Walk (9-5) sat a good trip, led late, and just failed in a good effort. We suspect that Beyer fig may be a tad inflated, but his turf form still makes him the most likely winner in this group of $16,000 claimers. 


There’s a lot to like about the favorite, #7 Bella Aurora (2-1) in this two-year-old maiden event. She ran a big one on debut, rallying smartly late before hanging a little bit to finish third, beaten less than a length. She wheels back in here three weeks later and sporting a solid half-mile work in the meantime. If she moves forward — or even repeats that effort — she could be very tough in here. But, because we’re contrary that way, we’ll try to beat her with a first-time starter in #8 Luck Money (5-1). The Arnaud Delacour trainee is a daughter of Lookin At Lucky who is a half-sis to several productive runners, among them Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Furthest Land and Frippery, recently a winner of a two-other-than over the strip. But of course — don’t leave Bella Aurora off the ticket.


Good try last time out from #6 Dapper Mun (8-5) who rallied into third at the $16,000 level and now drops to the bottom, $10,000 maiden spot. Given the form of most of his rivals here, that should be good enough. Also worth a look is #4 Ummu Ummu Ummu (9-2), who ran fine against better two back and last out stopped badly — but that was going two turns, and the cutback to 5 1/2 furlongs here should be welcome — and #1 I’m Flattered (7-2), who returns to the dirt, where he’s run his best races, and drops to the bottom for the first time.


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



The favorite in this $16,000 claimer is #9 Ravenel (7-2), who broke her maiden last out in a solid effort at the $25,000 level and drops into the appropriate spot here. She’s on the ticket, but we’ll try to beat her with another runner moving in the right direction, #3 Artful Splatter (6-1). The Rodney Jenkins trainee gave a good account of herself last time out, fighting on willingly to be third and just missing second. She was no match for the 4-5 winner, Nevisian Sunset, but after appearing to be done at the head of the lane, she stuck with it to the end. Three of five to run back from that race have finished in the money. Also worth a look is #1 Jabuticaba (4-1), who finds her way to the right spot after a couple of tries against better.


Two races back, #5 Stand My Ground (3-1) just missed — by a head — at this level on the turf, a race from which the runner-up, Jag, returned to graduate next out (and won again yesterday at Colonial). That was back in May, and the Judith DiNatale trainee was off two months subsequently before returning 12 days ago with a useful try sprinting. Stretched out to two turns here, he rates a big shot to leave the maiden ranks. Also of note are #1 Junior Senator (8-1), a half-brother to the hard-hitting steeplechase runner Senior Senator who’s trying turf for the first time, and #3 Senor Seville (7-2), who in his most recent try on turf ran second to Jag.


Trainer Jamie Ness is kinda throwing the kitchen sink at the favorite in this maiden event, #2 Drill Ur Skills (9-5), adding Lasix and blinkers for his second start after a decent debut. This son of Power Broker is showing a bullet half-mile move at Delaware since that first start, so he appears to be raring to go. But we kinda wonder what message we’re getting from the two additions, and we note that Ness if 0-for-4 adding blinkers in runners’ second starts in maiden special weight company and 0-for-8 adding Lasix in the same circumstances. Maybe it’s nothing, but we’ll see if we can beat that runner with #7 The Drake (7-2); the Tom Proctor trainee was well-beaten on debut in a race that’s produced two next-out winners but gets added ground today and is showing two works, one at six furlongs, in the interim.


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





Here’s a good-looking group of horses, including several stakes winners, in this open, seven-furlong allowance. We’ll go with the favorite in here, the hard-hitting #1 Shimmering Aspen (2-1). The Rodney Jenkins trainee loves this seven-furlong trip — she’s been in the money five of seven with three wins — and enters off her best performance of the year, when she was second to the very good graded stakes horse Late Night Pow Wow. It’s no easy spot, though; multiple stakes winner #6 Anna’s Bandit (5-2), four-time winner at seven furlongs, ought to have something to say about the outcome, as could the Graham Motion-trained #5 Majestic Reason (3-1), who’s been in the money in all seven of her career starts, with four wins. Our one concern with her: she’s 4-for-4 at six furlongs and has an 0-2-1 record in three tries beyond that.


This maiden claimer on the turf feels like a wide-open affair, though we did settle on the tepid morning line favorite, #6 Judi Blue Eyes (7-2), who in her prior turf try (against lesser) ran a good one to be second a neck despite late traffic troubles. Two others we think are worth a gander are #11 Old Line Magic (6-1), who may have been a bit uncomfortable two back when shifting around looking for racing room and may appreciate being drawn outside today; and #8 Hanky Panky (12-1), who showed little on debut but who is a half-sister to several useful runners including multiple stakes winner Talk Show Man and stakes winner Just Jack.


Last time out, #2 Not in Jeopardy (6-1) ran a good one, just missing to be second at this level while splitting a couple of hard-hitting Delacour trainees. That day the Ann Merryman trainee was able to rally smartly late despite having been hung out wide on both turns. Drawn farther inside today, she can contend here with a better trip. The deserving favorite in this wide-open spot is #1 More Fun Again (4-1), who last time out was a good third in the G3 Dr. James Penny Memorial at Parx Racing behind longshot winner Notapradaprice — who bested Not in Jeopardy (and by a similar margin) in a local allowance back in Arpil.


The card closes with nickel claimers, all of which have major questions to answer today. The favorite is #3 Iron Lion (3-1), who was throttled against similar last time out. The second choice, #1 Lovely Games (7-2), crushed never-won-two runners two back but was crushed at this never-three level last time out and has been scratched twice since. That lands us on #5 Majestic Doctor (4-1), who might be the only speed in here but has major questions of his own, including a dismal last outing at Monmouth, an unsighlty 2-for-40 career record, and his trainer’s 0-for-41 ledger this season. Oh, and his jockey, Brandon Whitacre, is 0-for-23 this year. All of which is to say: I can talk myself out of all of these horses but am having a tough time talking myself into any of them.


  • RACE 7 
    • 1-5-6-4
    • SCR:
  • RACE 8
    • 6-11-8-3
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 9
    • 2-1-3-5
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 10
    • 5-1-3-2
    • 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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