Laurel Park picks and ponderings August 17, 2019

by | Aug 17, 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 — $40,072; Super High 5 — None; Late Pick 5 — None

Notable: Happy Maryland Pride Day!



Trainer Hugh McMahon has been a consistent winner over the years, so you have to figure his current 0-for-46 streak at Laurel has to end sometime soon — and a logical spot might be here, with #4 Start With Yes (9-2). This runner ran a good one last time out in his first in 15 months, finishing second in maiden special weight company, and the show horse returned to graduate at Colonial Downs. That was on the dirt, but he has a couple of credible prior turf tries, and a move forward here would probably be good enough. A runner we’d look at at a price if drawing in is #13 Royal Kibosh (10-1), whose debut on turf was perfectly acceptable; though finishing behind a couple of these, he ran well after hesitating at the break and being caught out wide.


The second is a pretty wide-open dirt sprint for two-year-old winners, and the favorite is #2 Bricktop (3-1), who won at first asking for trainer Cal Lynch back in June. But there are some negatives here: the horse hasn’t raced in over two months, and it’s notable that Lynch doesn’t bother to protect him here, instead making him available to be claimed. We’ll try to beat him with another horse eligible to be claimed, #4 Guilty (4-1), who broke his maiden against better — at the $40,000 level — and then tried allowance company last month. That didn’t go very well, but that was a tough group, as the top two, in particular, look like runners. Dropped into an easier spot, he can improve today. Also worth a look at a price is #6 D W Fitz (10-1); the Jamie Ness trainee won at first asking for $40,000 and then tried a turf allowance. If he can parlay his turf form to the dirt, he can challenge these.


Two horses with a single try under their belts look likely to control this two-year-old maiden event. #6 Stickingtogether (9-5) was a good second in her debut in a very fast heat, and she was well clear of the rest. Even a repeat of that might make the Michael Matz trainee a winner today. And while she was well beaten, you have to think #1 Polished Copper (9-2) faced what will be a tougher field than these when she debuted against $50,000 maidens at Saratoga last month. Today, the Stanley Hough-trained Sagamore Farm runner was able to hitch a ride with a barnmate in a stake later on the card, waives the claiming tag, and can improve. She may end being the horse to offer value in here.


  • RACE 1
    • 8-5-3-14-1-3-13
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 2
    • 4-6-1-2
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 3
    • 6-1-7-5
    • SCR: 



Several runners in this Maryland-bred allowance have already won an open a-other-than, which ought to give them a class advantage over their rivals. The favorite is the late-running #2 Jammer (5-2), who two back got up in time in an a-other-than that’s produced two next-out winners, and last time rallied for the place behind the speedy American Sailor in a starter handicap. No question he can win here, but our concern is the 5 1/2-furlong distance; the two-back win came at six furlongs and saw him get up by just a head, and his two wins at the trip have come against much easier. He’s going to have a lot to do late in a race without a ton of early zip in it. We’ll use him but try for the mild upset with #7 Street Copper (7-2), who himself won an a-other-than three back and then was a decent fourth in a second-level allowance. He doesn’t have a ton of early speed, either, but he should be ahead of Jammer in the early running and have a chance to get first run on that one.


On best #3 Sarah’s Treasure (3-1) should be tough in this Maryland-bred allowance. She’s beaten better before, but she hasn’t run in nearly three months and her more recent tries are just middling. We’ll try to beat her with #4 Hail to Leader (4-1), a pricey daughter of Cairo Prince who won at first asking at Pimlico with Jorge Vargas, Jr. up and last time out just missed, coughing up a long lead at Parx to be second. The cutback to a flat mile — and one turn — might hit her between the eyes, though, and she gets reunited with Vargas here. A horse worth a look at a price here is #8 Belial (10-1), who won an allowance last year as a juvenile and was twice stakes-placed and has made just a single start this year.


Last time out, in the Jameela, #6 Dendrobia (3-1) lost ground mid-race before running a little bit in the lane to be fifth. It wasn’t a great effort, but we’re inclined to give her another shot here; she took an open a-other-than two back, and in the race before that was second to the very speedy Introduced, who subsequently was third as the favorite in the Stormy Blues. A return to that sort of form would make this one a winner today. Also worth a look: #12 Awesome Jazz (10-1), who gave an improved effort last out and whose dam, Jazzy Idea, was a turf-sprinting star.


  • RACE 4
    • 7-2-1-4
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 5
    • 4-3-8-6
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 6
    • 6-12-7-10
    • SCR: 





  • #2 Where Paradise Lay (3-1): Should benefit from plenty of early pace to run at
  • For a horse-by-horse analysis of this race, check out our In Focus Guide.




  • #6 Monte Crista (2-1): Sneaky good try in last presages move forward
  • For a horse-by-horse analysis of this race, check out our In Focus Guide.



  • #4 O Dionysus (3-1): Figures to get a more honest pace in here than last time out
  • For a horse-by-horse analysis of this race, check out our In Focus Guide.





  • #1 Past Perfect (3-1): Stay Thirsty filly in form now
  • For a horse-by-horse analysis of this race, check out our In Focus Guide.


Racing Oddity: there are three horses in this race trained by members of the Salzman family, and all three (horses, not Salzmans) are first-time geldings. We’ll take a bit of a shot here with #6 Top Hat Treason (5-1) from the Wayne Potts operation. This Constitution colt is the first foal out of a 10-time winner who won at first asking, as did Constitution, so there’s some win-early there, and he’s been training well enought towards his debut. Jenn Miller is up. Also worth a look are the two top choices in the morning line, the class-dropping #7 Sojourner (3-1) for Hugh McMahon and first-timer #2 Once in a Lifetime (5-2) for Jerry Robb.


The nightcap (and it’s gonna be night by the time this one goes off) looks to run through the two favorites on the morning line, #5 Sunday Red (4-5) and #1 Princess Rosie (5-2). The former is dropping from the $25,000 level after a good try there (though that race has yet to produce a next-out winner from five to run back). The latter finished second at this level last out and gets leading rider Trevor McCarthy up.



  • RACE 7 
    • 2-6-8-4
    • SCR:
  • RACE 8
    • 6-7-1-3
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 9
    • 4-2-6
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 10
    • 1-7-4-3
    • SCR:
  • RACE 11
    • 6-7-2-5
    • SCR:
  • RACE 12
    • 1-5-8-9
    • 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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