Laurel Park picks and ponderings September 6, 2019
Anna’s Bandit. 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 — None; Super High 5 — None; Late Pick 5 — None
Notable: Happy opening day of the fall meet!
It was just an even debut for #8 Roof Top Bar (7-2) when the Tale of the Cat gelding finished fifth after a slow start at the maiden special level here. But he has the right to improve in his second start and first on turf and around two turns. Alex Cintron remains aboard, and this one is out of an Indian Charlie mare who was a stakes winner on the green stuff. We’ll also give another crack here to #3 Mister Frank’s Way (15-1), who showed little on debut; that was a pretty good heat, though, with the winner coming back to run a near-miss second in the Sapling at Monmouth, and this Union Rags colt is a half to Bayern.
Gotta figure that #5 Annie Boo Boo (4-1) will appreciate the drop in class after running a better-than-it-seems fifth in the All Brandy. That was a short but rugged group won by multiple stakes winner My Sistersledge that included hard hitters like Ghoul’s Night Out and Monte Crista. She should catch a firm track today, which aids the cause, and three back she bested the favorite here, #1 Waiting for a Star (3-1).
When dropped in for a nickel last time out, #7 He’s Not Curly (7-2) responded the way trainer Chuck Lawrence would have hoped, winning off by a dozen lengths. He remains at that level in search of back-to-back scores. His toughest competition here looks to come from lone speed #2 Port Louis (6-1) and favored #6 Forty Acres (3-1), who dropped in for $4,000 last out at the Big T to win for the first time in five races.
- RACE 1
- SCR: 4
- RACE 2
- RACE 3
- SCR: 1
For the first time in his brief career — six starts to date — #7 Onarock (9-2) will get the chance to do what he was bred to do, namely, go a route of ground on the turf. The sophomore is a son of Red Rocks, whose signature victories include the Breeders’ Cup Turf and G1 Man o’ War. This one broke his maiden two back sprinting and here catches a manageable field for his first try around two turns. The favorite in this spot is #9 Real Factor (8-5), who certainly should be on the ticket when finding his lowest level to date.
One of the most impressive 2-year-old maiden winners of the spring and summer at Laurel was #1 Hello Beautiful (4-1), and that’s not just my opinion. The Golden Lad filly absolutely dominated her rivals in a five-length victory on July 27 in a race that was more than a second faster than the time posted by the speedy filly Gifted Heart and talented colt Mischevious Alex managed it earlier on the card. The latter came back to be third, beaten less than a length, in Monmouth’s signature two-year-old race, the Sapling. It was an impressive enough win for Hello Beautiful that it prompted the filly’s sale to a high-end partnership spearheaded by Madaket Stables. If that group is going to get some return on investment, this would be a good spot to start, though it won’t be an easy one.
We’ll see if we can get the first-timer #4 Mean Mary (9-2) home in this maiden event; she’s a daughter of Scat Daddy out of the G1 Ashland winner Karlovy Vary. Trainer Graham Motion has a 17 percent strike rate with horses making their debuts in maiden special weight races at Laurel. Looking for horses that have started? How about #5 Hunting Season (5-1), a Shug McGaughey trainee who cost $575,000 at auction and ran second last time out to Arrifana, who returned to win easily in allowance company at Saratoga, one of two next-out winners from that maiden heat.
- RACE 4
- RACE 5
- RACE 6
Since switched over to the lawn three back, #4 Hay Boy (7-2) is a horse who’s been moving in the right direction. Two back he galloped against maiden rivals at Penn National, and last out he was a good third in a starter allowance at Parx. The conditions of that race — have never won a race other than maiden, claiming or starter, or which have never won four races — were a lot tougher than this straight never-won-two event, and the winner came back to score in allowance company at Delaware Park next time out. Oh, and we didn’t pick him, but we’re still kinda rooting for #6 Spicy Meatball (4-1).
That was a huge effort last time out by #2 Tappin Cat (5-2), who rallied determinedly but had to settle for a near-miss second in the Star de Naskra Stakes at Laurel Park at this six-furlong trip. He’s already won a straight allowance — this one is for Maryland-breds — and he gave a good account of himself three back when facing similar at a mile, finishing second to next-out Iowa Derby winner Top Line Growth. This is a race that could have a vibrant early pace, too, with the likes of #3 Nico Breen N Teej (3-1) and #4 Stroll Smokin (5-1), among others, figuring to be in the early vanguard; that, too, could aid Tappin Cat’s cause.
The card ends with a wide-open maiden special weight on the turf, and we landed on #3 Giggle Factory (9-2), who ran credibly on debut against a fast pace in a Saratoga maiden race that’s produced two next-out winners. The Tom Albertrani trainee will get Lasix today for the first time. We’re also inclined to give another shot to #8 Pepper (15-1), who had a bit of an adventurous trip on debut at Colonial. The Tapiture filly broke well enough and looked to be able to settle in mid-pack but then dragged her rider up along the inside straight to the lead. She was clear entering the stretch before tiring late but today gets a more accomplished rider in Alex Cintron in the irons. The favorite in this race, who also should be on the ticket, is #1 Midship Lady (5-2), who was a good second in her debut and passed on a race at Delaware for this spot.
- RACE 7
- RACE 8
- SCR: 1, 5, 8
- RACE 9
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