Laurel Park picks and ponderings September 27, 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 — $14,714; Super High 5 — $701; Late Pick 5 — $4,589
Notable: Intrigued to see Iowa Derby winner — and G3-placed runner — Top Line Growth back in action at Laurel in the fourth race, a second-level allowance… Trainer Claudio Gonzalez, a 23% winner on dirt the last five years, has won with just 11% of turf runners. But in the last 90 days, he’s 7-for-31 — 23% — on the turf.
The horses that have started in this maiden claimer for two-year-olds haven’t shown a lot, the best effort having been a sixth-place finish (and 36 Beyer) for #5 Little Harbour (9-5) on debut at the maiden special weight level, but taking short odds on a runner with that resume seems silly. Leave him on the ticket by all means, but look to beat him with #6 That Darling Devil (4-1). He’s the first foal out of a two-time winning Forestry mare for a trainer, Anthony Farrior, who is 2-for-10 with seven runners in the money when debuting juveniles in maiden claiming company…
Our top choice in here, #7 Fed Up Fired Up (5-2), kinda seems like the category killer here; the English Channel mare has dominated her last two straight claiming races against similar and has a pretty good shot to do so once again in this two-turn, turf event… #6 Dangerous Woman (8-1) has not been in great recent form but go back four or five races and you’ll find a string of three straight that would put her head-bobbing on the wire in this one… The question for #5 Queen of Schmooze (3-1) is the distance; all six of her turf tries, which generally have been quite good, have been at 5 1/2 furlongs or less. If she can transfer that form to 1 1/16 miles, she’ll be a factor today… #9 Shes a True Beauty (10-1) makes her third start off a 14-month layoff and has better efforts to run back to if she’s still capable of that…
Nice-looking maiden special weight on tap here and we — regretfully — left #6 Princess Cadey (7-2) off the ticket off a good try versus similar at Colonial last out. Probably worth having on your multi-race wagers, though… We’re hunting an upset in this one with #4 New Circle (12-1). The Jonathan Sheppard trainee has been working in company with a horse named Juluca, who broke her maiden at first asking at Delaware Park on Monday… You’ve got to figure that trainer Jerry O’Dwyer is pretty high on #3 Roma Delight (6-1), since he shipped her to Kentucky Downs for her debut, where she finished ninth in a $134,000 maiden race… It’s not everyday a $425,000 auction purchase makes her debut at Laurel Park, but such is the case with the PTK horse #5 I Was Looking Up (15-1), who’s a half-sis to the stakes-placed Light the Night, and speaking of well-bred firsters, #8 Bonkers (5-1) is a daughter of Bernardini out of the Grade 2 winner Emotional Kitten…
Iowa Derby winner (by DQ) #10 Top Line Growth (9-5) returns to Laurel Park in this two-other-than, a track where he’s won twice by a combined 17 1/2 lengths, and he’s our pick to make it three-for-three here. He’s certainly going to appreciate the class relief after tackling a pair of Grade 3s in his last two… It’s an interesting spot, though, including the comebacking #6 Hydraulic (15-1) who dazzled last year the start of his career, missed 14 months after his third start, and wasn’t good but wasn’t awful in his return… We’re leaving #4 So Conflated (7-2) off the ticket; he’s got plenty of good efforts to run back to in his third start off a 13-month break, and maybe he will, but we’re a little suspicious of his last when he beat a short and not very good field in a $20,000 claimer at the Spa. If he beats us, he beats us…
Top choice #8 Fifteen Royals (2-1) makes her debut here; the daughter of Palice Malice is a half to three $100,000 earners, including the multiple graded stakes-placed Mayla, who earned over $300,000… Can’t #3 Palace Check (8-1) improve here, as well? Another Trombetta trainee — and note that go-to rider Julian Pimentel jumps off this one to ride Fifteen Royals — she made her debut on the turf, a surface on which her siblins are 0-for-26; four of those sibs have earned at least $100,000 on the dirt, though, and switching over to the main track should move this one up…
We’ll reluctantly munch on the chalk here with #5 Bahamian Prince (3-5), who finished third last out against NY-bred maiden special weight foes. The two-level drop off that effort feels a little suspicious, but the race was validated when winner Chimney Rock came back to run second in $500k stake at Kentucky Downs… Willing try last out for #9 Irishtown (8-1), who was on hold briefly into the turn and ran on well enough… #3 Cold Sweat (15-1) actually won at this level three back but was subsequently DQed for a medication violation, now finds his way back to a spot he can contend (and at a generous price)…
Looks like #2 Lucky Junior (3-1) should be tough in this never-won-two spot. His only win came going six furlongs, and last out, going a mile, he stuck with it to the end to be third after leading early. The cutback here to 6 1/2f should hit him right between the eyes… Another who may be showing up in the right spot is #6 Drosselmoon (10-1), who hasn’t had much success in four recent tries on the grass but who broke his maiden on the main track at MNR at the $15,000 level…
Two races ago, #3 Suzzette Star (6-1) led a long way before just failing (to the 6-5 favorite) at this level, and we think a return to that form is in the offing. Last out, she led early but faded readily, but that came at a higher level and over yielding ground. Today, with Lasix on for the second time, at a more congenial level and over firm ground, she rates a big shot at an enticing price…
Sure, #2 Joyful Noise (4-1) never wins (3-for-36 in her career), but she did win two races back and is in good form right now with five consecutive in-the-money finishes. Both horses to run back from her last have won next-out… The favorite here, #5 Wee Monie Creek (3-1), deserves to be on the ticket off a romp at the never-won-three level, but the concern with this one is that she’s done her best work on the engine and figures to have company early, which might set it up for a horse — like Joyful Noise — who can stalk and pounce… At long odds, it’s not inconceivable that #11 Intrepid Forest (20-1) could step forward in her second start off a five-month break and get a piece of this…
Let’s see if we can get #10 Miss Aliphant (4-1) home in the nightcap. The Mary Eppler trainee ran a decent one last out after awaiting room nearing the quarter pole, slipping through inside before flattening out late. The horse who finished just ahead of her, Artful Splatter, came back to win next out… #2 Neetee Rides Again (6-1) owns a win versus similar but was DQed for impeding a rival. Her recent form is just so-so, but the Mark Reid barn has been enjoying a strong year… A couple of class-droppers, #9 Heavenly Hattie (10-1) and #8 Holiday Hopes (6-1), may also have something to say in this contest…
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