Laurel Park picks and ponderings October 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 — $720; Super High 5 — $520; Late Pick 5 — None
Notable: Trainer John Rigattieri (Prevailing Party, race 8) has won with 14 of 40 horses (35%) first off the claim in the last five years.
A tough maiden race kicks off the card, and we’ll give a slight edge to #3 Xmasinthecity (8-5) over #6 Slippin Jimmy (9-5). The former did the dirty work last time, dueling with eventual winner Primo Posto before succumbing late, while the latter had a good trip but couldn’t get past that same winner. It’ll be the second time with blinks on for Xmasinthecity… Curious to see how #4 Grateful Bred (15-1) runs here; the Great Notion gelding has a productive (if not very turfy) family behind him and has been training speedily towards his debut…
The favorite in this Maryland-bred allowance, #1 Torch of Truth (1-1), will be a handful if he runs back to his last-out form, when he prevailed in an open allowance at Delaware. But will he run back to it? That was a big effort — a career-best Beyer fig — and he was under a ride midway on the turn. You have to imagine that took something out of him, and if that’s correct, that might open the door for a runner like, say, #5 Harpers First Ride (7-2). The Paynter gelding graduated last out at Churchill Downs, and trainer Claudio Gonzalez is 3-for-12 with horses making their first start for him off a claim and going from claiming to allowance company; he’s also showing a work in the meantime, which suggests he’s on his toes…
Good try last time out by #1 Absolved (2-1), who missed by just a head against similar with the best last-out Beyer. But take note of two things: 1) regular pilot Victor Carrasco jumps ship to go to #7 Shortlist (3-1); and 2) his consistently similar comment lines (hung, empty, flattened out). Those lines suggest a horse who finds his way into a winning spot but then can’t seal the deal, and that he has seven of them on the page makes taking short odds a dicey proposition. Let’s look instead to #3 Empty Tomb (7-2), who won the speed duel in fast early fractions last time before drawing away to graduate. The Arnuad Delacour trainee clearly benefited from more ground and blinks on and looks to be in a good spot to make it two straight here…
Solid two-other-than allowance on tap in the fourth, and we like #8 Something Magical (5-2) to knock this condition down today in her third crack at it. She’s been gradually ticking off her conditions, and last time out she finished second versus similar. She was hard to handle when keen to go while stuck down inside through the opening quarter-mile of that last contest, and drawn outside today, she should be able to settle into a nice stalking trip… Others can certainly factor here, including #3 Unaquoi (3-1), who’s won this race before, #6 Ten Count Out (7-2), who makes her first start for trainer Jose Camejo, and #5 Little Skiff (5-1), another one moving gradually forward (though note all three of the times she’s crossed the wire first were at five furlongs)…
This turf claiming sprint is a wide-open affair and we give the nod to the class-dropping #4 Colonel Tom (8-1). Two back the George Weaver trainee was an OK sixth in a Belmont Park allowance, and while his last, against state-bred two-other-than runners, was not good, it came on yielding ground he probably didn’t relish. Assuming he catches a firm course today, he can move forward… #8 Bust Another (4-1) galloped two back at the $16,000 level but last out was nowhere to be found. Look for him to be more involved in the early running today, and a pretty similar story can be told about #5 Totaled the Benz (10-1), who was forced to steady out of contention early in his last…
Last time out jockey Jevian Toledo looked to be sitting on a ton of horse rounding the turn on #1 Heart Hero (4-1), and the Imagining gelding stuck with it until the furlong grounds before emptying out to fourth. Still, it was a much improved effort for a lightly raced sort who still has more improvement to come… One horse who beat him that day, #10 He’s Not Tapit (7-5), shows up here, and if nothing else, his name is certainly accurate. Last time out he made a bid to get to the winner but was turned aside, though he did hold second. It was a good improvement, and he should be on the ticket here…
Midway through her debut, #4 Ilchester Cheetah (9-2) looked like a star in the making, holding a five-length lead in a maiden special weight race here. It got late that day, though she did hold on to win that race by a head. Her follow-up was not much, a 38-length loss in a NY-bred stake, and now she finds herself in this $30,000 claimer. She can make amends, though; it’ll be her second time with Lasix, she finds a much easier group than in her last, and the cutback to 5 1/2 furlongs may aid her cause… Trainer Anthony Pecoraro has a gaudy 39% strike rate when giving horses Lasix for the first time, as he’s doing with #2 Two for Ten (4-1), who won at first asking at Delaware Park… A runner who’s moving in the right direction if #6 Olive’s Bumpa (3-1), who finally got away from the gate cleanly last time and parlayed that into a maiden score…
Obviously the favorite, #2 Prevailing Party (9-5), needs to be on the ticket as he makes his first start in the barn of John Rigattieri, who’s 14-for-40 (35%) first off the claim, but we’d be wary of accepting very short odds on a runner who doesn’t really possess any other bold advantage over her rivals…We’re giving the nod over her to #5 Sierra Leona (5-2), who lands in Ricardo D’Angelo’s small but productive barn for the first time…
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