Laurel Park picks and ponderings January 9, 2020
- The most likely winner here is #1 Galerio (7-5), who ran a bang-up race last out to be second at this level last time and makes his second start in the Gonzalez barn today, but there are just enough questions to make us try to beat him on top. Specifically: second-off-the-claim is not a particularly strong angle for Gonzalez (it’s all relative, of course), who chooses not to protect this runner from being claimed here, and the cutback to six furlongs may not be to his advantage. Again, he’s the most likely winner, but a bit better value may be on offer with #5 Kneesinthebreeze (5-2), who ran third, a length-and-change behind Galerio, last time and here makes his second start after a six-month break and so could be a bit fitter…
- Last time out #1 Music Maker (5-1) galloped at the $8.000 level but received just a 42 Beyer; we’re betting that fig is wrong, as it doesn’t make any real sense given the field in the race (every horse in the race received a fig at least 16 points lower than their prior race), and if we adjust this one’s fig, she fits perfectly in this group; she was a mile the best that day in a race that’s producted a next-out winner, and she makes her first start in the Magee barn (on a claimback) today…
- Our top choice scratched out of this spot, leaving us to munch on the chalk with #3 Bust Another (9-5), who drops off a not-so-great effort a step up, but that was a decent race: the horses who ran one-three returned to fill out the exacta at the $12,500 level… The fire sale is still in effect on #1 Rip Rap Riley (6-1), who has better efforts than his last couple in his recent past… Nothing wrong with that last efort for #7 Greely Is Back (10-1), who was in the uncomfortable position of chasing lone speed Tambora that day; unfortunately, it’s not clear if he’ll be able to get the mid-pack trip behind some real speed that he wants in this race either…
- Pretty nice effort to graduate last time out by #3 Silent Fluidity (3-1) to graduate; stalled in behind horses on the turn, she shifted out to prevail perhaps more easily than the chart suggests; she lands in a good spot today, and trainer Cal Lynch wins 22% of the time with horses that broke their maiden last out… #6 Takechargmatriarch (10-1) was perhaps in a little deep last time when well-beaten by allowance foes but should appreciate the easier group she’ll see today… Note that #9 Hendaya (7-2) ran credibly last out against never-won-three rivals and here drops down to never-won-two company, meaning this should be a somewhat easier spot…
- Trainer Bobby Plummer sends out a pair of live contenders in this bottom-level maiden event in #2 Let Me Ask Bob (7-2) and #9 Im the Game (8-1); the former just missed at this level last time out and may benefit from the cutbak in distance to six furlongs, while the latter also cuts back and makes his second start off a two-month break… #6 Father’s Luck (12-1) hasn’t run in six months and was thrashed in that last contest, finishing a well-beaten fourth, but that was at a higher level, and it was a plus heat that’s produced three next-out winners… Morning line favorite #10 Sing a Verse (3-1) crtainly is a contender but is hard to endorse at short odds after losing at or below this level in 10 straight…
- Morning line favorite #1 Awesome Fu (9-5) has been beating up on starter allowance rivals at Charles Town and now takes his talents to not-quite-South-Beach, but getting the early lead, as he’s been doing, may be complicated by some other speed types in this event… We think that #7 Venomous State (15-1) may be cycling back to better efforts; he ran huge three back to win easily against starter foes at Penn National, then poorly with an excuse, and finally a bit better last out; his win produced three next-out winners and five to finish in the triple, and if he is ready to deliver a peak performance today, he’ll be right there…
- Chalk time: #1 Popizar (1-1) has been in good form, easily took a Maryland-bred allowance last out in a race that’s already produced a next-out winner, and wheels back here at a six-furlong distance at which he already owns five wins… Curious to see #5 Follow the Dog (4-1) in his first start for trainer Phil Schoenthal, who legs up journeyman Julian Pimentel (a combo we never see); Pimentel was aboard this one when he won the 2018 Maryland Million Nursery, and if the new trainer can find the talent this one has flashed in his star-crossed career, he’ll win some races (including, perhaps, this one)…
- Favored #6 Nine Martinis (8-5) ran a good one last out to be second behind six-time winner Call Me Jelly Roll in this same condition and won’t have to contend with any horses here who own more than two wins; the same can be said for #4 Stakes On a Plane (3-1), second last out versus similar… #1 Fortressa (4-1) didn’t run a bad one last out against open $7,500 claimers and now shows back up in lifetime company, which may aid her cause…
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