WHAT TO WATCH FOR IN TODAY’S LAUREL PARK STAKES
Laurel Park hosts five turf stakes this afternoon, among them two of historic note in the Laurel Futurity and the Selima, both at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Both achieved their highest acclaim when run on the main track – the Futurity’s main-track winners include Riva Ridge, Secretariat, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, and recent Maryland Thoroughbred Hall of Fame inductee Devil’s Bag – and now are searching for similar appeal on the lawn.
What to watch for today? Here’s what we’ll be paying attention to:
BIG DAY FOR MOTION?
Trainer Graham Motion has a half-dozen runners entered Saturday at Laurel, including five in stakes. Among them:
- High Stock, the lukewarm 4-1 favorite in the Futurity.
- Tuned (6-5) and Oyster Box (8-5), the favorite and second favorite in the All Along.
- Sparkle Blue (6-1) and Luna Antonia (12-1) in the Selima. The former is a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Shared Account and will be making her turf bow here.
- Call It Love, the 2-1 favorite in a maiden contest.
If Motion does well, that could mean big days for any of riders Victor Carrasco, Feargal Lynch, and Charlie Marquez. Each rides two for the trainer.
HOW GOOD WERE COLONIAL’S 2YO RACES THIS SUMMER?
Since Colonial Downs runs most of its races on turf, it’s not surprising that a day of turf stakes in Maryland would include a lot of horses coming off races in New Kent, VA.
That’s especially true of the Laurel Futurity, and that race may provide an interesting measuring stick for the quality of the Colonial two-year-old crop this year. Six of the nine runners made at least one start at Colonial, with four of them posting a win there.
The most accomplished of those is the Lynn Ashby-trained Epic Luck, who won the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy Stakes there August 31. Though the speed fig came back a little light for the race, that’s a result of slow early fractions Epic Luck and jockey Aubrie Green set; he finished up nicely when set down.
Epic Luck and the other Colonial runners will have to contend with the Brad Cox-trained Ready to Purrform (6-1), a winner at first asking at Ellis Park, and Mike Maker’s City At Night (9-2), second in a $137,000 Kentucky Downs maiden event on debut.
- Video: Ham Smith and Deborah Green talk Luna BelleLuna Belle has been the talk of Maryland racing in recent months and the top local Black-Eyed Susan hope. We catch up with her people.
WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE G3 TURF MONSTER?
Hard to know what to make of last weekend’s G3 Turf Monster at Parx Racing. The race produced a $219 winner in Hollywood Talent, and show horse Admiral Abe was 27-1. Meanwhile, the co-favorites, Carotari and Caravel, dead-heated for sixth.
One horse from that contest is wheeling right back in today’s Laurel Dash. That’s Battle Station, and if you’re inclined to accept the quality of the Turf Monster and the short seven-day turnaround, then the 10-1 morning line might look pretty enticing. The Danny Velazquez trainee was a near-miss second in the G3 Parx Dash the race prior and came running late after getting squeezed back to last leaving the gate in the Turf Monster.
A MAIDEN IN THE FUTURITY?
Racing oddity: since the Futurity was stretched out to two turns for the 2019 running, both winners have been maidens. Even worse, neither ’19 winner Irish Mias nor ’20 winner Catman has won since.
This year’s edition includes two maidens: King of Hollywood (12-1) and City at Night (9-2). The latter, trained by Mike Maker, was second in a $137,000 Kentucky Downs maiden race in his only start.
- The (almost) fabulous fillies of the PreaknessBefore Rachel Alexandra and Swiss Skydiver won the Preakness, these four fillies made a major impact on the Middle Jewel without winning it.
STARS IN THE SELIMA
While the two most recent winners of the Futurity haven’t exactly dazzled, the Selima has been pretty fertile ground since it, like the Futurity, was stretched to two turns in 2019.
That year’s winner, Sharing, followed that up with a win in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. As a three-year-old, she won the Grade 2 Edgewood Stakes and earned placings in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and in the Grade 1 American Oaks at Santa Anita.
Last year’s winner was the Chad Brown-trained Fluffy Socks. She subsequently won the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante Stakes at Del Mar. Though she’s winless in four tries this year, she has placed twice in graded company and most recently was third in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks.
Parenthetically, Sharing was out of Shared Account, who is a half-sister to the Motion-trained Sparkle Blue, running in this contest.
TODAY’S LAUREL PARK STAKES SCHEDULE
- Laurel Futurity, Race 3, 1:40 p.m.
- All Along Stakes, Race 4, 2:10 p.m.
- Selima Stakes, Race 6, 3:14 p.m.
- Laurel Dash, Race 7, 3:46 p.m.
- Japan Turf Cup, Race 9, 4:50 p.m.