In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…

Post time: 12:40 p.m.

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Veteran #4 Battlebus (5-2) gets back on his preferred surface for the first time in three starts — since last October — and drops down to his lowest level in quite some time. Just about any one of his turf races from last year would get it done in this spot. #8 Backwoods Boogie (4-1) has been toiling with only limited success on the tapeta at Gulfstream Park but is 3-for-8 on the lawn. #7 Ballistico (7-2) is another returning to his preferred surface after a useful enough synthetic try at PID, where he was up close before tiring late…



Trainer Dale Capuano is 4-for-11 with two-year-old first-time starters in recent years, with eight of those 11 finishing in the money. Plus, #5 Tall Order (9-5) has a couple of OK siblings, one stakes-placed, and has some pretty fast works underneath him. In a field full of firsters, that all sounds pretty, pretty good. #4 Quincy Cafe (6-1) was a pricey purchase as a two-year-old in training and gets to the races just three months later. Trainer Lacey Gaudet has a pair in here, with #1 Ice Cold Frosty (7-2) the other, and that one has Jevian Toledo up, a rider she uses more frequently than she does bug boy Will Humphrey, who’s on Quincy Cafe. #2 Tiz No Clown (3-1) won but was DQed last out at the maiden claiming 40k level, but his one try at this level was not auspicious.



Love the effort that #12 Crossland (6-1) gave two back. That was his first on turf and first of the season and came going a mile, and he dueled a long way with 5-1 shot Grand Manner, disposed of that rival to take command but could not hold off the closers late. He followed that up with another good one, this on the dirt, but he looks like a horse who wants the lawn and should be sitting on go today. Even effort sprinting on debut for #2 War and Roses (15-1), but we’re not sweating that: he’s got nothing but two-turn horses in his background and owns the right to move forward on the stretch out. #9 General’s Duty (7-2) drops into the maiden claiming ranks for the first time after a credible effort against maiden specials at Pimlico.



It’s entirely possible that top selection #5 Bandfromthebar (5-1) won’t run a step, or will need a race, but ya know, what the heck. This is a horse trainer Ham Smith liked a little bit last year when he graduated at first asking, then trying him in a minor stake and then in an allowance/optional claimer. He pretty much went sideways after that opening win, though, but he’s been off a few months, is working well enough, and it seems like a positive that they’re waiving the claiming tag on him today. Morning line favorite #4 Amicalola Falls (5-2) has run OK against similar a couple of times and catches a soft group today. #6 Dontforgettoblink (3-1) just missed against lesser last time, and while we’re not partial to horses moving up off a defeat and he may need a pace he doesn’t seem likely to get to run into, he certainly fits with these.



#5 Lunar Dash (5-2) just missed last time out despite a troubled trip and looks ready to graduate today. Speaking of troubled trips, in his career debut #7 Pickin Sea Glass (8-1) ran a good one to be third and may very well have won had his greenness in the lane not gotten him into trouble. He’s made four straight dirt starts since, including his last two which were rained off the turf, and finally gets back to his preferred surface today. #3 Imagine It All (5-1) finished just behind Lunar Dash last out and gets Jorge Ruiz in the irons today.



His return to action nine days ago was not good, but two back #5 Award Nominated (4-1) absolutely clobbered a maiden special weight field at Laurel, earning an 80 Beyer in a race that’s produced two next-out winners. We’re inclined to give him another crack here in his second in the suddenly-hot Sanchez-Salomon barn. #4 Contented Now (3-1) has run some OK races but has lost at this level three straight. #3 Irishman (12-1) has some dirt races that compete with these and gets bug rider Barbosa in the irons.



Trainer Linda Albert has tried to no avail to get #12 Hello Gracie (8-1) on the turf in her last two starts. She’ll get her back on the lawn today, and this one has figs that stack up fine and a price that works. #5 Dixie’s Fascinator (6-1) has done her best work to date around two turns, but her sprint tries fit with these. #3 Trikki Nikki (10-1) skipped a condition to win at this level last July, enters off a useful season-opening effort, and catches a manageable group in a race that is an absolute crapshoot.



Trainer Mike Trombetta has a 21% strike rate with a positive ROI moving horses from maiden special weight to maiden claiming, and that’s what he’s doing with #4 Burgee (3-1). This one has been gelded since his last, gets go-to rider Carrasco up, and note that he passed on a spot at Monmouth Friday to await this one. #3 Mailman’s a Flyer (3-1) has been the beaten favorite in six of eight career starts, which is quite a thing, and his last couple are only middling. But his better efforts would put him right there. #6 Wonder Water (9-5) ran well against similar in last.



11-furlong races are rare as hens’ teeth in Maryland, so this allowance should be a fun one. We’ll take a bit of a swing with #10 Dancing Til Dusk (12-1). The Alex White trainee posted the best effort of her career two back in the longest race of her career, nine furlongs. Sire Noble Mission’s offspring are 5-for-34 going 1 1/4 miles or farther, and this one’s out of a Giant’s Causeway mare, so the distance ought to hit her right between the eyes. Trainer Jonathan Thomas is 6-for-16 at Laurel in recent years (notably, the other NY shipper here is trained by top conditioner Christophe Clement, who’s 2-for-25), which is one argument for #8 Song of Innocence (7-2). This miss has run well going 1 1/4 miles on the Belmont turf and going 1 1/2 on the main track at Gulfstream, so no reason to think this won’t work for her. #3 Fire in the Hole (9-2) closed nicely last out at Pimlico but ran out of real estate. The breeding says he’ll like the added ground here.



We’d like him better if he had a race under his belt before trying nine furlongs, but #13 Left Blank (7-2) has the best credentials in this lightly credentialed group, and we’d expect that jump trainer Todd Wyatt will have him ready in his first for new connections. #11 Master of Manhatan (8-1) pretty much walked out of the gate on debut, which didn’t help matters at all but did run on a little bit late. He can move forward today. #3 The Thinker (15-1) hasn’t tried the green stuff yet but dam Shirleys Curls won three times on it.