It’s opening weekend at Laurel Park and there’s a loaded card on Saturday culminates with a juicy late Pick-4 sequence.
Race 8: #6 Lemon Drop Dream (9-2 ML)
Race 6: #2 Brenda’s Way (12-1 ML)
Here’s how we see the races playing out…
START OF THE LATE PICK-4
Race 6: 2-6-4-1
#2 Brenda’s Way (12-1 ML) scratches out of the All Brandy Stakes and goes in this softer spot. Trevor McCarthy was listed rider in the All Brandy but was named on #7 Sheer Drama in this Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes. That leaves Travis Dunkelburger up on Brenda’s Way, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Travis rides lots of winners for Damon D. and knows how to get to the lead. Brenda’s Way appears to be the main speed in here, cutting back from a stakes race at Monmouth in June. Speed held up extremely well over the dirt yesterday and barring a downpour, would think that Brenda’s Way is primed to run a big one. #6 Made Up is 8 for 8 in the money at this mile distance, including 5 trips to the winner’s circle. Faced tougher over the summer. #4 Speedy First is a graded stakes runner from Korea. Total mystery making her U.S. debut in this spot but the appearance of top jock Carrasco adds to confidence. #1 Table Three Ten should enjoy the extra furlong, gong out for Team Valor in a softer spot than she saw last out. Must use on deeper tickets.
Race 7: 8-12-14-1-7
Second leg of this sequence appears loaded with speed and, among those speedsters, horses who haven’t been able to handle front-end pressure. Going to go with #8 See What Happens on top. Horse has a win sprinting on the turf, his maiden-breaker last out. It came in her 14th start but it was only her second time going short on the lawn. A little bit of a lightbulb angle play but feel like she’ll run into a nice pace setup and charge late. #12 Burn Permit had plenty of run going 5-furlongs last out facing $30k claimers. Faces off against $25k n2’s here and is another one who should enjoy closing into a hot pace. #14 Sweet Soliloquy missed by just a neck at this level in May. Will probably get overlooked while marooned out in the widest post of all but she’s got tactical speed and should run up for a placing, at the very least.
Race 8: 6-4-1-2
Another speed duel looms in the Dave’s Friend. It would’ve been a three-way go up front but then Eighttofasttocatch scratched out. That still leaves #3 King Henry, who’s likely to set a torrid pace, with #1 Bern Identity likely to press from the inside and not allow to get position on the rail. #4 Trickmeister is another one with gate speed, despite having been taken off the past in his last few. As good as front-end speed might be over this course, have to believe it sets up for a horse like #6 Lemon Drop Dream. Horse drops down from the G1 Vanderbilt! Talk about class relief. This horse was graded stakes placed in his two prior dirt sprints. Horse should be well rested, appears well placed and should cruise if the track isn’t obnoxiously speed biased.
Race 9: 1-3-6-4-11 (add 8-9-12 on deep tickets)
This is an extremely interesting final leg of the P4. Lots of horses in here have tons of back form over course and distance. And while pace gets overlooked in turf routes, it is key to note that there are three known speedsters entered. Not sure we’ll see horses dueling but it allows us to dismiss the need-the-lead types with a little more peace of mind. One horse that you’ve got to love in here is #1 Roadhog. He’s a battler and beat Ben’s Cat over this turf course last fall. He also missed in this very race by a mere nose last year, when closing from way out of it, into much slower fractions than what he’ll get up front today. Three wins from six races over the course and 9 for 15 in the money at the distance. Would use this one in exotics with confidence. Also like #3 Under Control. Motion trainee appears to be in top form going second off the layoff (22%), following a very sharp effort in the G3 Oceanport. #6 Xmas Sky might be a bit of a reach, we’ll take a shot. Listed at 20-1 on the morning line, the horse has got some speed from the gate and should, at the very least, give us a little run for our money. Needs to make a class jump that he’s failed before but I never count out Robin Graham. She always seems to place them in the right spots and at these odds, we’ve got to include the horse on our tickets.
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