Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, September 30, 2017
Another big day of racing is on the schedule at Laurel Park on Saturday. There’s three graded stakes, plus five stakes restricted to Virginia-breds. If you like betting on grass racing, this is the card for you, because all eight stakes are on Laurel’s sweeping turf course. The first race on the card will be a bit earlier than usual; at 12:30 PM EDT.
We’ve got myself, managing editor John Piassek (@theyreoff) providing thoughts on the all 12 races. I have my thoughts on each race laid out in my new online show, This Week at Laurel (@ThisweekatLRL), and will post my top three picks for every race here. This week, I will not be posting an online video; however, you can find my analysis here, as well as updates on Laurel throughout the racing day on the This Week at Laurel account. Good luck to everyone playing along!
Race 1: Bert Allen Stakes, 3yo, VA-bred, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)
1- Special Envoy: He’s won two stakes in a row, the last one against open company over this track at 1/20 odds. His grass form is superior to everyone else’s, and deserves to be extremely low odds. Turns the 12% takeout early pick 5 into a pick 4.
7- River Date: Makes his grass debut here; has early speed and could waltz to a clear early lead. The only big question with him: can he handle the grass?
2- Runninginthevale: Stretches out in distance from 5 1/2 furlongs, ran a solid brisnet figure of 91 two races ago when facing starter allowance foes at Laurel.
Race 2: Maiden Claiming $10,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 Mile
5- Love My Sisters: Finished fourth on debut at Timonium two races ago, closing from behind and earning a figure of 71. Gets a big jockey upgrade to Steve Hamilton, returns to the dirt, and does not have the “career maiden” stigma that others in the field have.
3- Communion Money: New York invader was a non-threatening fifth against $20,000 horses last out, ran a 70 and a 74 in the spring at Belmont Park, looks to stalk the pace and pounce late.
7- Dear Charlotte: Almost pulled off a miracle last out, closing from eighteen lengths out of it at Timonium to lose by less than two. She’s got experience at today’s one-mile distance, and has run figures as high as 75.
Race 3: Brookmeade Stakes, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, VA-breds, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)
4- Queen Caroline: Took a clear lead at Suffolk Downs last out, before tiring to second. She’s improved her figure in each of her last four races, peaking at an 87 last out. Defeated Virginia-breds back in June at Laurel.
7- Sweet Sandy: She’s turned over a new leaf recently, running career-high figures in her last two races. Won a Virginia-bred stakes two races back, closing from far behind to win by a neck. Went over her head a little too far in the Glens Falls last out at Saratoga, but still ran a very good figure of 85. Has the best late-pace figures in the group.
2- Armoire: Was run down by Sweet Sandy last out, after looking home free at the top of the stretch. Both jockey Centeno and trainer Delacour have had strong starts to the fall meet.
Race 4: Maiden Special Weight, 3yo and up, 7 Furlongs
3- Sue Me: Finished a solid second on debut last out, earning a figure of 78. Gets Lasix for the first time, and turned in a bullet five-furlong workout last Saturday. He should improve, and that ought to lead him into the winner’s circle.
6- Cobh: Finally broke semi-well last out, but never fired and wound up third, behind Sue Me. He was making his first start off a two-month layoff there, and may run better second off the layoff.
8- Major Metro: Steps up from maiden claiming company, and has hit the board in four out of his last six at that level.
Race 5: Punch Line Stakes, 3yo and up, VA-breds, 5 1/2 Furlongs (Grass)
7- Lime House Louie: He didn’t fire last out at Penn National after a poor break, but had earned figures in the mid-80s in the two races prior. He won the Jamestown Stakes over this track against Virignia-breds last year, and in a wide-open race like this, should be a fair price.
2- Two Notch Road: Ten-year-old veteran won over this track two races ago, running a strong 93 in that race. Drops down in class after competing against some of the country’s best turf sprinters in the Turf Monster Stakes at Parx. If the 8/5 morning line is any indication, however, he will be ridiculously overbet.
6- Cryptos’ Holiday: Cuts back in distance after running in races as long as 2 1/4 miles earlier in the year. Ran in the mid-80s twice over the summer. Distance remains a question mark with him.
Race 6: Oakley Stakes, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, VA-breds, 5 1/2 Furlongs (Grass)
2- Northern Eclipse: She’s cross-entered in the Brookmeade earlier in the card, but this race would be a much better option. This mare’s already won four grass sprint races this year, and has hit the board in six of eight lifetime at Laurel. Wasn’t able to get to the early lead last out, and wound up chasing a loose leader, but should get a more advantageous pace scenario here.
10- Do What I Say: She didn’t fire in her last race, either, but did win a stakes over this track three races back, and ran a respectable third two races ago. Will be pressing the pace from the outside.
3- Awake the Day: Another one whose figures are usually in the mid-80s. Makes first start since early August, where she finished behind the aforementioned two in the Camptown Stakes.
Race 7: Commonwealth Oaks, 3yo, Fillies, 1 1/8 Miles (Grass)
7- Taperge: Defeated allowance company at Saratoga last out in her first start off a long layoff, earning a huge figure of 100. Nik Juarez picks up the mount, as he returns to his Maryland roots. Anything close to her last race, and she’ll be in the winner’s circle.
3- Rymska: The favored Chad Brown entrant in this field, she was last seen winning the Sweetest Chant Stakes at Gulfstream Park in February. She showed plenty of promise at two, but the layoff is a concern regardless. If you’re playing the mid-day pick 4, she’s one that you have to use, but I wouldn’t bet her to win at low odds.
9- Flower Fashion: A European invader won a Laurel stakes two weeks ago, and as such this Clement shipper must be respected. She’s had some good workouts at Belmont getting ready for this spot.
Race 8: Baltimore Washington Turf Cup, 3yo and up, 1 Mile (Grass)
4- Catapult: He was stakes-placed earlier in the year, and comes in here off a dominant allowance win at Saratoga, where he earned a figure of 95. He’s got the best late closing kick in the bunch, and should enjoy the two-turn one-mile conditions.
7- Blacktype: Comes in off a two-week layoff, following an allowance score at Belmont. Won this race last year, with a figure of 92, and has run in the 90s all year long. Jockey Karamanos has had a slow start to the Laurel meet, but has had success in high-class races.
2- Projected: Has hit the board in three stakes this year, and Brown/Juarez on the grass is always a dangerous combination.
Race 9: Jamestown Stakes, 2yo, VA-bred, 5 1/2 Furlongs (Grass)
4- Graceful Request: She’s the only one in the field to have run well on the grass before, coming in seventh after racing wide back in August, earning a figure of 81. Her breeding looks good for grass, and will be dangerous if she improves off that race. Worth a shot off a 6/1 morning line.
7- Yes to the Dress: The 3/5 morning line favorite broke her maiden impressively at Delaware Park last out, with a figure of 84, and picks up the very good grass jockey Jose Lezcano. She remains an unknown on the lawn, however, and for that reason I’m skeptical of betting her at low odds.
8- Virginia Fable: Got caught up in a speed duel on debut, but hung on OK and wound up finishing fourth. Runs on the lawn for the first time.
Race 10: Maiden Special Weight, 2yo, Fillies, 6 Furlongs
11- Saguro Row: Turned in a bullet workout at Fair Hill on September 19, going five furlongs in 1:01.2 seconds. Trainer Michael Stidham is a solid 17% with first-time starters.
4- Words of a Feather: Among all horses with experience in the field, this Jersey-bred has arguably shown the most promise. She finished third in her debut at Monmouth Park last out, and trainer Mary Eppler hits at 22% with horses making their second start.
9- Beryl’s Flight: Charles Town invader has posted a string of good workouts at that track for the underrated Jeff Runco.
Race 11: Commonwealth Derby, 3yo, 1 1/8 Miles (Grass)
4- Voodoo Song: He became somewhat of a folk hero over the summer at Saratoga, becoming the first horse to win four races in one Saratoga meet in 65 years. Lezcano comes down to Maryland for the mount, and will certainly be taking him to the front end. Speed has been holding fairly well over the course here, and he shouldn’t have much trouble against this field.
5- Profiteer: Just got up to win at Saratoga last out against a salty allowance bunch, running a career high of 97 in his first race off a long layoff. A win here would stamp him as an up-and-coming star in the grass division.
3- Just Howard: Won two stakes races at the Laurel summer meet, running a solid figure of 94 last time. Worked well at Fair Hill last week, as he prepares to step up to the big leagues. He’ll stalk the pace from the inside.
Race 12: Claiming $5,000 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 7 Furlongs
8- Pledge of Love: South Carolina-bred finished second at this level last out, in her first start in more than three months. She’s only raced three times, so is certainly not a chronic loser like some of these are. Has earned a figure in the 70s twice already.
5- Gimme Kimmy: Has run respectably well in recent dirt starts, with good figures every time out. Earned a 74 when breaking her maiden for $10,000 back in April over this track.
4- Pompano: Broke her maiden at Timonium last out, improving her figure by thirteen points in that race. Could end up being the primary speed.
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