After living in Virginia for the greater part of 20 years Laurel became my defacto home track. I have made some great lifelong friends there, became a partner in a group of nice owners and have visited the winners’ circle with them, such a feeling of euphoria. It does not matter if it is a Grade 1 winner or a claimer, the exhilarating feeling of your horse winning is indescribable. So in the spirit of my love for Laurel and the fact they have a wonderful stake laden card today I present my thoughts, analysis, and selections. AF
Race One: Selections 3-9-8
#3 Lion Charmer has been consistently in the mix of all of his races and catches a solid group today. Poised for a breakthrough today as this one has proven to be game and continues through the wire each time. #9 Auld Lange Syne is one that will need some pace to close into but may just get the perfect setup and blow up the exotics. #8 Five Alarm Robin is obviously a major player but the precipitous drop from MSW to Maiden 40k is alarming in my opinion. Must use in multi race wagers however will take the other two as insurance.
Race Two: Selections 6-4-5
#6 My Queen Michelle debuts for red hot trainer/jockey combination, has some nice works and trainer is more than proficient at getting them to fire first out. Look out! #4 Olin’s Honor ran well in debut, adds shades and looks to improve off that effort. Motion consistently has done well in his home base of Maryland and this one displayed some talent in first race so should give a good account again today. #5 Portulaca ventures down I95 from base on the Jersey shore after a string of even works. Trainer is good with young horses and can be sneaky at a price so would give this one some consideration.
Race Three: Selections 2-6-7
#2 Sunset Promise disappointed last out at Kentucky Downs however willing to line through that performance as the racing at that meet is super competitive and not all horses handle that European style course. This one had previously displayed some talent and can see a nice rebound in this spot today. #6 Sky Kitten invades from NY base for trainer that does not ship out often which immediately got my attention. Horse took to the lawn at first chance and may be overlooked at the window so will take a shot here in the exotics. #7 Sharing looks like the short priced favorite and rightfully so based on two races so far. Still has to deal with the outside post but with a clean trip this may turn the race into a laugher; however, the price will be unappealing.
Race Four: Selections 2-5-6
#2 Runforthemunningsstepped into the deep end of the pool last out and tired badly after showing speed early. Back with friendlier competition can see a return to form today. #5 Onemoregreattime comes off a long layoff for a trainer that can have them ready off the bench. Catches a field with some nice runners; however, this one should return firing today. #6 Stroll Smokin comes back quickly off a lifetime best and has been in great form. The concern for me is that last race was so much faster than another before and how much did that take out of this runner. Would be very cautious singling this one.
Race Five: Selections 1-5-4
#1 Torres Del Paine has had difficult situations both races since breaking maiden. Caught slop at the spa then was stuck on the rail at Colonial last out. Look for Hamilton to get this one off the rail and settle among horses and make a run today at a nice price. #5 Jack the Ripper invades from across the pond and warrants major consideration in this spot. Adds blinkers and trainer is great with young horses so look for this one in the mix into deep stretch. #4 Field Pass has fired each race entered so far and will be a prohibitive favorite today. Beat some nice horses at Saratoga and will be the one they have to hold off late to get to the winners’ circle at Laurel.
Race Six: Selections 7-6-4
#7 He’s No Lemon catches some stake placed competitors today however this one looks formidable today. Will need to continue to produce fast races however has lots of potential and the look of a major player today. #6 Channel Island failed to fire last out at Kentucky Downs now gets back to an easier spot to get back on track. This one would love some pace to run into and should get it with enough speed signed on. A serious look for an exacta finish. #4 Jais’s Solitude just missed last out in the Virginia Derby and a repeat of that effort places this one in serious contention. Another that would like some pace to chase.
Race Seven: Selections 6-7-4
#6 Frontier Market invades for the powerful Chad Brown barn from NY in an attempt to scoop up a nice purse. This one took a long time to break the maiden but has rattled off a few wins since. Makes stake debut and price will be lower than it should be based on connections; however, feel this one can rise to the occasion against this group. #7 Caribou Club loves the Laurel turf and is razor sharp right now. Will need to avoid traffic but Lynch is very adroit at working out good trips so this one should get an opportunity to make some noise in the lane. #4 Cullum road will need to step up but feel this one can spice up exotic prices in this spot as he should have gained some confidence from last race where just missed at Kentucky Downs and this is far from the tough competition he was facing prior.
Race Eight: Selections 7-4-6
#7 New York Central may have regressed last out off the race on the Preakness undercard. Has had plenty of time to recover and should relish the return to Maryland today. #4 Bon Raison is a consistent closer that should be able to give a good performance providing he gets some pace to close into. May have hands full with New York Central but this one is a major player in this spot. #6 He Hate Me has been in good form and will look to build upon his success today. Will need to avoid getting into a pace duel today and save some effort for the stretch as the main rivals look to enjoy pouncing in the stretch.
Race Nine: Selections 3-7-8
#3 Square Shooter found the waters at the Spa a bit deep so will appreciate the return to Maryland. This one fires every time and this is arguably easiest spot of the year. Will require some beating today. #7 Dr. Stone comes off a break for Gargan who is good with layoff types. This one will appreciate this company and should be able to stalk and pounce late with his running style. #8 Dubini has been in the mix recently and appears a good fit for today’s competition. Demasi is an excellent conditioner that does well throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, so I would give this one serious consideration at Laurel.
Race Ten: Selections 1-3-7
#1 Escapade jumps into the deep end today and will need to step up; however, I feel this one is ready for stakes competition and will give them all they can handle today. #3 Unaquoi loves Laurel and the distance and should get an ideal set up today. Major exacta player in this spot. #7 Goldwood has rattled off four wins at the Jersey Shore and looks to take the game on the road today. Has previously shown an affinity for Laurel so no issue there and will be tough to hold off today.
Race Eleven: Selections 8-6-3
#8 Take Charge Angel also entered at Churchill so may not make the trip but if so does look formidable in this spot. Ran a big race last out then promptly went to the sidelines. Should be ready to fire as trainer is good with layoff types. #6 Needs Supervision looked bound for the sky this spring at the Fairgrounds until apparently the wheels came off. Plenty of time to recover and is working up a storm so I expect a huge effort today. #3 Meadow Dance invades for the powerful brad Cox barn that seems to win everywhere over any surface. This one has the look of an improving young horse and may be tough to deny.
Race Twelve: Selections 6-1-8
#6 Street Silence has been working lights out for debut and trainer is capable of producing first out winners. #1 Great Go Go has a difficult post for a firster; however, rider is very good at getting them to break sharply. Another that has some solid works and may outrun odds in this spot. #8 Boss of Bourbon St takes the plunge in class and had the ultimate equipment change as connections try to get this one in the winners’ circle here at Laurel.