Laurel Heats Up Horse Game With Winter Carnival of Racing

Sports and Bets — February 14, 2015 at 9:30 am by

Laurel Park becomes the focus of the American horseracing world this President’s weekend with their Winter Carnival of Racing.  On Saturday, the card features three stakes races including the Grade Two Barbara Fritchie Handicap.  Legend has it that Ol’ Barb waved an American flag at Stonewall Jackson’s Confederate troops as they marched through Frederick during General Lee’s Maryland campaign.  Somebody even wrote a poem about it.  Of course it turns out, as so many of these legends do, that the poem was wrong and that it was not Barbara Fritchie who waved the Stars and Stripes to mess with the rebels, but a lady named Mary Quantrell.  So while Barb’s poetic notoriety is horseshit, she was still a prominent figure in the town of Frederick’s history and she still gets a horse race named after her some 150 years later.

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On Monday, the feature is the General George Handicap.  If I need to give you a history lesson on George, well, then you’ve got education issues.  But regardless or your own intellectual limitations, having a sprint named after one of our country’s greatest Presidents and military leaders seems fitting.

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And both of these races are the real deal.  Horses have shipped in from all over the country and they’ve brought their regular jockeys with them.  Guys like Elvis Trujillo aren’t flying to Maryland from California to race in some cheap stakes race, babes.  They are here for the Grade 2 dollars.

So spend Valentine’s with the real loves of your life, horses and gambling.  And ladies, if your man is making a big effort to take you to dinner tonight, give him a pass and let the poor slug spend the day at the track.

Our focus here will be on Saturday’s Laurel card since I’ll be working on Monday, but we’ll give our pick for the General George as well. Giddy up and good luck!

Laurel Park, Saturday, February 14th

Race 4- AOC32K- The #1A Sonny Inspired, the second of the Schoenthal coupling, offers 5-1 ML value amongst this field.  Like how his form cycle and speed numbers are trending upward and it looks like he can rate from just off the pace, which may be key since there may not be  lot of speed in this.  Red hot Jevian Toledo in the irons certainly doesn’t hurt.  Finished only just over a length behind General George entrant Cutty Shark in last effort.  Could be sitting on one here?  Look for gelding to sit at the flank of Wonderfella before making his move.

Race 5- ALWs- We’ll try to beat the favored #4 with the lightly raced four year old, #8 Black Ice.  Fits in this and gets the services of our guy, Toledo.  Would like to see more works, but love the cutback in distance to the seven furlongs that he broke his maiden running.   May take more money than current 4-1 line would indicate though, but we’ll still play.

Race  6-  ALW- #6 Willie B Mine is coming off a nice claiming score at long odds and is stepping up here to try and do the same.  12-1 odds make this guy appealing as does the sudden spike in speed.  Willie bounce or does this gelding suddenly just get it?  Third place finisher in last wheeled back to trounce low level claimers.  Real interesting long shot special.

Race 7- John B Campbell H- #3 Page McKenney comes in off a freshening after a tough 2014 campaign that saw the gelding finish in the loot 11 of 12 times and in the win or place position in 10 of those 12 efforts.  We love the ponies that try hard and love to race and this guy fits the bill.  He’s versatile; can rate, be up front, or come from the clouds.  Hasn’t won at the distance, which is a concern, but in his last two, which were at nine panels, he was gaining on the leader when the wire came.  Capable horse in an interesting race.

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Race 8- Barbara Fritchie H- Sam’s Sister comes in from Cali as a seven furlong specialist and graded stakes star.  Her tactical turn of foot has tuned her into a major player.  Mad respect.  But we’ll go in another direction with one of the other players, #9 Lady Sabelia.  Has won here at Laurel five times, is ultra-consistent and has fired big time off of short freshenings like the one she’s gotten now.  Work on 2/8 is damn near mind-numbing and it looks like she’s sitting on a big one.  Can rate or go from the gate for wins and has a victory at the tricky seven panel distance under her saddle.  Locked in and loaded.

Race 9-  Maryland Racing Media- #5 Pearl Bay offers 8-1 ML value and may be long gone as the lone speed.  Freakish works during the break have a warm fuzzy feel and she’s another who always gives her all.  Second placer in last came back to win a 32K Aoc.  Hope Pearl gets clear and fends off the field so I can count my money.

General George

You won’t get 29-1 like you got last time on #5 Zee Bros here at Laurel for the Chick Lang Stakes, but we’ll stick with this sprinter against a solid field.  Also like #1 Bourbon Courage and #10 Outside Nashville.  We will tweet out how we’re doing today at the track and further General George analysis.

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Charm City Wire- the only local site who really gives a shit about horseracing.

cover: wbaltv

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