It appears that the Maryland Jockey Club has finally realized that in order to attract “Gen X” to the sport, it has to do more than the College Days- type promotion (i.e. reduced admission and concessions).During the 11-day Mini-Meet at Laurel Park, which starts on Saturday (July 31st) with a variety of prizes and concludes on August 22nd, with live racing Friday, Saturday and Sunday, here is what will be on tap…
Fridays 1st Post will be 3:35pm with Happy Hour Specials and FREE Admission, along with Foosball, Air Hockey and Darts in the Horse Wizard Room, Jockey Of The Day Draft, Rody Races and live music featuring Qi-Lo (Aug. 6), DiVibe & Conga (Aug. 13) and Willies Light (Aug. 20). Food and drink specials from 3:30-7:00pm feature $4 appetizers and $2 frozen drinks, drafts and wine.
Saturdays 1st Post is 1:10pm with $5 BBQ sandwich & sides on the Clubhouse Apron, $2 drink specials, live music from Sons of the Radio (July 31 & Aug. 14), Detour (Aug. 14) and Mama Jama (Aug. 21). There will be a Novice Handicapping Tournament on Aug. 7th and a Crab Feast on Aug. 21st.
Sundays are being billed as “Sunday Brunch Jazz Days”. For $24.95 enjoy a buffet, complimentary champagne and live jazz music. Rob Levit will perform on August 1st and 15th while Gail Marten will be featured on August 8th and 22nd.
The meet will feature the return of the All Turf Pick 3, where bettors must pick the winner of three consecutive (turf) races. This wager will end the card (i.e. last 3 races) on every Saturday of the Meet. Look for an abundance of turf races at Laurel Park as the Maryland Jockey Club will take advantage of the fact surrounding tracks turf courses have gotten beat up due to the hot, dry summer.
At the conclusion of the meet, live racing shifts to Timonium (aka The Big T) for a 7-day state fair stand. The Laurel Park Fall meeting will begin after the Labor Day holiday.
For each day of this 11 day meet, I will post a blog offering up my opinions, as I have done below. As an added item, I’ll feature what I call “SHOW Parlay Play of the Day”. I’ll start with a mythical $100 bankroll, using $20 of it to start the parlay. I figure the odds of sustaining a single SHOW parlay play for 11 consecutive racing days might be a reach. Therefore, we’ll have a reserve to tap into if/when a play loses.
A note for novices, when you bet to SHOW, it means your horse must finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Your payoff is the price posted under the SHOW column. A parlay means whatever the return is on your wager; you bet that entire amount on the next bet (i.e. “let it ride”).
For the Laurel Park Mini-Meet, Day 1 (Saturday, July 31st)…
Best Bet: Got A Notion (#1; 4th race; 5-1)
This 4 year old filly made her 2010 debut going 5 furlongs at Penn National and the running line appears to have been a nice work for a better effort here going an extra panel. She faces a rather weak group of NW2L who have spent their careers at this level while she has faced better. Expect closer to 3-1 come Post Time.
Longshot: Pins ‘N Needles (# 1; 5th race on the turf; 10-1)
Rarely throws in a klunker but at the same time, rarely visits the Winners Circle (4 for 44; 1 for 21 on turf), that’s why his odds might be double-digits. On the positive side, he has placed in 1 of 2 previous races on the Laurel Park lawn, which also happens to be the race where he’s run his personal Best Beyer Speed Figure. Go light to WIN, but double up in the PLACE and SHOW.
SHOW Parlay available bankroll: $100When starting a SHOW parlay, you’re looking for a good return to establish a base to build on which also means it is your riskiest selection. As a rule, we should find a large field (8 or more starters) and avoid the favorite. With this being said, let’s go!
SHOW Parlay Play of the Day: $20 on Go Maire Tu (# 8; 1st race on turf; 3-1) Right out of the gate to test the pristine Laurel turf course, this 2 year old gelding was runner-up in his career debut at Colonial, where the winner came back to run a creditable 3rd in at Delaware Park in Allowance company. The switch to Maryland’s best turf rider (Horatio Karamanos) makes him a great bet to hit the board, if not graduate today.
For more of my selections at Laurel Park and other tracks across the country, visit GQ’s No Chalk Zone at the following link…
It’s a beautiful day to go to Opening Day at lovely Laurel. If you have other plans, then make it a point to go on one of the other 10 days. You might actually find yourself having fun. Good Luck!