Laurel Park Saturday Selections & Sham Stakes

January 07, 2012 | Gary Quill

The first Saturday of the new year and it appears Laurel Park is poised to have a fantastic winter meet. Opening Day on Wednesday drew national attention as Rapid Redux, put his North American record 21 consecutive race win streak on the line, and didn’t disappoint horse racing fans as he refused to let Awesome Rhythm pass him, pushing his win streak to 22.

On Saturday Laurel Park is having NFL Playoff Happy Hour in the “Horse Wizard” from 3:30pm – 7:30pm with the following food and drink specials…
$1 Cheeseburger Sliders with French Fries
$3 Chicken Twists with French Fries (Choice of Plain, Buffalo or Thai Chili BBQ)
$1 Funnel Cakes with Cherry Topping
$4 Margarita, Bloody Mary or Orange Crush
$4 Draft Beer (16 oz. Bud or Coors Light)
$4 House Wine (Raspberry Sweet or Naked Chardonnay)

The new year also means every thoroughbred is a year older and all those promising 2 year old colts and geldings who races in 2011 will now battle it out on the Kentucky Derby Trail, where it seems every weekend will have at least one significant race for 3 year olds, to be used as either a stepping step or a reality check in assessing their chances to Run For The Roses (aka Kentucky Derby).

One such race is the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. It’s a Grade 3 but only drew a field of six (6). The 4-5 Morning Line favorite is the Bob Baffert trained Secret Circle (#4)who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint last November. In the Sham, he’ll have to carry his speed for two more furlongs and will have a few competitors pressing him early. This is why I like #5 – Longview Drive (8-1) here. In his most recent effort, he was a fast closing third in the Grade 3 Delta Jackpot on a track that had an overwhelming speed bias that day. The fact that trainer Jerry Hollendorfer continues to aggressively place this horse in graded stakes races indicates to me that we haven’t seen to best from Longview Drive yet. Post Time for the Sham Stakes is scheduled for 4:32PM EDT (1:32PM PDT).

Here are my opinions for Laurel Park’s Winter Meet Saturday card, January 7, 2011.

1st race – $15,000 Claiming – 5½ furlongs
#2 – Three Ways Home (3-1)
#5 – Macho Queen (7-2)
#1/1A – Seeyounthetown / Nashi (7-5)

2nd race – $5,000 Claiming – 7 furlongs
#3 – Sinners Repent (4-1) *** BEST BET ***
#4 – Big Boy Charlie (7-5)
#7 – Hit A Homer (8-1)

3rd race – $25,000 Maiden Claiming – 6 furlongs
#5 – Pool Party (4-1)
#7 – Bluegrass Koop (5-2)
#3 – Fredericka La Rose (9-2)

4th race – $30,000 Maidens – fillies and mares – 5½ furlongs
#7 – Midnight Ramble (7-5)
#3 – A New Dawn (6-1)
#5 – Sound it Out (5-2)

5th race – $5,000 Claiming for fillies and mares – 1 1/16 miles
#7 – Pedroia (7-2)
#9 – Nightswimming (5-1)
#3 – Franstein (5-2)

6th race – $25,000 Optional Claiming NW2X – 1 mile
#4 – Purely Love (4-1)
#3 – Touch The Birds(2-1)
#6 – Carrietta (5-2)

7th race – $5,000 Claiming NW2L – 7 furlongs
#4 – Diner Gal (7-2)
#9 – Athenamore (4-1)
#8 – Voeux (5-1)

8th race – $31,000 Allowance N1X – 5½ furlongs
#3 – Touch Screen (8-1)
#2 – Queen Chatanika (9-2)
#7 – Floating Alone(5-2)

9th race – $5,000 Claiming NW3Y – 5½ furlongs
#4 – Little Bang (10-1) $$$ LONGSHOT PICK $$$
#7 – Star Money (8-1)
#1/1A – Just Christina/ Who Plays Brahms (1-1)

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