Maryland Horse Racing: The Mid-Atlantic Sleeper; Selections for Saturday at Laurel Park

January 11, 2013 | Gary Quill

In a recent article by Tom LaMarra titled “Things That Make You Go Hmmmm (12)“, he makes an observation about thoroughbred racing in the state of Maryland, that many who cover this industry seem to ignore. That is, the quality of horse racing in the Free State will dramatically improve in 2013. Here’s an excerpt from the article…

One of the upsets of the year came in December when Maryland racing stakeholders announced a 10-year agreement on Thoroughbred racing dates, stabling, and capital improvements before the final week of month. … The previous two years there were doubts Laurel Park would open the first of year because of the lack of an agreement between horsemen and the Maryland Jockey Club. … Third time is the charm, I guess.

Maryland by the way, is the Mid-Atlantic sleeper. The two MJC tracks (Laurel and Pimlico) don’t have casino gambling but, through legislation, receive a cut that has quietly increased purses to about $250,000 a day, with more to come. … With excellent racing surfaces, good stabling, and a well-thought out schedule, Maryland will be the place to be. … I’m probably in the minority with that assessment but will stick by it, because the alternatives in the region pale in comparison and are far more about casino gambling than horse racing.

Thank you Mr. LaMarra for putting these facts in print, but wished you would have clarified that even though “The two MJC tracks don’t have casino gambling…”, the five (5) slots parlors in the state are gearing up to offer full-blown casino action (i.e. table games) in the latter part of 2013, thanks to a referendum passed by voters in the recent election.

This will keep the over $5 million in Marylander gambling funds in state, which is bad news for WV, DE and PA. Now that all Mid-Atlantic states that have racing are back on a level playing field, look for MD tracks to return to their glory days of pre-casino gambling.

Recapping the final posted selections at Laurel Park from Saturday, Jan. 5th had just 4 winners from 9 races (3 Top Selections; pay-offs shown in BOLD type) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $15.40 (3rd), $8.00 (4th), $6.20 (6th), and $12.20 (8th).

The BEST BET of the Day(2 0-0-0) Chac Mool (5-2 PT; 7-2 M/L) on paper was lone speed, but the race is never run on paper. A few yards out of the gate Chac Mool found himself not on lead, as the jock on #3 – Access Love (the longest shot in the field) decided to change tactics and go for the lead. Game Over for Chac Mool who used more energy than initially thought to simply stay ½ length behind the after 4 furlongs, and gave way in the final 1/8th.

The LONGSHOT PICK (2 0-0-0) Lady Outflanker (6-1 PT; 10-1 M/L) with a jock who had put her in contention early in previous races, let her lag far behind in this one, on a track that wasn’t being kind to deep closers. Though she made up quite a bit of ground in the stretch, she still only managed a 5th place finish.

For Saturday races the weather forecast calls for Mostly Cloudy skies with just a 20% chance of precipitation, meaning the track will be FAST at Laurel Park on Saturday Jan. 12th. Selections for all races posted were handicapped based on making multi-race wagers such as DOUBLE’s, Pick-3’s and Pick-4’s using all three (3) listed for each race in each leg.

1st race – $8,000 Maiden Claiming for F&M 4 y.o. & up – 7 furlongs
#9 – Summer Court (8-1) $$$ LONGSHOT $$$
#3 – Ipanema Bay (5-1)
#7 – Spring Date (4-1)

2nd race – $16,000 Claiming for 3 y.o. – 5½ furlongs
#5 – Cowboy Cat (5-2) —- SCRATCHED
#6 – Video Storm (2-1)
#2 – Ronello (5-1)
#3 – Volastic (4-1)

3rd race – $5,000 Claiming for 4 y.o. OR N3L 5 y.o. & up – 6 furlongs
#2 – Flipion (9-2)
#11 – In Hot Pursuit (3-1)
#8 – Joribe (10-1)

4th race – $10,000 Claiming for F&M 4 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#7 – Harbor Fox (6-5)
#2 – Unicorn Girl (6-1)
#3 – World Gone Wrong (10-1)

5th race – $5,000 Claiming N2L for 4 y.o. & up – 5½ furlongs
#9 – Harry’s Our Hero (7-2)
#10 – Brad (5-2)
#7 – Current Design (3-1)

6th race – $18,000 Claiming for 4 y.o. & up – 6 furlongs
#7 – Manito (5-2)
#3 – Standup Comic (20-1)
#1 – Regal Revenge (8-5)

7th race – $40,000 Allowance N1X for F&M 4 y.o. & up – about 1 1/16 miles
#1 – Greek Thunder (9-2) *** BEST BET ***
#6 – Brimstone island (2-1)
#4 – Field Pass (5-2)

8th race – $125,000 What A Summer Stakes for F&M 4 y.o. & up – 6 furlongs
#5 – Dance to Bristol (3-1)
#2 – Made to Love Her (5-1)
#8 – Bold Affair (6-5)

9th race – $38,000 Maiden Special Weight for 3 y.o. fillies – 6 furlongs
#1 – Miss Moonshine (9-2)
#3 – My Cousin Zinny (4-1)
#7 – Petit Trianon (1-1)