Laurel has a stakes-laden card today capped by the Grade 2 General George and Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie for older sprinters. Let’s take a look at their late pick-4.
Race 7 – Miracle Wood – 3 yos, 7 furlongs, dirt – The favorite is #4 O Dionysus (8-5) who lost a nose decision to subsequent Fountain of Youth Stakes winner Irish War Cry two back and last time got stuck wrangled back behind a moderate pace, was shuffled back, and came running again late to just miss in the Frank Whitely. He’s the horse to beat, and should be aided by the seemingly lack of pace in here. Our pick, however, is #6 Everybodylovesrudy (4-1) for trainer Rudy Rodriguez. He’s one of only two horses in here to have been a mile and he’s 1-3 with two seconds at the distance. You can forgive his two-turn, muddy Jerome last time and the one-turn race with an outside stalking trip he projects to get should suit him well on this track. #7 High Roller (5-2) won the Miracle Wood last time but had a clean outside trip while O Dionysus was bottled up on the inside.
A – 4, 6
B – none
C – none
Race 8 – John Campbell – 4/up, 9 furlongs, dirt – The horse to beat is #6 Page McKenny (2-1), a very good local runner who on the 7-furlong General George last year (and is co-entered in that race but will reportedly run here). He got hurt after the Charles Town Classic in April and had a useful comeback race that did not come back that fast. He will improve off that, but might be overbet. The problem is there aren’t that many places to go for a good alternative. The obvious new face is #5 Turco Bravo (3-1), but he hasn’t run since August and 9 furlongs might be a touch short. #4 Souper Lucky (5-2) hasn’t run since March but is 6-11 at Laurel (and 1-14 everywhere else). I wish there were some better alternatives, but I think you’ll be OK with these top three choices.
A – 4, 5
B – 6
C – none
Race 9 – Barbara Fritchie (G2) – 4/up F&M, 7 furlongs, dirt – #8 Wonder Gal (9-2) has long been a favorite and she projects for a very good outside stalking trip in this race. Her race last time was aided by being on a gold rail, but her other races aren’t that far off on figures and I’ve always felt she was better at one-turn. I prefer #3 By the Moon (2-1) to #1 High Ridge Road (5-2) of those coming out of the Thirty Eight Go Go, but will use both. We’ll let the Interborough horses beat us, even #7 Clothes Fall Off (8-1) who might have needed one last time.
A – 3, 8
B – none
C – 1
Race 10 – General George (G2) – 4/up, 7 furlongs, dirt – This is probably the race to make something happen in this sequence. The favorite is going to be #6 Stallwalkin Dude (5-2); he’ll likely be shorter than the 5-2 ML since the morning line includes Page McKenney, expected to scratch to run in the 8th, at 7-2. He can win but there are some interesting alternatives. #5 Imperial Hint (3-1) is the speed, but has to get a 7th furlong here. He did win two weak Tampa races last year going 7 furlongs but he might be better going 6 furlongs. I think #7 Voluntario (15-1) is interesting at a big price. As with Everybodylovesrudy earlier, he last ran when Rudy Rodriguez was going through a bad slump, and didn’t run poorly. He chased Ocean Knight who was setting a very slow pace. Each of his two previous races give him something of a fighting chance. #9 Heaven’s Runway (6-1) has run well each of his last two races, including winning a prep for this race here on New Year’s Eve. The issue is the 7th furlong, so we’ll use but prefer others. #10 Ocean Knight (10-1), referenced earlier, was always supposed to be pretty good. He was aided by a slow pace last time, but had no chance two-back in the Cigar Mile. Three back in the Kelso, he ran well, and was compromised by a crawling pace set by eventual winner Anchor Down. Turning back to 7 furlongs and getting an outside stalking trip, we’ll give him a big chance. #4 Classy Class (15-1) got wired last time but spent most of the race on the good inside and will have to really take a step forward.
A – 6, 7, 10
B – none
C – 4, 9
Here’s the play (via DRF Ticketmaker) for $62.