Paul Quigley's American Racing Preview

    Paul has selections with analysis for Saturday night's Stateside action on February 17 from Aqueduct and Laurel Park - Live on At The Races
  • Friday 16 February 2018
  • Tipsters

PAUL'S ANALYSIS FROM Aqueduct and Laurel Park
Saturday 17 February 2018


There was a time when Laurel Park in Maryland hosted one of the most prestigious races on the world calendar. The Washington D.C. International was won by the likes of Dahlia and All Along. The final running was in 1994 and the races demise plus that of the once Grade 1 De Francis Memorial Dash mirrors the tracks itself. It has struggled to generate the income that the slot machine bankrolled venues have within an hour or two’s drive away. There are still some big stakes days at Laurel and Saturday is one of them. Half a dozen competitive contests, the best of them being graded event for both sexes over seven furlongs.

With $550,000 on offer in the pair of feature races, there is a strong raiding party from New York. In The General George (Grade 3), the market may be headed by Big Apple shippers Great Stuff and Do Share. Both are last time out stakes winners. Similarly in The Barbara Fritchie (Grade 2) for fillies and mares, most of the principals were successful in their latest starts. Ms Locust Point looks the filly to catch. Berned will be trying to close from well back. In between will be contenders such as Divine Miss Grey and Highway Star.


Aqueduct Race 3 (6.50pm)
The Haynesfield – A stake for New York bred 4 year olds and upwards – 1 Mile - Dirt

All of these have some sort of claims even likely outsider Hit It Once More (5). He has speed in a paceless affair and that could see him bounce back to form. Can You Diggit (4) ran a fine second in a similar event to this on his return. He was disadvantaged as winner set an easy tempo on the front end. The cut back to a mile and to one turn isn’t necessarily in his favour. That’s especially true the way this race plots to be run. It may not hinder Extinct Charm (1) who finished behind him last time if is ridden more aggressively.

Papa Shot (6) hasn’t raced since October. He was placed in a trio of New York bred stakes in the summer. He goes on dry and wet tracks. Turf runner Clutch Cargo (3) handled the slop well when winning his first race on dirt last time. That leaves Uncle Sigh (2). He’s now seven and hasn’t raced in stakes company since early in his career. He won first time after a claim by Rudy Rodriguez last month. He won’t be the first re-tread his trainer has managed to turn around. He gets the vote here.

PAUL'S SELECTION
Uncle Sigh (2)
EXOTIC BETS
No Exotics

BET ON US RACING
You can place single and some exotic bets with many of the following UK bookmakers:
Betfair | William Hill | Sky Bet | Bet365 | Ladbrokes | Paddy Power |
Coral | Betway | Betfred | BoyleSports | RaceBets | Stan James


Laurel Park Race 5 (7.30pm)
The John B. Campbell – A stake for 4 year olds and upwards – 1 1/8 Miles - Dirt

Turco Bravo (1) ran at Aqueduct on Thursday. It is highly unlikely his connections will run the nine year old back so quickly. In his expected absence there looks to be two prime contenders. Afleet Willy (3) is effective at as short as six furlongs. He did win a stake over this course and distance last November. His 2018 return can be ignored as he was badly bumped and ran more to type next time. He won a local stake by five lengths from Bodhisattva (2) with Monongahela (5) almost the same distance further back. Massively in his favour is a pace advantage over his rivals. Jockey Jomar Torres should have him on the lead going his pace.

If Afleet Willy is to be turned over, the hat-trick seeking Zanotti (4) look to be the one. He progressed throughout last year. In December he defied an absence to upset a stakes field at Aqueduct. He has tactical speed and should stalk within striking range.

PAUL'S SELECTION
Afleet Willy (3)
EXOTIC BETS
No Exotics

BET ON US RACING
You can place single and some exotic bets with many of the following UK bookmakers:
Betfair | William Hill | Sky Bet | Bet365 | Ladbrokes | Paddy Power |
Coral | Betway | Betfred | BoyleSports | RaceBets | Stan James


Laurel Park Race 6 (8.00pm)
The Miracle Wood – A stake for 3 year olds – 1 Mile - Dirt

Still Having Fun (1) is looking a bargain as only a $12,000 sales purchase. He won on debut in November before running second in a stake for Maryland breds in December. His third and latest performance was his best. He won a stake over course and distance by four and half lengths. There looked to be no fluke about it. Runner up and even money favourite Wentz (5) ran a similar speed figure to that of his maiden win. He finished just ahead of V. I. P. Code (3) who appreciated coming back to one turn.

Still Having Fun is a possible regression candidate so the pair he beat last time are worth a look. So is Old Time Revival (6) who was used up in a speed duel in the same event. Another one of Still Having Fun’s victims Oldfashioned Club (4) stumbled and lost all chance at the start.

He Hate Me (7) is an interesting new face. He was unbeaten in two starts as a juvenile including a stake at Belmont last June. There was very likely a physical issue as he wasn’t seen out until last month in a stake at Tampa. He ran into a cracking sprinter then. If he comes on for the run, he’s a player for top spot.

PAUL'S SELECTION
Still Having Fun (1)
EXOTIC BETS
Reversed Exacta (2 Bets) Still Having Fun (1) and He Hate Me (7)

BET ON US RACING
You can place single and some exotic bets with many of the following UK bookmakers:
Betfair | William Hill | Sky Bet | Bet365 | Ladbrokes | Paddy Power |
Coral | Betway | Betfred | BoyleSports | RaceBets | Stan James


Laurel Park Race 7 (8.30pm)
The Maryland Racing Media – A stake for fillies and mares – 4 year olds and upwards – 1 1/16 Miles - Dirt

Bishop's Pond (1) made her name on turf. She made her dirt debut last September and was a wide margin winner. Last month she was five lengths too good for Garcia Luis (5) and Miss Inclusive (10) in a local stake. Her only loss on dirt when in too deep in a Grade 1 at Belmont. She looks to be the primary speed of this event and looks an obvious wire to wire contender. Her connections can run here for $100,000 or three times that in the Grade 2 later on the card. There she meets much better competition and her rider work out some sort of stalking trip behind a pacey filly.

Just Got Out (2) would be a beneficiary if Bishop's Pond is scratched. She set easy fractions when an all the way winner of a stake at Aqueduct last month. She is on a hat-trick and is much improved since Linda Rice claimed her for only $20,000. She draws better than fellow New York invader Felini (9). Kendrick Carmouche must get her out an across in an effort not to be hung wide.

A neck separated In the Navy Now (6) and Line of Best Fit (4) with Sky Flower (5) just behind in a stake over course and distance last month. They are all worth a look.

PAUL'S SELECTION
Bishop's Pond (1)
EXOTIC BETS
No Exotics

BET ON US RACING
You can place single and some exotic bets with many of the following UK bookmakers:
Betfair | William Hill | Sky Bet | Bet365 | Ladbrokes | Paddy Power |
Coral | Betway | Betfred | BoyleSports | RaceBets | Stan James


Laurel Park Race 8 (9.00pm)
The Wide Country – A stake for 3 year old fillies – 7 Furlongs - Dirt

This is not a strong race for the level. That’s why Chad Brown has supplemented Fools Gold (4). She broke her maiden at Aqueduct last month by almost eight lengths. Although she has to be reckoned with here, on paper she’s only third or even fourth best based on speed figures.

A trio of these ran with credit in a local stake over six furlongs last month. Last True Love (7) ran second, a length clear of Enchanted Ghost (3) with Aggregator (6) fifth. Last True Love could be loose on the lead here although Aggregator who was bumped early last time may keep her honest. Over this furlong longer distance, Enchanted Ghost gets the vote. She was closing steadily last time and has won over as far as mile.

Deep Red (2) is much improved. She was successful either side of runner up try in a stake here.

PAUL'S SELECTION
Enchanted Ghost (3)
EXOTIC BETS
No Exotics

BET ON US RACING
You can place single and some exotic bets with many of the following UK bookmakers:
Betfair | William Hill | Sky Bet | Bet365 | Ladbrokes | Paddy Power |
Coral | Betway | Betfred | BoyleSports | RaceBets | Stan James


Laurel Park Race 9 (9.30pm)
The General George (Grade 3) – 4 year olds and upwards – 7 Furlongs - Dirt

The likely two market leaders are New York shippers. Both Great Stuff (9) and Do Share (10) are deep closers and last time stakes winners. The first named was a clear cut victor of a Grade 3 over seven furlongs at Aqueduct last month. He was the beneficiary of a speed duel up front but he did run very well all the same. At the same venue in December, he finished just behind Do Share (10) in a stake over six furlongs. Do Share has now won seven of his last nine starts including a victory over today’s distance. He’s been prevented from racing since due a bout of equine herpes at his Belmont base.

There is likely speed for Great Stuff and Do Share to chase down. Cowboy Mz (1) and Awesome Banner (2) are both front end types. If either were to scratch, the other moves up the pecking order. The rail drawn runner has won back to back allowance events on the front end at Parx. He gets a class and stamina test here but is well worth his place in this line up. Awesome Banner can front run but did stalk when winning a stake over six furlongs here last month. He was ending a long, losing run and has back class. Just behind him last time was It's the Journey (4) and Something Awesome (6). The first named is of interest at a price here. He improved in the second half of last year winning a stare bred stake by open lengths over course and distance. He’ll get first run on the classy late runners and that could be crucial.

PAUL'S SELECTION
It's the Journey (4)
EXOTIC BETS
Combination Exacta (6 Bets) Awesome Banner (2), It's the Journey (4) and Great Stuff (9)

BET ON US RACING
You can place single and some exotic bets with many of the following UK bookmakers:
Betfair | William Hill | Sky Bet | Bet365 | Ladbrokes | Paddy Power |
Coral | Betway | Betfred | BoyleSports | RaceBets | Stan James


Laurel Park Race 10 (10.00pm)
The Barbara Fritchie (Grade 2) – Fillies and Mares – 4 year olds and upwards – 7 Furlongs - Dirt

There isn’t a lot of early speed in here. That is an advantage for John Servis’s Ms Locust Point (9) who is the likely leader. If brother Jason scratches Bishop's Pond (8) to run in race 7, that takes away one likely possible partner. She missed a lot of her three year old season but has rattled up a hat-trick since she returned in November. In the latest, she beat Tazkeya (5) last month to win a local stake over six furlongs. She did win a stake over course and distance as a juvenile.

Divine Miss Grey (1) ships down from New York in fine form. She has won back to back starts at Aqueduct. In the latest, she beat Boule (2) by nearly four lengths in a stakes event over seven furlongs. She has tactical speed and is likely to be positioned early in striking distance behind likely leader Ms Locust Point. Highway Star (11) won’t be too far back off the early fractions. She was much improved last year winning five times including a Grade 2 at Belmont last September. Her poor effort at The Breeders’ Cup can be forgiven but her last run in December was a little flat. At her best, she’s the gal to beat here.

Berned (6) is one of a number of newly turned four year olds in here. She has spent most of her career running over two turns. Graham Motion shortened her up to seven furlongs last September and she shaped well in a Grade 3 at Charles Town. At Laurel in November, she put it all together with a swift victory in a stake over today’s trip. She’s a deep closer who is likely to get far back. It didn’t cost her last time despite not having a fast pace to chase down. This is a much better field but she’s worth a chance to confirm the impression she made. She’s been training in Florida since her last race which could be an advantage over the gals who have stayed in Maryland and New York.

PAUL'S SELECTION
Berned (6)
EXOTIC BETS
Reversed Exacta (2 Bets) Berned (6) and Ms Locust Point (9)

BET ON US RACING
You can place single and some exotic bets with many of the following UK bookmakers:
Betfair | William Hill | Sky Bet | Bet365 | Ladbrokes | Paddy Power |
Coral | Betway | Betfred | BoyleSports | RaceBets | Stan James


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