- Entries are up for Saturday’s Laurel card, and it’s an absolute home run — probably as good a card as we’ve seen at the old central Maryland track in years. Each of the six stakes on the card has drawn at least 10 horses, and three have 15 or more entered. Perhaps the best of them is the Lady Baltimore for three-and-up fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the lawn. Among the entrants are G1 winner Hooh Why; G3 winners Laughing, Naples Bay, and Silver Screamer; and numerous other stakes winners, including the talented Charged Cotton, clear winner of the All Brandy for Maryland-breds last month. Kudos to Georganne Hale and her team for putting together a great card!
- No horses were claimed yesterday. Four broke their maidens, two in noteworthy fashion. Reflecting defeated a field of maiden special horses in the seventh after enduring a rough trip: squeezed back into last at the start, forced to swing out widest of all in the lane, he closed sharply once finally clear to win a race in which the first five were all within two lengths. He made up some 13 lengths in the last two-and-a-half furlongs of the race. In the sixth, firster Where’s Dominic blitzed a field of juvenile maidens by 5 1/2 lengths, for trainer and co-owner Mike Trombetta. Other maiden breakers were Cobbler’s Mark and One Wild Kitty.
- Speaking of Where’s Dominic, he was one of our “I’d take the plunge” horses. He went off at 10.40-1, off a 15-1 morning line, and proved tons the best. Our other two didn’t fare as well. In the second, prohibitive fave Riley’s Rampage scratched, which meant that a) Over Marketed declined from an attractive 6-1 morning line to just less than 5-2 and b) the field was left at the mercy of lone speed Feisty Angelina, who controlled throughout and held off Over Marketed by 2 1/2. In the fifth, Wire Funds went off the favorite — huh? — and finished fourth, beaten 3/4 of a length. In fact, the first nine finishers in the race were all within 2 1/2.
- In today’s “I’d take the plunge,” I’d give a lot of consideration to Spin Out at 7-2 in the fourth. This Nick Zito-trainee is coming off a somewhat lackluster seventh-place finish in a first allowance at Belmont — won by 50-1 Ground Force — but everything he’d done before that makes him very live here. His two prior allowance tries, at Belmont and Saratoga, were good second and third-place finishes behind winners who have since won second-level allowance races. He ran eighth in the G1 King’s Bishop, but he was beaten just five lengths for all the money that day. Zito usually doesn’t come to Maryland without a good reason; he’s shipped only five non-stakes horses to Laurel or Pimlico in the last five years, and two of them have won (along with a third). Plus, Kendrick Carmouche has the call, and he and Zito team up to win 29 percent of the time… In the sixth, Over and Back is 8-1 in the morning line, and that feels a little generous to me. This son of Discreet Cat has improved strongly with each start, and in his last, on the grass, he was beaten just a half-length for the money. Though this race is back on the main track, his lone career victory (from three starts) came on the dirt. A horse he beat in his last, Alpha Mike Foxtrot, returned to be second by a neck in the Maryland Million Juvenile, and that one is 4-1 in here. Continued improvement for Over and Back would put him right in the mix here…