Opening day at Laurel brought us:
A new track record set by Jazzy Idea in the Jameela Stakes. The three year-old daughter of Great Notion bid up wide rounding the turn and swept past the leaders to post a popular three-length victory, stopping the clock in the six-furlong grass race in an eye-catching 1:07.45 — two ticks faster than Chasin Tiger’s 2007 record. Colony Club was second, and 21-1 longshot Queen Chatanika earned the show. Rider Luis Garcia observed, “I have ridden a lot of good horses but this filly is something else. When I asked her she was as strong as any I have been aboard.” Jazzy Idea will be pointed to the Maryland Million for her next start.
- Plenty of full fields, as the latest experiment of “pay them and they will come” takes shape with nicely boosted purses. Five of the nine races on the card drew double-digit starters, and the five dirt races — expected to be toughest to fill — drew an average of nine starters each. That led to decent handle, as the track faces, for the first time, head-to-head competition with slots at nearby Arundel Mills.
- A pretty well handicapped Race o’, as our Jameela choices all acquitted themselves well. Jazzy Idea (“the 2-1 favorite, and why not?” we said) earned the win, Colony Club (“leaning towards her to get the money”) grabbed the place, and longshot choices Queen Chatanika and Thisdanseistaken (both “have a lean and hungry look”) finished third and fifth. Meanwhile, 9-5 second choice Bold Affair (“those odds are too short”) lacked a bid, according to the chart.
For today’s Race o, with rain falling and possibly driving races off the turf, let’s take a look at race 4, which is a $7500 never-won-two claimer for fillies and mares going 5 1/2 furlongs on the main track. It’s drawn a field of eight with a moderate 5-2 favorite in, appropriately enough, Our Favorite. She’s been away since June and switches into Howard Wolfendale’s barn; she’s showing two inconclusive works since the switch, and Wolfendale does well bringing horses back off the layoff. I’m not a huge fan of layoff horses at short odds, though; it feels like you should get some sort of premium for playing a horse with an obvious question mark. I’m kinda liking Gator Gone Wild in this spot at 7-2; the sophomore may have a bit of bridesmaid-itis, as she’s been second or third in five of eight starts, but her last was a near-miss second against $12,500 horses at Charles Town, and the show horse that day returned a winner. Trainer Thomas Iannotti will send out the appropriately named Changingoftheguard, who will make his first start for the trainer. The horse dusted cheaper maidens two back, ran credibly in her first try against winners, and with only six starts under her belt, has the right to improve. And if Brightcopperkettle successfully switches back to the main track, she should compete well here, though, after eight consecutive races with odds of at least 11-1, taking anything like her morning line of 9-2 would be tough to stomach.