ANAL­Y­SIS

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Laurel -

BEST BET: RACE 5, S W BRIAR ROSE

FIRST RACE

FIF­TEEN K shows a $4K pur­chase price and be­fore this en­try for $12.5K her pre­vi­ous tags were $35K & $25K, so the drop could tilt more to­ward re­al­ism than pes­simism. Yes, maiden was in an off-turfer, but she beat 12 foes there. Failed to stay a true route two back but guess­ing she can get a one-turn mile. Not a bad run last time - prob­a­bly just in too tough. JUST A WHIM did all her best work on turf last year, though first two dirt races came be­fore blink­ers went on. Maybe it was longer dis­tances as much as grass that helped? Maybe not? Droops con­sid­er­ably fol­low­ing lay­off but earn­ings al­ready well over pub­lished pur­chase price. Light work pat­tern but it’s also the time of year when train­ing can be com­pro­mised by weather. Tough call, re­ally. CA­TE­RINA ONE can make an im­pact if she can cope with run­ning back one week af­ter her last start.

SEC­OND RACE

SANDY LANE did get a fa­vor­able setup last time and an even bet­ter one in his win two back, but solid form is not solely re­lated to race flow. Cross out the turf race and he’s just a geld­ing that fits at or about this class. Al­ways pre­fer horses that can make their own race and aren’t pace-de­pen­dent but he was fair-priced in last two and per­haps will be again. KOPPER WIRED gen­er­ally has raced at higher class lev­els but with this horse does it much mat­ter? Seems like he of­ten runs to the level of com­pe­ti­tion - as re­flected by 2-34 win mark. All that said he just needs to hold serve to con­tend. BROAD EX­PANSE a slightly poorer man’s ver­sion of the top pick. Would be a lit­tle con­cerned about re­gres­sion off a peak given the longer-term form arc.

THIRD RACE

LEAPT didn’t race for 10 months and upon De­cem­ber re­turn was en­tered in a PA-bred N1X al­lowance. That wasn’t an ab­surd class ask but it was an am­bi­tious spot and leads one to think this $8K N1Y claimer (or some­thing of this ilk) was the main goal all along. LIT­TLE UNITED earned a $3K claim­ing-price rise af­ter sec­ond straight win came in blowout fash­ion, but she seems as likely to take a step back as to re­peat the per­for­mance and the price could be un­der­laid. TRUFFLESBERG some-

what qui­etly is back down to a level at which she might punch fairly hard.

FOURTH RACE

En­tirely pos­si­ble EASTERN BAY never gets back to the form peak he hit about one year ago, but that did hap­pen, and those races are good enough to win this. Didn’t hit stride dur­ing that pe­riod un­til fourth race into form cy­cle and here we are again - fourth start of form cy­cle. Fine draw for pre­ferred stalkand-pounce trip at a short-sprint dis­tance that suits. As­sume the value will be there. COZY LOVER chased a strong pace and didn’t run badly at all last out re­turn­ing from a seven-month lay­off in race at this level. He has plenty of races show­ing good enough to con­tend, al­though none came at LRL and there’s a pace-duel risk in play here. GREATBULLSOFFIRE con­tin­ues to be kept out of claim­ing ranks and clearly takes a step down in class af­ter a de­cent sixth in a stakes race. Up­side does seem lim­ited, how­ever.

FIFTH RACE

S W BRIAR ROSE has crossed the line first or sec­ond in her last seven starts and was in front in five of those. Last-out win came at this $16K starter class at 5f trip slightly short of her best, and she’s just rock-solid with this type at the mo­ment. Bar­ring poor breaks and un­ex­pected tac­ti­cal changes there’ll be plenty of pace in front of her. She worked back a snappy 3f since last and ought to get an­other nice run into the fray, hope­fully at fair (7-2ish?) price. MISS JAK just ran out of ground when a clos­ing third be­hind the top pick in that 5f tilt last time. Race shape also could flat­ter her style but less con­fi­dent she pro­duces her A game than with Briar Rose. PO­LITE PEARL typ­i­cally leads and though she was clos­ing in from sec­ond last time that prob­a­bly was more a case of be­ing out­run by a fast horse than do­ing any real rat­ing. Con­cern is she gets swept up into fast splits with BYE BYE BLUES seem­ingly com­mit­ted to the front from rail draw.

SIXTH RACE

Clearly the idea is to move on from TOP CZAR by drop­ping him down to this $12.5K claim­ing price, but win and get claimed is prefer­able to lose and get claimed, isn’t it? Any of his six ca­reer starts looks good enough to beat this bunch. GREAT NA­TION was fac­ing strong com­pe­ti­tion in any case and then clipped heels dur­ing the run­ning of his most re­cent race. Just two races ago he was sec­ond at this level. Out­side draw seems suitable for com­mit­ted front-run­ner PO­PLAR AV­ENUE, but re­gard­less of the par­tic­u­lars he’s con­sis­tently been stop­ping at the eighth pole.

SEV­ENTH RACE

PAZ THE WINE’s lit­tle burst prob­a­bly suits this 5.5-fur­long trip bet­ter than the 6 she ran last time. Clearly fits the spot and even in a rel­a­tively short field there ap­pears to be suf­fi­cient speed to keep this from turn­ing into a pa­rade. DOROTHY VAUGHAN dropped be­low De­cem­ber claim­ing price paid by this owner seek­ing a form turn­around. Might’ve got­ten too much of the pace last out. SHANG­HAI GLORY has faced higher-class foes through­out ca­reer and is fa­vor­ably drawn out­side the other speed, but still don’t trust her to see it out to the wire.

EIGHTH RACE

DANCINGWITHPAYNTER is go­ing to be a lousy win price in a race lack­ing any other ob­vi­ous op­tions. Sec­ond while beaten a mile last time, but chalk that one up to two turns. Much more com­pet­i­tive show­ing two back at this one-turn mile while mak­ing her first start down with $5K N2L claimers like these. CON­GRATS GRAD­U­ATE was in a race too short last time and ac­tu­ally fin­ished in front of the top pick on Nov. 4. She has, of course, run back roughly 30 times since then, so . . . ARBUTUS might be for­given the two-turn slop flop in Dec. 31 come­back from two-month break, but then you also have to ex­plain away the pre­vi­ous fast-track, 7f dirt fail­ure last fall. Squint hard enough and you might see an ex­acta part­ner, I guess.

SCRATCH BOARD

Here are the horses en­tered to­day who have been scratched in the last 45 days and have not raced since the scratch. Def­i­ni­tions: Off the turf: Turf race switched to main track. Trainer: Any scratch made by a trainer, in­clud­ing ones for weather, med­i­cal is­sues, a de­ci­sion not to run in a stakes race, a horse en­tered back the next rac­ing day, or a con­di­tional en­try (i.e., main track only for a turf race). Vet: In­jury or ill­ness. Ste­ward: Ad­min­is­tra­tive is­sues like med­i­ca­tion and el­i­gi­bil­ity.

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