An interesting featured puzzler is Friday’s eighth from Laurel Park, a race that has everything; speed, stalkers, stamina types, barn changes and rider switches.
After making a video review, we decided on two contenders for the win spot and each boast good early line odds at 8-1; Walkin On a Dream, leaving from the pole, and Smart Step, who springs from mid-gate.
Workin On a Dream’s win at today’s 7-furlong trip back in February revealed gate speed good enough to shake loose, the ability to handle turn pressure, and the heart to finish the job. Breaking from the outside that day, he draws the rail here–not ideal at today’s trip and race dynamics.
Smart Step has a number of advantages here; recency coupled with three purposeful drills subsequently, a the turn-back to his winning distance from two straight miles, providing the conditioning he needs to out-finish today’s contentious bunch.
Check out his two-back try on the homepage LAUREL LIVE Video for his effort on SEP 27, RACE 4 in which he was third, rather than his win at this trip last winter. Note that he was in a drive the entire stretch but once the rider used her hands instead of the whip, he surged forward for the show.
Last time out, Mary Eppler’s charge was used hard setting the pace before tiring, an ideal speed prep for a barn that’s a profitable 23% with turn-backs, and is reuniting with win partner Karamanos. We’re looking for Horatio to settle mid-pack before employing last winter’s winning strategy.
We’re going to take Smart Step to win at fair odds, at or about 5-1, and an exacta box with well-intended Walkin On a Dream, who also races well when fresh and has worked crisply at his Fair Hill base for the talented return outfit of Francis Abbott lll.