The winter season has offered little in the array of variety without turf racing and the quality fields that are offered have been on the small side. So we welcome a 7-horse allowance in today’s featured 7th race sprint, a peliminary allowance when state-bred victories don’t count against you.
Popizar (1-1) is a legitimate favorite off his his recent score in which he came from 11 lengths back off a hot pace, indeed, but was confidently handled with a 5-path sweep into the lane under no pressure from Angel Castillo and went on to score by nearly 4 over similar competition.
But the interesting runner is Follow the Dog (4-1), returning from a near six-month layup for a new barn, Phil Schoenthal, a worthy 18% effective in that scenario. There are two pieces of video you should examine; his June 29th run at Parx, Race 4.
Off a six-month then, he was in a 7-furlong battle every step of the way, separated himself by nearly 3 in mid-stretch, understandably tiring late. But the LAUREL LIVE VIDEO, however, is from his juvenile season when he won the Maryland Nursery–LAUREL, RACE 6, OCT. 20, 2018.
Note, after chasing rivals from the far outside throughout, the confidence Julian Pimentel showed entering the lane, never rattling when the stretch drive came.
The colt drew off at the end, striding out strongly at the finish. Both lifetime wins came at Laurel, he reunites with Pimentel, has worked purposefully and is perfectly spotted and drawn. He’s set for his return and should pull off a small upset.
We’re betting Follow the Dog to win, hoping that 3-1 is available ante post, and we’ll box an exacta with Popizar.