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HRN Original Blog:
Maryland's Own GQ

Laurel Park: Private Terms Plays 2nd Fiddle to Derby Points Preps

Joint Custody wins 2013 Maryland Juvenile Championship.
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club

There’s double dosage of Derby-friendly preps on Saturday, and you know those who offer points which dictate what 20 three-year-old get to run in the Kentucky Derby?! Ten runners were entered in both the $350,000 G2 Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Downs and $300,000 G2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita. Fifty (50) points to the winner of each with twenty (20) points to the runner-ups, third is worth ten (10) points and five (5) points awarded to the fourth place finishers. Both races are contested at 1 1/16 miles.

In the mid-Atlantic at Laurel Park on Saturday, the 10-race card features the $100,000 Private Terms Stakes for three-year-olds. The distance of 1 1/8 miles better fits the mold of a true Derby prep, but the politics of horse racing at Churchill Downs, Inc. must not believe Laurel Park is a suitable venue for a Derby prep.

Without Derby points up for grabs, over the years the Private Terms Stakes has become an unofficial Preakness Prep. In the past the majority of runners were the best of the local circuit but this year the race has attracted NY-based runners. Kiaran McLaughlin ships in a promising Darley runner, Baratti, tabbed as the 2-1 Morning Line favorite.

A pair of colts with multiple graded stakes efforts, Matuszak (4th in G2 Jerome and 6th by 9½ behind Honor Code in G2 Remsen) and Classic Giacnroll (runner-up in G2 Jerome and 4th by 14 in G3 Withers behind Samraat). Another NY reside, Kid Cruz, makes the trip down I-95 as well.

The top local hope is Joint Custody, four wins from 7 starts with two runner-up efforts, one to Extrasexyhippzster last out in the $100k Miracle Wood. Here’s how they’ll break from the starting gate…

#1 - Starry Moon (15-1) A. Rodriguez / T. B. Houghton

#2 - Matuszak (12-1) H. Karamanos / W. Mott

#3 - Baratti (2-1) M. Luzzi / K. McLaughlin

#4 - Classic Giacnroll (5-1) V. Carrasco / L. Guerrero

#5 - Roman Fire (8-1) A. Cintron / A. Dutrow

#6 - Joint Custody (7-2) W. Ho / J. Robb

#7 - Elevated (20-1) S. Russell / P. Schoenthal

#8 - Kid Cruz (6-1) J. Pimentel / L. Rice

#9 - Mr. Rover (12-1) T. McCarthy / K. T. Leatherbury

#10 - Kobel (30-1) J.D. Acosta / C. Doran

See Laurel Park selections below for my opinion on the Private Terms Stakes.

For the Tampa Bay Derby, #9 – Hy Kodiak Warrior (10-1) is being overlooked. He’s in a new barn, gets Lasix for the first time in his racing career and with his late-running style should find the Tampa Downs dirt surface a welcome relief from the Gulfstream Park speedway.

THE PLAY: $10 WP #9 and $2 Ex Box 5-7-9

In the San Felipe Stakes Derby, #8 – Schoolofhardrocks (8-1) reportedly has been a monster in the mornings and appears poised make the big jump from his debut victory at Del Mar six (6) months ago. Earlier this week I wrote a San Felipe preview for this race. Please note that #3 – Rprettyboyfloyd and #6 – Bayern are SCRATCHED.

THE PLAY: $10 WP #8 and $2 Ex Box 7-8-9

Recapping previous blog posted selections at Laurel Park from Saturday, March 1st, had 7 winners from 9 races (2 Top Selections; payoffs in BOLD) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $4.00 (3rd), $9.20 (4th), $2.40 (5th), $3.00 (6th), $13.20 (7th), $4.40 (8th) and $8.40 (9th).

The BEST BET of the Day (7: 2-1-2) P and B and J (1st race: 4-1 M/L; 5-2 PT) dropped back off the early pace while ridden along, regrouped saving ground mid turn, briefly came off the inside into the lane, shifted back in and closed willingly to earn the place, returning $4.60 to PLACE and $2.40 to SHOW.

The LONGSHOT PICK (7: 2-3-0) Grand Moon (2nd race: 8-1 M/L; 4-1 PT) set the early pace along the rail, took pressure mid way on the final turn, as two rivals joined her at the 1/16th pole challenging for the lead, but fought on gamely, getting beat by just a neck to the heavy favorite, returning $3.00 to PLACE and $2.20 to SHOW.

PLEASE NOTE: Statistics provided for the BEST BET and LONGSHOT PICK in parentheses represent the Number of Picks: Wins-Places-Shows. For example, the BEST BET (10: 1-2-3) was picked 10 times resulting in 1 winner, 2 places and 3 shows. In the past, I would reset these numbers at the start of each meet. For 2014, I reset these numbers on Jan. 1st in order to chart results on a yearly basis.

Selections for Saturday, Mar. 8th at Laurel Park posted below are based on a FAST dirt track as the forecast calls for sunny skies with temps in the mid-50’s. Selections posted were handicapped based on making multi-race wagers such as DOUBLE’s, Pick-3’s and Pick-4’s using all three (3) listed for each race in each leg.

1st race – $16,000 Maiden Claiming for 3 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#3 – Chili Bean (4-1)
#7 – Go Go Gus (2-1)
#4 – Lifted (5-1)

2nd race – $7,500 Claiming N3L for 4 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#1/1A – Brad / Deployingresources (2-1)
#4 – M P Ruckus (5-1)
#5 – Runnin From Love (5-2)

3rd race – $6,250 Claiming for 4 y.o. and up – 5½ furlongs
#2 – Forest Justice (7-2)
#1 – Isolation Road (5-2)
#3 – Regal Warrior (6-1)

4th race – $16,000 Maiden Claiming for 3 y.o. fillies – 1 mile
#5 – Femme de Joie (8-1)
#7 – Go Solo (7-2)
#6 – Motivate Say Eye (3-1)

5th race – $15,000 Starter Allowance for F&M 4 y.o. and up – 7 furlongs
#5 – Easter Child (7-2)
#7 – Sandbag (5-1)
#2 – Foursouthernbelles (4-1)

6th race – $25,000 Optional Claiming N2X for F&M 4 y.o. and up – 7 furlongs
#4 – Addison Run (5-2)  *** BEST BET ***
#1 – No Splits (8-1)
#2 – Brenda’s Way (2-1)

7th race – $42,000 Allowance N1X for F&M 4 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#4 – Patricias Princess (4-1)
#5 – Simmadownnow (5-1)
#7 – Litigious (3-1)

8th race – $100,000 Private Terms Stakes for 3 y.o. – 1 1/8 miles
#8 – Kid Cruz (6-1)  $$$ LONGSHOT PLAY $$$
#4 – Classic Giacnroll (5-1)
#2 – Matuszak (12-1)

9th race – $32,000 Optional Claiming N3X for 4 y.o. and up – 7 furlongs
#4 – Brimstone Island (3-1)
#6 – Souper Knight (6-5)
#3 – Won the War (5-1)

10th race – $5,000 Claiming N2L for F&M 4 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#2 – Everything Sweet (7-2)
#6 – Irish Beau (6-1)
#3 – Flattering (15-1)

Good Luck!


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Nice call, GQ!

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                Meet Gary Quill

  I am the most passionate person on the planet when it comes to thoroughbred horse racing! One sunny summer day in 1964 at Timonium Race Track is where my Dad and mentor introduced me to “The Sport of Kings”. Since that day, I have had the pleasure to visit over 40 different tracks across North America. Though an IT professional by trade, I’ve had a part-time gig with the Maryland Jockey Club since 1988.

here are thousands of rail-birds who claim to be great handicappers. Well, I don’t claim to be the best… just the most passionate and one that won’t tout “chalk”. Like a savvy stock broker, I look for value and often find it. Unlike the talking heads on horse racing television networks and the dozens of websites featuring handicapper’s opinions, I’m ACCOUNTABLE. That is, good or bad, you’ll always know how my previously posted picks performed along with a running record of my BEST BET and LONGSHOT Play of the Day selections for Maryland tracks (Laurel and Pimlico) at TheRacingBiz, see "The GQ Approach".

   In addition to focusing on the Maryland thoroughbred racing circuit, each year I follow the Derby Trail and post “GQ’s Derby Double Dozen” in early February. 

   My personal mission is to rejuvenate interest in thoroughbred horse racing. Being able to share my energy, thoughts and opinions on this sport via HRN will certainly help the cause.


"I lost $2 at Santa Anita and I've spent $3 million trying to get it back." - Mickey Rooney

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