Friday is a warm up before a big day of stakes racing on Saturday in North America. Saratoga and will command plenty of attention with the running of the Alabama Stakes (Gr. 1) and Saratoga Derby Invitational for $500,000 each. Then over at Monmouth, the Pegasus (Gr. 1) is always a much anticipated event. If you head over to Toronto, Woodbine has several big races on the docket, with the most notable of all the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks. There are four other stakes events with at least $125,000 up for grabs.
We’re at Laurel Park for a few picks in Maryland on Friday afternoon. There is a total of $270,000 available at Laurel Park across nine races. The racing gets started at Laurel Park in the early afternoon hours on the east coast. Our card will begin closer to 1:30 p.m. EST with Race 2. Head below for our free Laurel Park picks for August 14, 2020.
Post Time: 1:14 p.m. EST
Distance: 1 1/16 Miles
Race 2 will be our starting point with a $28,000 on the line in a 1 1/16 mile race on the dirt. I’m eyeing Welling and Bellarmine Hall for this event. Welling is 1 for 10 in his career with a win two outings ago on June 20. That was a $44,486 race that Welling made look relatively easy. He finished 6 lengths ahead of Silent Malice for a strong performance.
This was after Welling placed 2nd in three straight outings. It was disappointing for Welling when he followed up for 6th on July 17 in his most recent outing. The hot run he was on quickly came to a screeching halt. He was regarded as having no speed in that outing about a month ago.
Bellarmine Hall is 1 for 9 in his career and rather inconsistent, but has been impressive in the morning. He’s finished 2nd, 6th, 2nd, 5th in his previous four outings. In a recent morning workout, Bellarmine Hall completed 4 furlongs in 47.19 seconds. Heading into Friday, he appears to be in the best form in the backstretch.
I would give attention to Kelli’s Smile, but the problem for him is that this is a lot longer than the races he’s had success in. He’s finished 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd in his previous five outings, but Kelli’s Smile isn’t accustomed to going this long. Expect Kelli’s Smile to be up front and fade in the stretch. Look for Bellarmine Hall to get this done from the No. 1 post position.
Post Time: 2:15 p.m. EST
Race 4 covers a mile on the dirt for a $47,000 purse. There are six horses scheduled to run in the race. John Jones and Top Line Growth are going to be involved at the wire, with Taco Supream likely in the mix in the stretch. John Jones enters Friday with a lot of consistency on his resume recently. He’s finished 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 3rd in his previous four outings.
In his win on February 22, John Jones beat Jefazo by a head at the wire for a $57,998 purse. John Jones wasn’t able to follow up, though, and finished 3rd on June 6 after weakening in the stretch. He’s looked strong in recent workouts, with recorded times of 48, 48.60, 48.60, and 49 seconds. There shouldn’t be any surprises if John Jones goes close.
Top Line Growth has had plenty of success in his career and in search of another successful outing on Friday. He is 4 for 7 in his career, with his best win to date in the Iowa Derby last summer at Prairie Meadows. Top Line Growth has raced in two Gr. 3 races, with finishes of 4th and 3rd in the West Virginia Derby (Gr. 3) and 3rd in the Smarty Jones Stakes (Gr. 3).
Top Line Growth is coming off a layoff, so that’s the one concern with him. In his last appearance on September 27, 2019, Top Line Growth won by 3 ¾ lengths in a $45,000 event. This class should be easy for him if he returns to the track in the same form. He has looked good in the morning and should follow through in his return on Friday.
Post Time: 3:21 p.m. EST
We will finish up the day at Laurel Park in Race 6 with a $18,000 event covering 7 furlongs. Gone Home and Fast Master should have strong outings on Friday afternoon. Gone Home is 1 for 20 in his career with a win on February 6.
He has raced in six races since then and was in the top-3 in five straight of them before faltering in his most recent outing. Gone Home finished 7th in a $25,300 race on August 1 and was immediately granted a drop in class. That was way too tough for Gone Home, but a race of this caliber should be in his wheelhouse.
Fast Master is 1 for 8 in his career with finishes of 6th, 4th, 7th, 4th in his previous four entries. This is the easiest assignment for Faster Master in quite a whole. Even in the win on January 20, that was a $42,800 score for Fast Master. That was a much tougher race than Fast Master is going to experience on Friday afternoon in Maryland.
In his most recent performance, Fast Master finished 4th in a $27,060 waiver claiming race on July 10. Fast Master is coming off an electric workout on August 7 with a recorded time of 59.60 seconds at 4 furlongs. If he shows up ready to play on Friday, Fast Master should be able to dispose of the competition in Race 6.