Saturday is a big stakes day across the country with six tracks stakes racing today. Aqueduct Racetrack only has one stakes event, but the five others have multiple events. The $200,000 Lecomte Stakes is the most notable race, as it’s a prep race for the Kentucky Derby. We have a selection for the Lecomte Stakes and two other stakes races at Fair Grounds. Santa Anita Park has two $200,000 stakes races if you want to look at the high stakes action in California. The $3,000,000 Pegasus World Cup Invitational is scheduled for next weekend at Gulfstream Park. That’s the big one in the US before Triple Crown season fires up. Over in the middle east, the $20,000,000 Saudi Cup is right around the corner in February, though.
Laurel Park has nine races on the card today with a total of $628,000 in prize money available. There are six stakes races scheduled, with four $100,000 events leading the way as a trifecta of feature events. Head below for our free Laurel Park picks on January 16, 2021.
Post Time: 12:25 p.m. CST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
We will get going with the first race at Laurel Park, with a $33,000 event on the dirt slated for Race 1. Johng and Ratify are on my shortlist for the race. Johng is winless in eight straight races, but has been coming on strong recently. He placed 2nd on November 26 behind Wye Mumbo by 9 ½ lengths in a $34,128 event.
While Johng failed to stay close to Wye Mumbo, he was easily the second best horse in that race. Johng beat Peachy Keen by 3 ½ lengths to grab place money. In his next outing, Johng showed 3rd in a $32,562 assignment. Johng is coming off a productive workout on January 6 with a time of 48.60 seconds. Ratify has been knocking on the door in four straight races.
He has placed 2nd in four straight outings. In his most recent showing, Ratify placed 2nd behind This Ill Defend by 4 lengths in a $43,000 event. That was a tougher race in a much more difficult race that he’s facing today. For $160,000, Ratify should be winning $33,000 races. It’s no guarantee on Saturday, but I feel the most confident in Ratify landing in the winner’s circle.
Race 6 – What A Summer Stakes
Post Time: 2:53 p.m. EST
Race 6 is the What A Summer Stakes, which features a $100,000 purse, one of three $100,000 races at Laurel Park on Saturday. Club Car and Hello Beautiful are going to be strong runners in this race. Club Car is 3 for 15 in her career, with her most recent win on October 29 in a $62,500 event.
Since then, Club Car placed 2nd in the $65,000 Holiday Inaugural Stakes on December 4, and then 4th in the $100,000 Willa On the Move Stakes most recently on December 26. Expect Club Car to run a solid race in this one, but it might be too difficult for her to win the race. She should be good for place or show money.
Hello Beautiful is 6 for 12 and has a strike rate of 50% in her career. She has experience winning stakes races. Four of her wins were in stakes races, including her last two outings. Hello Beautiful won the $101,000 Maryland Million Distaff Handicap by 11 ¼ lengths in a blowout on October 24.
She had a 7 length lead going into the stretch and ran up the score some more in the stretch. Instead of a letdown, Hello Beautiful followed up to beat Raegan’s Edge by 3 lengths in the $100,000 Safely Kept Stakes on November 28. What a ROI it has been for this $6,500 horse. Her connections did well with this horse. I can get behind Hello Beautiful on Saturday in Race 6.
Race 7 – Xtra Heat Stakes
Post Time: 3:23 p.m. EST
Our final pick at Laurel Park on Saturday is in the $100,000 Xtra Heat Stakes. The Xtra Heat Stakes is another one of the $100,000 events at Laurel Park. Miss Leslie and Street Lute could get into an entertaining duel in Race 7. Miss Leslie is 3 for 5 in her career and on fire recently. She is coming off a hat-trick and in search of four straight wins on Saturday.
Also note that Miss Leslie has finished in the top-3 in all five races in her career. In her most recent performance, Miss Leslie beat Buckey’s Charm by a head in the $100,000 Anne Arundel County Stakes as the second favorite. She might need a step more in this one, but has to be considered for the win.
Street Lute has finished in the top-2 in all of her outings, along with five wins in six outings. She has finished 1st, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 1st, so coming off a hat-trick as well. That’s three straight stakes wins for Street Lute, including a win in the $100,000 Gin Talking Stakes most recently on December 26.
It was the second win in December for Street Lute, along with the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Stakes on December 5. Not bad for a horse that was purchased for $10,500 in 2019. Look for Street Lute to add to her accolades on Saturday with her fourth straight win.