Saturday's card at Laurel Park features a plethora of stakes races, anchored by the De Francis Dash. Though the race has not yet regained the grade that it lost due to two years of hiatus in 2008 and 2010, it once again has a graded-caliber purse ($350,000), and drew a field of nine. Several horses in the field are familiar faces from graded sprint stakes through the year; others are sharp Mid-Atlantic locals ready to take a crack at the big time from the comfort of their local oval.
If going long on the turf is more your style, Paul Mazur previews the Grade III Red Smith Handicap over at Aqueduct. That race is a three-turn affair over the green stuff, and the final graded turf stakes of the Aqueduct meet.
Morning lines were not available at original publish time. Edited November 12 to add morning lines. Edited November 14 for scratches.
Race 10: Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes, three-year-olds and up, six furlongs on the dirt, post time 4:10pm EDT
#8 GENTLEMEN'S BET (6/1)
#3 PALACE (9/5)
#2 STALLWALKIN' DUDE (5/2)
#4 SONNY INSPIRED (20/1)
JACK'S IN THE DECK originally held the longshot place, but scratched the day of the race. Sure, CUTTY SHARK is sort of the obvious local, and may be the best of the longer shots on class -- but CUTTY SHARK is far better going seven furlongs than six. Instead, take a look at SONNY INSPIRED. SONNY INSPIRED comes into the De Francis Dash second off the lay. He has a win in three starts at six furlongs, and is a solid 8-2-1-3 at Laurel. This horse-for-the-course loses regular rider Jevian Toledo, with whom he has finished third in his last three starts, but the switch to Victor Carrasco is not necessarily a bad thing. Carrasco is a strong local, 14% on the Laurel meet, and is positive-ROI in sprint races. SONNY INSPIRED would have to take a considerable step forward to win this, but he has been sufficiently game and consistent to hit the exotics at a long price.
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