Race 8 at Laurel Park | Saturday February 20 | Post Time 4:19 PM Eastern
General George Stakes – Grade 3 | Purse $250,000 | Seven Furlongs | Four Year Olds and Upward
Majestic Dunhill (4) fits like a “T” in this race, having won the IDENTICAL Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap last fall at this even furlong trip, and having finished second the last time he ran in this race, in 2019. He’s hit the board in all three career starts at Laurel including a win. In the Bold Ruler, Majestic Dunhill beat Share the Ride (6), but because finished seventh and sixth since their last meeting, and because Share the Ride has two wins, a second and a third, Majestic Dunhill opens at 10/1 compared to 3/1 for Share the Ride. That odds disparity is hard to ignore, particularly since Majestic Dunhill is likely to fire a big shot fresh off a two month layoff so that’s why he gets slight preference over the other three win contenders.
Laki (1) is also a grade 3 stakes winner, having captured the De Francis Memorial in October. Of his 10 career wins, eight have come at Laurel. After the De Francis, Laki nearly won the Frank Whitely Stakes. In his two starts since then, Laki has had trouble, significant enough to have cost him a better placing then the fourth he ended up. In late December, Laki was in position to have a say in the outcome but lacked room, then in his most recent start he clipped another horse’s heels early and never really was involved. However, his recent 46.4 four furlong workout which was the best of 89 on the day signals he ready to run back to his best efforts, either of which are good enough to help him earn his 11th career win.
Share the Ride (6) and Funny Guy (2) are certainly contenders and should be played on any exacta, trifecta, double, pick 3 or similar tickets played, but their opening odds are 3/1 and 9/5 compared to 10/1 for Majestic Dunhill and 9/2 for Laki so they don’t offer near the incentive the other two do for win bets. Share the Ride won the similar Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap in November then missed by a neck in the Fire Plug Stakes here at Laurel before a non-threatening third as the favorite in the Toboggan Stakes last month. His best is certainly good enough to win but there’s no guarantee he’s going to run back to it and even if he does, if any of the other three run their best there’s no guarantee he can win and that’s why he’s not a good win bet even at 3 to 1. Funny Guy ran his best race last year when second in the Grade 2 Vosburgh Invitational but his wins before and after that came in races restricted to NY Breds only. He has been first or second in 12 of 17 races, including four of five at this seven furlong trip, but just like Share the Ride, Funny Guy’s best is just as good, no better, than the best of any of the other three and particularly as he was second the entire length of the stretch last month as the four to five favorite he’s another I will not be betting to win although he will be part of exacta and trifecta plays.
Then we have a pair of MUST USE longshots, Chilly in Charge (9) (12/1 to start) and Tattooed (10) (15/1) to start who will be part of exacta tickets. Both come into the race off strong wins albeit versus lesser as compared to the four main contenders, but leaving them off exacta tickets, particularly as their combined career record is 24 for 47 first or second, might leave us kicking ourselves.
Win betting strategy:
Majestic Dunhill (4) and Laki (1) to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.
Majestic Dunhill (4) and Laki (1) over Majestic Dunhill (4), Laki (1), Funny Guy (2) and Share the Ride (6).
Majestic Dunhill (4), Laki (1), Funny Guy (2) and Share the Ride (6) over Majestic Dunhill (4) and Laki (1).
Majestic Dunhill (4), Laki (1), Funny Guy (2) and Share the Ride (6) over Chilly in Charge (9) and Tattooed (10).
Majestic Dunhill (4), Laki (1), Funny Guy (2) and Share the Ride (6) over Majestic Dunhill (4), Laki (1), Funny Guy (2), Share the Ride (6), Chilly in Charge (9) and Tattooed (10).