Presidents’ Day Payday
General George Handicap (G3)
The General George Handicap at Laurel Park anchors the winter racing festival.
As we celebrate Presidents Day there should be two things on your mind, buying a new car (or at least seeing all the commercials on TV) and playing the great stakes races from around the country. Arguably, the best stakes is the 40th renewal of the 7 furlong, 250k, Grade III General George Handicap at Laurel Park. It anchors the winter racing festival and is one of the busiest days of the Laurel meet along with the De Francis Dash in the fall.
Let’s start the handicapping with the most decorated horse in the field, #3 GREEN GRATTO (9/5). He is coming out of the Toboggan Stakes a couple weeks ago at Aqueduct where he finished a disappointing 3rd as the even money favorite. He is a serious racehorse, but there are more negatives than positives with him in this spot. He is a speed horse who likes to go to the front and take them all the way around.
There is some other speed in this race with #4 WARRIOROFTHEROSES (20-1) and #9 MAJESTIC HUSSAR (12-1). Taking nothing away from jockey Mike Luzzi who has been riding great lately, regular rider Kendrick Carmouche gets off to ride #6 MAJESTIC AFFAIR (7/2). The one positive that GREEN GRATTO has over some rivals in this field is that he is proven at this specialty distance of 7 furlongs. I can see using him, but his price will be too short for me to take on top.
#2 PAGE McKENNEY (2-1) will vie for favoritism with GREEN GRATTO and makes a lot of sense in this spot. The stalking running style is especially intriguing. He loves this Laurel surface but I’m not convinced that this distance is his best game. He has placed once at the distance but this is such a specialty distance and for a horse who has every race in his recent Past Performances going at least 8.5 furlongs, I’m not sure this cutback is what he wants or will be effective at.
MY TOP CHOICE in this race will be MAJESTIC AFFAIR. Combine the fact he has the perfect running style and should get a ideal setup, it a solid play. He’s not a dead closer as he has speed to put himself into the game early if needed. I see him sitting in the second flight up the backstretch and should make his run around the far turn. Like I said earlier, this distance is tricky and I always give a premium to horses that have excelled at 7 furlongs. (2 wins in 3 starts). Kendrick Carmouche will be aboard and it looks like he choice MAJESTIC AFFAIR over GREEN GRATTO which is another positive and Carmouche has been riding very well this winter at Aqueduct. (Winning at 17%).
Win: #6 MAJESTIC AFFAIR
Trifecta: 6/2,3/ALL and 6/ALL/2,3