Laurel Park picks and ponderings September 8, 2019

by | Sep 8, 2019 | Breaking, Handicapping, Maryland, MD Racing

Anna's Bandit

Anna’s Bandit. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

by Frank Vespe

In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…

Post time: 1:10 p.m.

Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $2,545; Super High 5 — $1,351; Late Pick 5 — None

Notable: Jeopardy James, the hot favorite in the third race, is a full brother to the Grade 1 winner Lighthouse Bay, who won the 2013 G1 Prioress.



  1. 9- Caneel Bay: Broke his maiden last time out after stalking the pace and grinding down the stretch. Now tries winners for the first time, and faces a field with enough cheap speed that he could get a similar style trip.
  2. 5- Kosher Kontract: McCarthy gets back aboard; finished fourth at this level with a strong speed figure in his lone grass try.
  3. 4- Baysider: His two races against winners were going around two turns. Now he’ll cut back to his preferred distance. He should be flying late.


  1. 6- Caira: Showed opposite running styles in her first two races off the layoff: two starts back, she showed speed and faded, last out, she closed stoutly and missed by a neck. Trainer Arnaud Delacour is 28% third off the layoff, so I’m expecting a big performance out of her.
    4- Bahama Babe: Lightly-raced Breen filly ships from Monmouth and gets McCarthy in the saddle. Ran big first out, but was disappointing after a tough break in her second try. Breen is generally good with his Maryland shippers.
    2- Periodical: Ran well first off the layoff last out, when she prompted the pace, held the lead briefly, before giving way. Willing to give her another shot with that race under her belt.


  1. 1- Jeopardy James: This $585,000 purchase was second on debut at Delaware Park. Since then, he’s been working tremendously, and gets Lasix for the first time. He’ll be very hard to beat.
  2. 3- Double Crown: Firster for the Gaudet barn has been working sharply, with two bullets among his last three drills.
  3. 9- Maryland Mo: Graham Motion sends this $200,000 Maryland-bred out for the first time. He’s been working very well at Fair Hill, but Motion is generally not known for winning at first asking. If he runs well at all here, it’ll be a good sign going forward.


  • RACE 1
    • 9-5-4-2
    • SCR: 6
  • RACE 2
    • 6-4-2-1
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 3
    • 1-3-7-11
    • SCR: 4, 5, 6, 9



  1. 7- Oh So Lovely: Deep closer frantically rallied to win against restricted claimers last out. Both her races this year have been very sharp, and she retains the services of top apprentice Julio Correa.
  2. 1- Bustin Hearts: Both halves of the McMahon entry look strong, but I give the nod towards this one. She beat allowance horses three starts back, then faced tougher in her last two and showed little. Should enjoy the class relief.
  3. 11- Go Magician Go: Another deep closer, she’s won two of her last three with strong late rallies. Had to weave through traffic to defeat Maryland-breds last out.


  1. 4- Lunar Rille: This filly loves this course, having finished in the top two in five of seven at Laurel Park. Had a clear lead last out on dirt before giving way, now switches back to her preferred surface. Trainer Claudio Gonzalez doesn’t have great numbers with horses going dirt-to-turf, but that stat shouldn’t impact her much.
  2. 7- Adult in the Room: Coasted to an easy gate-to-wire win against open company last out, but has run great figures while stalking the pace as well. There’s some cheap speed in front of her; if they fade early on, she’ll be in a prime spot to pick up the pieces.
  3. 1- Shifra Magician: Hard-knocking mare should get a good pace to run at, setting up her patented closing rally.


  1. 6- Hip Hop: She’s been knocking on the door at this level, and has run competitive races with consistent speed figures. Got stuck in traffic last time, and lost a few lengths. She’s been off since that race, and has had a few good workouts in between.
  2. 4- Introduced: The expected favorite, she beat Maryland-breds on the grass two starts back, then finished third in the Stormy Blues Stakes. Toledo rode her on the lawn before, but after Pimentel won the Miss Disco Stakes on the dirt, he kept the mount for this try. She’s got a big shot here, but at expected low odds, I’ll take a shot against.
  3. 2- Two Sixtyone: Lightly-raced Kentucky shipper ran a career-best third last out at Ellis Park. Takes a drop in class here, and could probably use it, as she tried without success to get by her rivals there. Should stalk on the inside and pounce in the stretch.


  • RACE 4
    • 7-1A-11-2
    • SCR: 1
  • RACE 5
    • 4-7-1-6
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 6-2-9-5
    • SCR: 4, 8, 10



  1. 6- Lady Kim: Won two straight on the synthetic at Presque Isle Downs with long, looping rallies. Should enjoy the long stretch at Laurel in her first try on this surface.
  2. 3- Tee Up: Has loads of early speed, but didn’t get a chance to use it at Timonium when she broke awkwardly. Goes out for Claudio Gonzalez for the second time, and if she breaks well, I’m expecting a big race out of her.
  3. 8- Roman Holiday: Got involved in a duel in her last dirt start, and managed to hold on for second. Should be rated off the pace, as she has decent late pace figures and usually is able to hang in towards the end.


  1. 5- Kitty Zip: Finished an even third in her first start for a tag last out at Colonial Downs. She’s improved her figure in each of her last four starts, and gets Correa aboard for the first time.
  2. 8- Sunday Red: Chronic maiden was a fast-closing second against weaker last out, now jumps back up in class first off the claim. She’s always near the pace early, but doesn’t seem to like to be in front. Definitely one to use underneath, but I’m suspicious of her win chances.
  3. 4- Mia GIft: She’s lost her last two as the favorite, but may have been in over her head against $40,000 horses last out. Might be more realistically spotted here, a level that she was competitive at in the past.


  1. 5- Iron Lion: Recovered well after a poor break to swoop the field last out. He faced a similar group in that race, and if he breaks cleanly here, he’ll have an even easier time with them.
  2. 7- Kingston Pike: His speed figures are much the best in this field, but his most recent class lines are concerning. He was in for $16,000 most of the year, then was claimed for $8,000 last out. Now, he’s in first off the layoff for $5,000. Looks like a red flag.
  3. 1- Iwishiwaspecial: Gets a gigantic jockey upgrade to Daniel Centeno, and has early speed to the inside.


  1. 5- Muchacho: He was fractious in the gate last out at Saratoga, then raced wide almost the whole way. Now returns to the scene of his debut, with improving figures each time and McCarthy jumping aboard. Will be tough to beat.
  2. 1- Start With Yes: Faced a tough maiden field in his first start off a very long layoff two back, then raced evenly as the favorite last out. Definitely a contender to suck up for a piece.
  3. 2- Empty Tomb: Was well-meant on debut at Colonial Downs, going off as the favorite. He was well-beaten there, but now stretches out and gets blinkers on.


  • RACE 7 
    • 6-3-8-5
    • SCR:
  • RACE 8
    • 5-8-4-11
    • SCR: 12
  • RACE 9
    • 5-7-1-6
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 10
    • 5-1-2-6
    • SCR:


        About The Author

        John Piassek

        John Piassek is currently the communications manager for the Maryland Horse Breeders Association. He's written for Thee Racing Biz since 2015, and has also written about mid-Atlantic racing for Danonymous Racing and the Daily Gallop. In the past, he's worked for America's Best Racing, Freehold Raceway, Tioga Downs, Saratoga Race Course, and Monmouth Park. He graduated from Loyola University Maryland in 2018 with a degree in marketing, and is a member of the inaugural Maryland Thoroughbred Career Program class of 2017. Find John on twitter: @theyreoff.

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