Laurel Park picks and ponderings September 20, 2019

by | Sep 20, 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 — $8,470; Super High 5 — $3,477; Late Pick 5 — None

Notable: Trainer Jeremiah Englehart (race 8, #2 Nextstop Pokipc) has won with three of six first-time starters he’s debuted at Laurel Park, with two others finishing in the money.



Top selection #9 Towson (9-2) makes her third start of 2019 and second in the Claudio Gonzalez barn. We won’t hold that last one too strongly against her, as it came on a sloppy surface she probably didn’t enjoy (0-for-6 on off tracks)… Also going to include #3 Sharp (15-1) in the mix. This one dwelt at the start of her last, spotting the field a dozen lengths in the first jumps, and after making some progress to the head of the lane, she was done. This is a group with plenty of holes, so a bounceback effort is certainly a possibility…


Two-year-old winners square off here and we’ll give the node to #4 Stone Courageous (5-2). The Ham Smith trainee won a lengthy duel in his debut to win at first asking and is showing a sharp work in the interim… Favored #6 Golden Gary (8-5) ran a big one last out to graduate, but that was on the grass and was considerably better than his two previous tries on the main track. Can he transfer his form back to the dirt?


Last time out #2 I Got a Rock (9-2) went right to the lead and didn’t look back, winning easily at Penn National, and this race may present a similar pace scenario. The Tim Kreiser trainee projects as the main speed here and off that last rates a good shot to win for the second straight time… Don’t sleep on #4 Jammer (5-1), either; he’s won three of four and last out overcame a variety of trouble before rallying while eight wide to win…


  • RACE 1
    • 9-4-3-1
    • SCR:
  • RACE 2
    • 4-6-1-5
    • SCR: 3
  • RACE 3
    • 2-4-3-12
    • SCR: 5, 10



In his last two tries sprinting on the grass, #5 Where You Was (5-2) turned in pretty good efforts against much better, finishing third both times behind the speedy American Sailor in a pair of starter handicaps. Dropped into the appropriate spot and cutting back after a two-turn try last out, he can be tough in here… The formful #5 Railmaster (7-2), with two wins in his last five starts, and lightly raced #8 Battlebus (5-1), who crushed lesser last out, are also worth a look…


In his second try after a three-month break, #7 Forfiftyfiverocket (9-2) has a shot to find the winner’s circle for the second time in four starts. Last time out, he stumbled badly at the start before rallying into second behind two-for-two Tommy Shelby, and here he’ll get Jorge Ruiz, who rode him to his lone victory, back in the irons…


The improving #2 Ummu Ummu Ummu (6-5) looks best in this somewhat motley field after a runner-up effort versus similar. The main question is the added ground, as he coughed up a 2-length lead late last time going 5 1/2 furlongs versus today’s six… If he falters, look for class-dropping longshot #7 Trump Change (15-1), making his second career start, or #9 Stacksdenero (8-5), who’s lost four times at this level, to be the beneficiaries…


  • RACE 4
    • 3-8-5-2
    • SCR: 1A, 10
  • RACE 5
    • 7-6-5-3
    • SCR: 2
  • RACE 6
    • 2-7-9-3
    • SCR: 



The favorite in this contest is #1 Ying Yue (5-2), and we’ll keep her on the ticket but try to beat her. Two back the three-year-old filly beat older runners (like these) in a first-level allowance, and trainer Mark Reid put her in the Stormy Blues Stakes in her next start. She was overmatched in there, and she’s been away two months since. Today, rather than trying the typical next move — a second-level allowance — Reid’s dropping his charge in for a $25,000 tag. It doesn’t feel like a vote of confidence in a filly who’s been a pretty effective runner in her brief career. Our top choice here is #3 Tuffgirlsdontcry (4-1), who won an a-other-than at Penn National last out, looks to be moving in the right direction, and makes her third start of ’19 in here…


What a good race this $40,000 maiden claimer is. Several of these are Maryland-breds who can waive the claiming tag, including a pair of six-figure auction purchases trained by Hamilton Smith. But our top pick is a runner in for the tag, #9 Distilled Spirit (6-1) for trainer Cal Lynch; Lynch has great success with two-year-olds and is 6-for-24 with juveniles debuting in maiden claiming company… Also of note in here is #2 Nextstop Pokipc (4-1) for Jeremiah Englehart (see stat above)… This is a race to spread out in your multi-race wagers: Smith’s two runners — #4 Deschackled (10-1) and #7 Super E (8-1) both could figure, as could #8 Prevail Upon (7-2) for Graham Motion and even #6 McElmore Avenue (5-1) for Brittany Russell…


 The favorite in the nightcap, a nickel claimer, is #6 Boom Boom Gone (7-2), who dominated a claiming event at Timonium last time out. If she can repeat that last, she’ll be tough in this race; but she’s bounced following her two prior victories, which makes it hard to accept short odds. We’ll back #8 Queena Esther (4-1), who rallied a bit last time out and only qualifies for this contest because her most recent win came at the $4000 level…


  • RACE 7 
    • 3-1-7-2
    • SCR: 5
  • RACE 8
    • 9-2-7-8
    • SCR: 
  • RACE 9
    • 8-1-6-7
    • SCR: 4, 5


        About The Author

        Frank Vespe

        Frank Vespe, the founder and publisher of The Racing Biz, has owned, bought, sold, claimed, written, and talked about horses, in varying combinations, for a decade. Email him at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @TheRacingBiz.

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