Laurel Park picks and ponderings October 4, 2019
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 — $2,410; Super High 5 — None; Late Pick 5 — None
Notable: Laurel Park switches to a four-day-per-week schedule starting today… There’s a juicy carryover of nearly $15,000 in the late Pick 5…
Jockey Julio Hernandez makes the trek down from Penn National to ride just one horse on today’s Laurel card, and that horse is #7 Justgimmeakiss (7-2). Last time out, he rode this one like he was on the best horse, keeping him out in the clear and away from trouble, and he was rewarded with an easy rallying victory. The Mark Salvaggio trainee makes a step up in class today but enters it in good form…
We’re looking for an upset here with #2 Wicked T (6-1). Draw a line through her last, as it came on the main track. Two races ago, she ran a huge one when, after getting loose and running off for about three furlongs before the race, she overcame early rankness when rated back to loom a major threat in the final furlong before flattening out to be a still-very-good third. She can improve today… The winner that day, #5 Lively Kitten (3-1) also has to figure at a level she’s proven she belongs… We’ll also throw in morning line chalk #1 Dixie Cannon (5-2), a Kelly Rubley trainee who’s been improving with each start…
Let’s see if #5 Zorally (9-5) can turn the tables on morning line favorite #4 Lady by Choice (7-5). The latter won at this level last out in a race in which Zorally finished third. But Zorally was extremely rank and in trouble throughout the opening quarter-mile in that contest, which was her first start in three months. For all that, it was a pretty good try, and if she can settle a bit early for new rider Sheldon Russell — and perhaps drawn better in mid-pack rather than inside — she rates a big shot here…
This is a wide-open contest — the morning line favorite, #6 Caladan, is 4-1 — and might be one to think about the all button. We settled on #2 Maryland Pride (5-1), who doesn’t win all that much but always seems to fire… On the stretchout, #4 Railmaster (6-1) deserves a look; he’s been running competitive races against similar foes while sprinting, and his siblings have been better going two turns… Usual rider Trevor McCarthy jumps ship, though, a negative sign, and lands on #7 Rohrbacher (9-2); this one’s figs and resume stack up nicely here, but you have to think that offering him for sale here rather than trying him in an entry-level allowance is no vote of confidence…
Two-year-old maidens take the track in this special weight contest and we’ll give the nod to #5 Cruise and Danze (8-1). The Jerry O’Dwyer trainee is more modestly bred than some of these but has been working well enough and gets go-to rider Sheldon Russell up… The John Servis-trained #2 Jara (7-2) certainly rates consideration. A $240,000 auction purchase, she’s been working pretty well at Servis’ Parx base, and her work two back was the co-fastest of the day; no other runner was within about two seconds of that time…
Ultra-speedy #9 Fearless Terp (3-1) looks to be sitting in the catbird seat in this contest. He’s two-for-two at the distance, owns four wins, and likely is the main speed here. And if he’s not — if, say, #6 Charge to Victory (7-2) outsprints him to the early lead — he can use his outside post to press the leader and take over from there… The latter is an interesting runner. He’s been off since January but has been working very fast towards his return, including three consecutive bullet moves bridging August and September. The bad news: trainer Tim Kreiser is just 2-for-36 off similar layoffs…
We’ll give the nod in this maiden claiming event to #8 Laska (9-2) on the drop in class. This one tried maiden special company without notable success, though she was third on debut. Last time out, in her first start of the 2019 campaign, she made a bit of a middle move before emptying out in a nine-furlong race. That was a lot to ask a horse making her first start in nine months, and she should be fitter and able to move forward today. The winner returned to win a minor stake at PID next out… #9 Gentle Thoughts (4-1) took a big step forward when switched to the lawn in a race that’s produced a next-out winner…
If ever there was a horse who needs blinkers, it looks to be #1 Astarte Gold (6-1), who gets them today. Two back she didn’t appear to like the mud, and last out, she was very rank and uncomfortable while inside in tight. Being down on the rail today is no picnic, either, but she gets the blinks on and drops into maiden claiming company, which should help. She also gets a new rider in Julio Correa; he and trainer Mike Trombetta have a 20% strike rate… One horse whose last may have been better than it looked is #11 Amphitrite (8-1). This one was part of an early pace mix that did in all three runners who were involved. Dropped into maiden claiming company and drawn outside today, she can improve…
#7 Bettor Bank On It (10-1) has kept much better company than he’s facing today. Three back, he won at the $40,000 level at Belmont, and he’s made his last two starts in NY-bred stakes company. In both, he was in contention for the first six furlongs before fading off the scene. Here, dropped into an easier spot and cutting back to 5 1/2 furlongs, he can play a major factor… The Gary Capuano-trained #2 Fact of War (6-1) led a long way last time before fading late and may appreciate the cutback today…
It’s been a while since he won a race, but making his third start off a brief freshening and finding his lowest level yet, #4 Barney Rebel (6-1) should be a player in this $12,500 claimer… #8 Front Line Paige (7-2) is stepping up in class but arrives here off back-to-back victories for trainer David Nunn…
LATEST IN HANDICAPPING
We provide full-card picks and analysis for this afternoon’s races at Pimlico.
We provide picks and analysis for this evening’s card at Charles Town Races.
Parx Racing hosts a bevy of top-level stakes races Saturday. Who’s gonna win them? We asked Derby Bill Watson for the answers.