Laurel Park picks and ponderings November 23, 2019

by | Nov 23, 2019 | Breaking, Handicapping, Maryland, MD Racing

Anna's Bandit

Anna’s Bandit. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

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

Post time: 12:25 p.m.

Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $557; Super High 5 — $334; Late Pick 5 — None

Notable: There will be some strong favorites today, so it’s a good day to take some well-considered shots.



  • 8-1-2-3
  • Looks like a day in which there will be a bunch of strong favorites, and it starts here in race one with #8 Stiva (4-5); the Graham Motion-trained Animal Kingdom filly has a pair of perfectly good tries on the grass against maiden special weight foes, and if she can transfer her form to the main track — her dam won on both surfaces, as did her sire — she’ll win here… If not? Give a look to #1 Fairy Wish (6-1), who had trouble at the quarter pole and then again very late in a runner-up finish at this level last out, or the class-dropping #2 Gentle Thoughts (5-2), whose best efforts to date have been on the grass…


  • 2-3-5-4
  • Did somebody say favorites? #2 Sierra Leona (9-5) could be tough in this spot after a dominant, front-running score against similar last time out; she set a decent pace all by herself that day and projects to have much the same trip again today… Wondering if #3 Emma’sdiamonddiva (6-1) can step forward today; the closing sort has been faced with four consecutive races in which the opening half-mile crawled at slower than 49 seconds, a streak that likely ends today, which may let her unleash her late kick to best advantage… #5 Robin’s Destiny (2-1) chased Sierra Leona to no avail last time and may confront a similar scenario today…


  • 5-1A-2-3
  • Gotta figure that #1A Try Flying (7-5) will take plenty of action at the windows and rightly so, with two wins against similar in his last four starts; you’ll want him on the ticket… We’ll try to hunt a bit better value with #5 Hayne’s Fever (8-1), who ran poorly last out, but that was against allowance foes at Charles Town; returned to a track and distance he likes, he can bounce back to the form that saw him win two of three prior to his trip to West Virginia… 



  • 1-7-4-2
  • Yup, more chalk: #1 Bobby G (6-5) has had a ton of success in starter allowance company this year, enters off a win against similar, and has run well at this seven-furlong trip: no reason to think he doesn’t contend today… Can #7 Port Louis (9-2) go back-to-back? He gave a huge effort last out to win in the Maryland Million Starter at 67-1 odds; five of 10 to run back, including runner-up Sparty, have finished in the triple next time; trainer Bob Haynes has given this one just over a month to recover, with a couple of solid works in the meantime… #4 Crush It (3-1) was third behind Port Louis and came back to be third again against allowance foes…


  • 9-3-6-5
  • All of the runners in this maiden special weight contest have questions to answer, so let’s see if we can find some value with #9 Palace Kid (8-1). The Mike Trombetta trainee had a somewhat indifferent debut, unhurried early, wide entering the lane and then trying to lug in late; but he’s bred to like the added ground he’ll get today, and Trombetta is just shy of 20% with two-year-olds making their second career starts in maiden special weight company, and he has a $3.17 ROI… No reason to think #3 Law of the Land (5-2) won’t contend here; though his two tries, both pretty good, have come on turf, he’s a half-bro to a dirt stakes winner, and sire Constitution won two Grade 1s on the main track… 


  • 2-1-6-4
  • This three-other-than is being contested at the, let’s say, non-traditional distance of 7 1/2 furlongs (you’re really a specialist if you need 7 1/2!), and the favorite is the Brad Cox shipper #1 Celtic Chaos (8-5), who certainly has some terrific efforts on his page and has earned over $660,000 in his career; the question, though, is that he’s made just two starts since the end of May, and his last was the worst he’s run in quite a while; he’ll need a bounceback effort, and we’re not inclined to take short odds on the prospect, so we’ll include him on the ticket but try to beat him… With whom? Let’s give another crack to #2 Threes Over Deuces (2-1) who led late before getting bumped and settling for second last time in a mad scramble of a finish; the Gary Capuano trainee has finished in the exacta eight straight… 



  • 9-2-5-4
  • Several class-droppers clash in this maiden claimer, and we’ll take a shot with the most lightly raced of those, #9 Smart Entry (6-1); the Crystal Pickett trainee finished eighth against $40,000 rivals in her debut, running evenly after a sluggish beginning, and takes a two-level drop… Two others on the drop are #2 Petes Pride (5-1), who was seventh at the $40,000 last time, and #5 Mayas Miracle (6-1), whose lone dirt try came against $30,000 rivals at Aqueduct, where she finished sixth of nine…


  • 2-5-3-6
  • Top choice #2 Last Chukker (3-1) has made two starts on the dirt, won both, and looks poised to complete the hat trick today; last out she prevailed narrowly at the $16,000 never-won-two level and finds her way into the right spot in this never-three contest… The morning line says that, of the two Wayne Potts-trained entrants, you should prefer #6 La Maquina Gris (4-1) over #5 Lacrostix (9-2), but it’s got to tell us something that Ricardo Chiappe, who rode both last time out, lands on the latter… #3 Major Flirt (5-2) arrives off a win against lesser and makes his first start in Donald Barr’s barn…


  • 2-1-5-4
  • Not really sure what plaid tastes like, but the connections of #2 Tastes Like Plaid (5-2) hope it tastes like victory; the Anthony Pecoraro trainee was a credible second on debut at this level, and the trainer has a 40% strike rate with two-year-olds making their second career start against maiden claiming rivals… #1 Pitching Ari (7-2) has some better efforts to run back to, the best of which was a third-place finish against maiden special weight runners at Delaware behind next-out Churchill allowance winner Self Taught…


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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