Laurel Park picks and ponderings December 7, 2019
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 — $10,025; Super High 5 — None; Late Pick 5 — None
Notable: Four stakes for Maryland-breds are on tap today!
- Though jockey Trevor McCarthy jumps ship, we’ll still give the nod to favored #5 Bourbon Streak (9-5), who’s been keeping much better company than these and last out was a decent fourth in maiden special weight company — three levels higher than these $16,000 maidens… McCarthy lands on #6 Marden (2-1), who ran a good one last out to just miss at the $10,000 level… Let’s see if #4 Yes Man (6-1) can sneak into the mix; he ran well last out at this level, giving a willing effort to be second after being three wide on the turn and five wide in the lane…
- Favored #2 My Queen Michelle (9-5) may prove tough in here — she won at first asking and then was second in an allowance — but won’t offer much value; we’ll keep her on the ticket but try to beat her with #6 Shecor (9-2); the Kenny Cox trainee makes her third start off a two-month break, and while her last was unsightly, it came at Charles Town, which she may not have enjoyed; back on her home track, she can improve today… In her first off the claim by conditioner Linda Albert, #4 Don’tbaggagecheck (6-1) may be all by herself in first in the early going and figures to try to take ’em all the way with leading rider Cintron remaining aboard…
RACE 3 — POLITELY STAKES
- Clearly the best horse in this group is #3 Anna’s Bandit (8-5), a 15-time winner and earner of over $650,000; the only question here is the distance, which, at six furlongs, is a tad shorter than the seven at which she’s done her very best work; she’s clearly capable of winning here, but at short odds and a sub-optimal distance, this might be a good time to try to beat her… A horse who relishes this six-furlong trip, on the other hand, is #6 Majestic Reason (2-1), who’s 4-for-4 at it; she’s a stake winner and two back finished a good third in the G2 Gallant Bloom behind next-out Laurel allowance winner Minit to Stardom and Come Dancing, who won that race and then was 2-1 in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, though she ran poorly… Look for #4 Three Hawk (10-1) to outrun long odds wheeling back on short rest after a good try…
- Claudio Gonzalez had two entered here and scratches favored Articulator, which perhaps tells you what he thinks about #2 Cozy Lover (2-1); the speedster has been running consistently good races without quite getting it done at this level but catches a short field today… #4 Onemoregreattime (3-1) had a bit of trouble at the break last time and can improve today, but note the 0-for-6 ledger at the trip… Wondering if #5 Smokin Nitro (8-1) can rediscover the promise he showed as a sophomore; after winning six times last year, he’s 0fer this campaign but, making his second dirt start in a row, perhaps he’ll move forward…
- Favored #7 Tap the Mark (9-5) has been moving in the right direction while beating up against lesser at PRX’ he’ll be running late… Perhaps getting the jump on him will be #5 Torch of Truth (2-1), who’s kept better company, including an allowance win four back at DEL; his last couple aren’t bad at all, a fourth in a paceless Maryland Million Classic in which he was never going to be able to close well enough to catch the speedy sorts and then a second behind Tappin Cat (third in the Classic) at a perhaps-too-short seven furlongs; two turns might hit him right between the eyes… We’ll use #6 Can’t Pass It Up (8-1) on the ticket, as well; he’s run two much-improved races since being gelded…
RACE 6 — MARYLAND JUVENILE FILLY CHAMPIONSHIP
- Rugged group set to line up for this year’s renewal of this event, with Maryland Million Lassie winner #8 Hello Beautiful (5-2) and turf stakes winner #6 Miss J McKay (2-1) featured, but we’ll try to beat ’em both with #7 Stickingtogether (6-1); the Michael Matz trainee cpi;ran second behind Hello Beautiful in the Lassie but gets an additional furlong to work with today; she’s one of just two here who has gone seven-eighths, and in her only try going seven, around two turns at CT, she stuck with it OK to be fourth, beaten a couple of lengths; she’ll make her second start with Lasix today and gets rider Eddie Gonzalez (5-for-15 with Matz’s horses with a $4.97 ROI) in the irons… #5 Project Whiskey (6-1) is the only runner here to own a win going seven furlongs, and she has two of ’em, including the Parx Juvenile Fillies last out, a race from which the runner-up returned to win an allowance by 11… Hello Beautiful has won her last two on dirt impressively and tries a distance beyond six furlongs for the first time; last out she made all the running, dueling for the lead early before drawing away smartly… Miss J McKay was pointed at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, a plan that came acropper when she didn’t draw in; she’s done her best work on turf but did win her only dirt start…
RACE 7 — MARYLAND JUVENILE FUTURITY
- The scratch of likely favorite Monday Morning Qb throws this event wide open, and we’re gonna take a swing with #6 Mine Not Mine (12-1); the word was out on the Claudio Gonzalez trainee when he made his debut — he went off at 6-5 — and he delivered a tour de force, getting pinched back and basically left at the gate, rallying widest of all, and going on to win; the speed fig wasn’t much, and the margin wasn’t big, but he was a mile the best and has every right to improve today… #2 Laddie Liam (3-1) has won two of his last three and took an allowance contest going a mile last out; the High McMahon trainee retains jockey Sheldon Russell, who also rode #3 Raging Whiskey (5-1) last time out; the latter is the only runner here to own a stakes win and makes his second start in the Jerry O’Dwyer barn…
RACE 8 — HOWARD AND SONDRA BENDER MEMORIAL
- Intriguing contest brings together 2018 graded winner #2 Still Having Fun (3-1), 2019 Preakness runner #3 Alwaysmining (6-1), and local hard hitters #4 Lewisfield (9-2), #5 Taco Supream (7-2), and #9 Clubman (9-2)… This’ll be a race to keep an eye on the toteboard; wouldn’t be a shock to see one of this group getting a lot of betting action, more than is warranted… We’re giving the nod to six-furlong specialist #4 Lewisfield (9-2); his last couple are just OK, but last time, in the Fabulous Strike, he got the worst of the trip (and wasn’t beating 1-5 Firenze Fire, regardless); he’s got six wins at the trip and makes his third start off a short break… #6 Taco Supream (7-2) ran the race of his life last out to win the Maryland Million Sprint and will try to double that up; he enters with a bullet work Nov. 27, so he appears to be feeling well, and he owns four wins at the trip… #2 Still Having Fun (3-1), gelded since his last start May 4 and with an eight-race losing streak, is a Grade 2 winner but seems to have done his best work going seven furlongs or even a one-turn mile; he’ll need more pace than seems likely to materialize today… #9 Clubman (9-2) loses jockey Julian Pimentel — he goes to Alwaysmining — but enters off a nice-looking win going six furlongs and just keeps churning out good races… We’ll take a wait-and-see attitude on Alwaysmining, making his first start since July after weathering a three-race losing streak; he’s a speedy sort going middle distances but will need to be zipping along to get to the front against these…
- Top choice #9 Deshackled (6-1) was eased last time out but has been gelded in the meantime and, curiously enough, attracts the services of jock McCarthy, among the meet leaders… The chalk here is #5 Whiskey and You (7-5), who’s run some good races but has lost at this level going about this distance three times; kinda tough to take what figures to be even money on that, though he needs to be on the ticket… Good effort on debut for #1 Fiya (7-2), who ditched his jockey and ran off for a quarter-mile before the race, then was involved in the early pace and stayed on until the late stages; that was a level down, but he owns the right to move forward today…
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