Laurel Park picks and ponderings December 28, 2019

by | Dec 28, 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 — $6,260; Super High 5 — None; Late Pick 5 — None

Notable: Happy Holidays!



  • 6-7-1-3
  • Dead game effort last time by top choice #6 Buddy’s Run (1-1), who slugged it out for the lead all the way around before settling for a close second while well clear of the rest in a race that’s produced a next-out winner; the Gonzalez trainee makes his third start off a two-month break… Gonzalez might just fill out the exacta, as his other runner, #7 Fort Royal (9-2) certainly fits here after an even effort against better…


  • 7-5-6-2
  • We really were looking to beat #7 Let’s Play Nine (7-5) in this spot in his first try against winners, second career start, and first time beyond six furlongs, stretching out to a mile; but he was ultra-impressive on debut when winning by 10, and this field is filled with horses that have failed repeatedly to win this a-other-than condition, plus Let’s Play Nine looks to be the controlling speed… #5 Cheytac (5-1) makes his second start for trainer Lacey Gaudet in a condition he’ll need to win if he’s going to repay that $40,000 claim price; he was a just-OK fifth last out…


  • 5-6-7-1
  • California shipper #5 Threefiveindia (4-5) lands with pretty good credentials, including two straight wins and big speed figs, and he’ll have rider McCarthy in the irons; he’s shown the versatility to lead or stalk the pace, and he looks likely to be doing the latter in here… Really like the last-out effort by #6 Smooth B (10-1), who dueled early and drew away to win easily in a race that’s produced a next-out winner… Curious to see how #7 Home Run Maker (5-1) comes back after six months away; this one did his best running just about a year ago, running off a three-race win streak that culminated with a win in the Fire Plug before he ran sixth in the G3 General George…



  • 3-5-7-2
  • Top choice #3 Warm (3-1) failed as the favorite last time at this level last time against similar, and trainer Kieron Magee runs her for the claiming tag today, but appears more to be trying to taken an edge when one’s available; this one was forced into chasing the pace last time, but with a couple of speeds and stretching-out sprinters in here, she ought to be able to sit back and make a run… #5 Lady by Choice (5-2) has won at this level in two of her last four starts and will look to carry her six-furlong speed a mile today… Can’t get too upset with that third-place finish last out by #2 Cee Bee Gee Bee (6-1) behind the redoubtable Anna’s Bandit, who’s won seven stakes this year…


  • 4-9-1-3
  • Favored #1 Cofactor (7-2) arrives with a three-race win streak and took the Smart Halo here last time out when, after coming under an aggressive ride midway on the turn, she found a seam in the lane and spurted trhough to win by almost two; she’s benefited from fast paces in her last two and will stretch beyond six furlongs for the first time… We’ll try to beat her with #4 Bella Aurora (9-2), who cuts back from a mile after winning her dirt bow super-impressively, diving down to the rail after being stalled behind horses and drawing away while ridden out; that race has produced a next-out winner… Probably get decent odds on #9 Naughty Thoughts (8-1), who, interestingly enough, has the second-best last-out Beyer fig in the field but who accomplished that against claiming/optional starter foes; but we’re not hating on her two-back third in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship even though she was beaten 13; winner Hello Beautiful would be about 1-20 in here, and runner-up Miss J McKay would be chalk here, as well…


  • 2-3-7-1
  • Favored #3 Monongahela (8-5) needs to on the ticket after a terrific performance winning the Swatara, when he stalked a fast pace, took over, and dominated the field, but the question with him is: can a five-year-old who just turned in a career-best effort repeat that a month later? The answer is that he might well, but taking short odds on it isn’t all that appetizing, so we’ll keep him around but try to beat him on top with #2 Major Cabbie (3-1), who lost his rider at the start last out when favored in the Queens County but who’d been running good races prior and may be the main speed here, unless #7 Alwaysmining (8-1) goes for it…



  • 7-8-2-9
  • At first glance, it looks like #7 Hockey Puck (10-1) has been pretty inconsistent, mixing good races and bad; but a closer look suggests otherwise: she’s run three mediocre races on tracks rated good (no wins, top Beyer of 50) and two very good races on tracks rated fast (two wins, top Beyer of 76); he ran past two stakes winners in Golden Candy and Newstome to win the PA Nursery last out and looks likely to to have a lively pace to aim at today, with regular pilot Conner along for the ride… A little bit hard to know exactly what to make of the Cal shipper #8 Nucky (7-2), who won the G1 Del Mar Futurity two back in a race in which the 1-2 favorite lost his rider; this one was still 16-1 when he came back in the G1 American Pharoah and was up the track; he makes his first start in three months today and looks to rediscover his winning form…


  • 6-1-5-9
  • A bunch of these runners, including morning line favorite #1 Baby Boss (2-1), figure to want the lead, and that should be just what the doc ordered for #6 Majestic Reason (3-1), who was defeated at this six-furlong distance for the first time in five starts last out by the ultra-consistent Anna’s Bandit after a bit of a difficult trip; note that rider McCarthy, who rode both this runner and the favorite last time out, lands here… Late-running #5 Phantom Shot (12-1) has been in very good form; perhaps a premature move last out, which propelled her to the lead before she tired to fourth… The best efforts for #9 Mess’n Around (8-1) — including a runner-up try behind Chalon four back — put her right there with this group…


  • 5-2-1-3
  • Not much speed in here, which points us in the direction of #5 Twirling Liz (7-2), who makes her second start after seven months away and had a useful return to action…


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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