Laurel Park picks and ponderings January 17, 2020

by | Jan 17, 2020 | Breaking, Handicapping

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 — None; Super High 5 — $1,608; Late Pick 5 — None

Notable: Trainer Marilyn McMullen is a friend to bettors: wagering on all of her starters in the last five years would have produced a flat-bet profit.



  • 3-4-5-7
  • Likely favorite #4 Gone Home (5-2) is certainly a horse to watch here in his first try in the Sanchez-Salomon barn, but he’s also lost three straight — all as the favorite — against similar or lesser company… Let’s try to beat him with the oddly named #3 Kevins Chioce (8-1); this one hasn’t shown much but those tries were against much better; he takes a two-level drop here, will have Lasix for the second time (he did not have it on debut), and note that trainer Ness’s go-to rider McCarthy is up, for the first time…


  • 2-6-3-1
  • Good effort last out by morning line choice #2 Deirdre of Legend (9-5), who dueled for the lead, won the speed duel, but could not contain the late runners. That race has produced three next-out winners (from seven to run back), and this miss probably ought to graduate today… #6 Meet Michelle (8-1) ran evenly last time out against similar but does have a better performance or two in the bank…


  • 4-2-1-5
  • Top choice #4 Johnny Cab (5-2) just missed two back in allowance company, didn’t run terribly against allowance foes last out, and finds a bit of an easier spot today… Morning line favorite #1 Tastes Like Plaid (9-5) graduated with a good-looking score last out, and trainer McMullen (10% strike rate over the last five years with – remarkably – a positive ROI) protects him here. Worth noting, though, that he had a pretty much perfect trip that day and may not get quite that trip today…



  • 5-1-7-3
  • Feels like there’s plenty of speed in this nickel claiming even, with favorite #1 Barbsgray Lion (2-1) likely to be among those in the early vanguard. That might set this one up for a mid-pack sort like #5 Splendor Gal (5-2); the Mark Reid trainee makes her first start since last May and may get the trip she wants; Reid is 4-for-23 with horses off similar layoffs… In her final start before her break, Splendor Gal ran second to #7 Slewzer (7-2), who’s also a contender here but may get cooked if the expected early speed shows…


  • 1-6-5-7
  • That last might be better than it looks for #1 Congress Hall (7-2), who rallied into second while eight in arrears of the winner; five of seven to run back from that event have finished in the triple, with two winning their follow-ups, including winner Win Then Grin, who jumped up a couple of levels to win for $25,000; like that this miss already has a mile try on her resume… We’re taking a pass on morning line fave #3 My Lila (3-1), who was a good second last out at this level going six furlongs; her two one-mile tries on the main track are abysmal…


  • 4-10-9-6
  • Let’s give one more crack to #4 Justwaveandsmile (9-5), who’s failed twice as the favorite in two career starts; both times, he fought for the lead, led late, but couldn’t hold on, falling to the late-running Decorated in his debut and the trip-sitting Tastes Like Plaid last out; let’s see if he can seal the deal this time with new rider Whisman up… The one concern about the top choice is with other apparent speed signed up, you wonder if he may meet the same fate he’s met twice already… This is a wide-open affair, so we’d spread in our multi-race wagers; the two first-timers, #6 Maximus Midani (8-1) and #10 Plot the Dots (6-1) both appear promising, it’s notable that rider Trevor McCarthy gets off a Trombetta trainee to ride #9 Charm City Band (10-1) for Noah Abramson, and the horse he left, #3 Toy (9-2), is the only runner here who’s shown the ability to pass a horse and may get the right setup…



  • 6-3-5-2
  • Favored #6 Beautiful Maiden (9-5) arrives in good form with two recent wins at this $16,000 level at PEN and should be running on late in here for trainer Kreiser… The horse she’ll likely need to run down — who may also be lone speed and must be respected — is #5 Bustin to Please (3-1), who ran poorly last out but gets class relief today and makes her first start in the Gonzalez barn… Let’s give another look to #3 Two Hot Betty (5-1), who was a well-beaten second last out at this level but had a pretty disastrous trip in the lane, which robbed her of all chance; kinda think that Beyer fig came back a little light…


  • 9-8-1-5
  • This is another contest with some speed signed on, which may presage good news for #9 Storming My Way (5-1), who’s shown the ability to rally from mid-flight and who owns five wins at this six-furlong trip… The speedy sort most likely to be around at the finish is #8 Fix Me a Sandwich (3-1), who romped last out in a Parx allowance in which the runner-up, Chilly in Charge, had recently run second in the City of Laurel Stakes… 


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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