Laurel Park picks and ponderings January 25, 2020

by | Jan 25, 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 — None; Late Pick 5 — None

Notable: Trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer is 5-for-17 with a $3.51 ROI with horses making their second career starts versus maiden special weight company.



  • 3-5-7-6
  • Not the greatest group of maidens ever to line up, and we tried but failed to beat the chalk, #3 One Odd Story (3-5); the Charlie Frock trainee ran second at this level last out behind a 3-5 winner and should appreciate the cutback in distance… #5 Variance (5-2) ran poorly last out, and her rider jumps ship to #6 Expect Talk (3-1), but she does have some better efforts to run back to…


  • 2-1-3-4
  • Favorite #1 Earned It (6-5) ran a good one last out when second against similar, and a repeat might get him the money here, but we’ll try to beat him with #2 Blame the Kids (8-1); the Kieron Magee trainee has run two stinkers in a row, the last at the bottom, so Magee, a trainer known for handling his horses aggressively, decides to… jump him up a couple levels (he’s 20% on the raise); it’s a somewhat curious move that seems to suggest he likes what he’s seeing from this guy despite the recent poor results, and it’s worth noting that he’s just a couple of months removed from beating better; the off-track shouldn’t hurt…


  • 5-1-2-7
  • The favorite in this maiden event, #2 Bless the Rains (7-5) — by the way, is the song Africa, from which this name is a line, literally everywhere these days? — hasn’t raced in 11 months and is dropping out of better company to the very bottom here; trainer Farrior is 2-for-14 off long layoffs, and the horse is showing just two nondescript recent works – all adds up to “keep her on the ticket but try to beat him on top.” But with whom? How about the Trombetta first-timer #5 Just for Spite (2-1); the trainer hits at a 16% rate with first-timers in maiden claiming company, and though this one is modestly bred, it’s a modest field she’s facing… Trainer Jose Corrales has two awful-on-paper runners in this race, and for fun, we’ll include the longer-priced #1 Molly’s Dolly (30-1) in the mix; she’s shown as close to nothing as you can show, but it’s interesting to see that Corrales jumped her up to special weight company last time and wheels back on just seven days’ rest while dropping back to the bottom; he’s 2-for-3 wheeling horses back on a week or less while going maiden special-to-maiden claiming…



  • 1-4-5-6
  • Favored #4 Cort’n Asong (8-5) could be formidable in this spot; the Hugh McMahon trainee was a pretty good third against similar last out, loves an off track, and the winner of that race came back to win again yesterday… But our top choice (perhaps foolishly) is #1 Can He Shine (6-1); the Magee trainee makes his third start off a six-month layoff today, and the last time he took a similarly long break, it took until his third start to reach the level where he’d been before the break; if he can get back there, he’s a player here at a solid price… Claudio Gonzalez sends out #5 Prime Time Man (10-1) and is 10-for-32 raising horses in class first off the claim…


  • 6-5-1-7
  • Last time out, #6 Annamated Moon (8-5) crossed the finish line first only to be DQed for bumping a rival; let’s see if he can graduate here today; if there’s a trouble sign, it’s that the show horse returned to run fifth next out, though this one was well clear of that one… Gotta respect the Trombetta-trained first-timer #5 Souper Cohiba (3-1), who is out of a three-time stake-winning mare and has fired three morning bullets… Expecting an improved second outing from #1 Amen Corner (4-1), and trainer O’Dwyer is 5-for-17 with second starters in maiden special weight company…


  • 6-2-4-1A
  • Not all $12,500 claimers are created equal, and such is the case with two on display in this nickel event: #4 Nana’s Shoes (9-5) ran fifth in a $12,500 claimer at Laurel, beaten four lengths last time out, while #6 Hola Princess (9-2) ran sixth in a $12,500 claimer at Parx, beaten 15. The difference? The Laurel race was essentially a $5,000 claimer with an enhanced purse (in fact, the winner, Sierra Leona, returned to win for $5,000), while the Parx was a legit race, with the winner returning to win a $12,500 starter and the runner-up running third and then defeating better; that’s enough for us to give Hola Princess the nod here… Kinda like the effort of #2 Ravenel (9-2) last time out, despite the middling fig; she made a nice middle move before tiring late in a race in which the top pair came from out of it…



  • 6-2-4-7
  • Good effort last out by top choice #6 Hero’s Hope (5-2), who was widest of all on the turn and outside the winner and stuck with it to the end, beaten just a head; that winner, Follow the Dog, is a bit star-crossed but does have talent; note that the show horse in that race, Popizar, who was a half-length behind Hero’s Hope, defeated #2 Crush It (5-1) by five lengths in that runner’s most recent start… 


  • 1-4-3-8
  • We’re thinking that #5 Awesome Agenda (5-1), who gets a 10-pound bug up today and who’s shown pretty good early lick at sprint distances, will show a lot more speed today than he did last time, whe #4 Blue Danube (4-1) got away by himself; if we’re right, that complicates things for the latter but could be good news for #1 Pep Talking (3-1), who rallied smartly past Blue Danube last out but could not contain the late run of Lucid Dream; he should sit a good trip today… 


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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