Laurel Park picks and ponderings January 26, 2020

by | Jan 26, 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 — $1,101; Super High 5 — $519; Late Pick 5 — $8,309

Notable: Rider Victor Carrasco could get his 1,000th win today. He has mounts in races 4 and 8, and both are favored.



  • 6-2-4-3
  • Looks like a good spot for top choice #6 Gauzy (9-5) to graduate after a decent try last time at this level in her first in six months; the Tonalist filly is bred to like a route of ground — her best sibling was a stakes winner at a mile — and you have to wonder if the other Lynch-trained runner in here, #1 Tiz Included (15-1), was entered to make the race go for this one… #2 Lady Fox (2-1) rallied a little bit last time out in her first try in the Gary Capuano barn and can improve today… #4 One Last Trial (9-2) makes her second career start off a middling debut (trainer Rubley is 7-for-65 with second-time starters), while #3 Savedbythebelle (3-1) has been inching forward in each start (trainer Trombetta wins 16% of the time going maiden special to maiden claiming)…


  • 3-1-4-5
  • The scratch of the speedy Marie from Parie figures to benefit morning line favorite #1 Nine Martinis (7-5) most of all; she figured to be slugging it out on the front end with that rival and now may get it all her own way; the questions we confront with her are the distance — she’s 0-for-3 and ceded ground late last time going six furlongs — and the off-track (she’s 0-for-6)… That all steers us to #3 Our Star (9-5), who didn’t run badly last out against the pretty good Esterina in a Maryland-bred allowance, has won at the trip, and should sit a good stalking trip… 


  • 3-6-4-7
  • Trainer Claudio Gonzalez wins 28% of the time first off the claim with horses running in maiden claiming company, and five of his last six meeting those conditions have finished in the exacta, including two winners; that’s good news for #3 Wild River (3-1), whom he claimed last out; this one has a much better effort in his background — he was a decent fourth in special weight company on debut at the Fairgrounds last February — and hasn’t been terrible in two recent tries… #6 Yes Man (9-5) showed speed and stuck with it OK last time in a maiden race from which all four to run back have been one-two in their follow-ups… #4 Coffee Please (7-5) sat a similar trip to the winner last out, one path to that one’s outside, and gave a good account of himself…



  • 7-1-3-4
  • Favorite #7 Justin Front (6-5) looks formidable in this spot off a willing try against similar last out when finishing second; one question worth pondering is why rider McCarthy jumps ship? It may just be to ride for trainer Ness — those two have hooked up with considerable success up for more than 320 mounts in the last 13 months — for whom he rides #4 Boat Over the Hill (4-1), a late-running sort who’ll need a pace to materialize in front of him… He may not get that, and in fact, one distinct possibility is that #3 Chasing the Candy (7-2) sneaks away by himself and never comes back… Pretty good try last out by #1 Lectric Choke (8-1), who made up a lot of ground into the middle part of a fast-early race before flattening out late…


  • 3-4-2-8
  • Scratches change the complexion of this race, taking some speed types out and raising the possibility that #4 Shak’s Hidden Gem (9-2) steals this on the front end, and she enters this contest off a win in never-won-two company… #3 Dah Philly (3-1) has been stuck here for a while but likes this trip and the off track and may sit a winning trip… 


  • 9-8-4-2
  • Let’s see about an upset in this nickel event; #9 Catonsville (10-1) is the only real confirmed front-runner in this group and breaks from the outside, which should give rider Russell a chance to eyeball things before committing; the cutback to six furlongs should be fine, as he broke his maiden at this distance, and we won’t hold that last against him, as it was at a mile and he was flying early; finally, he’s a lightly raced sort working through his conditions, always a plus… #8 Grimgrinnin’ Ghost (4-1) lands in the right spot after getting spanked last out in allowance company but two races after winning against $10,000 foes; he had an excuse last time, and his two dirt tries are just fine… Two veterans who could factor are #4 Parade of Nations (6-1), an earner of $269,000 making his first start in the Gonzalez barn, and #2 Drive At Nite (6-1), a late-running six-time winner…



  • 6-4-1-5
  • The formful #6 Mess’n Around (6-5) hasn’t been running quite as well as in the middle of last year when twice stakes-placed, once second behind the very good Chalon, but she still seems to have enough in the tank to win here and last out won a three-other-than allowance at PRX… #4 Esterina (5-1) got cooked up front two back, but when allowed to control the pace in recent races, she’s proven a handful… #1 Tarawa (3-1) won an allowance at Fort Erie last out, in October, and trainer Justin Nixon has gone 3-for-8 in the last year with horses making their first starts at LRL…


  • 6-1-5-7
  • Pretty evenly matched group here, and we’ll go with #6 Higher Purpose (3-1); he didn’t run terribly last out against $12,500 claimers, and now he drops down to a nickel; it’s his second start in the Magee barn, and the trainer wins 37% of the time second-off-the-claim dropping down… #5 High Roller (5-2) ran a good one last out to win at this level, but the presence of other speed may complicate things for him, and could aid the cause of a mid-pack runner like #1 Bust Another (4-1)… 


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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