Laurel Park picks and ponderings February 13, 2020
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 — $12,711; Super High 5 — None; Late Pick 5 — None
Notable: No truth to the rumor that it always rains in Laurel, but today, with a sloppy track again, it does feel that way.
- Pretty good group of maiden claimers to start the racing week… #2 Golazo (3-1) ran pretty well on debut, rallying into third against similar, and four of seven to run back from that race have finished in the triple next out, including a winner; there could be enough speed in here to unleash his late kick… Trainer Brittany Russell has won with three of four maidens transferred into her barn, as is the case with #1 Royal Thunder (6-1), who gets blinkers off and arrives her after four tries against SoCal maiden specials; among the winners of those races was the recently-G2-placed Ginobili… Good debut effort by #3 Abuelo Paps (9-2), who finished second behind Stone Courageous, who later ran second in the Md. Million Nursery and third in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity; this one showed good speed and fought it out to the end; the only ding is that he hasn’t raced since August…
- Fresh off a good effort against similar — albeit a runner-up try as chalk — #5 Twin Valor (9-5), making his second start after a 2-plus month break, has a chance to control this one from the outset; last out, he won the pace battle and re-rallied late for second in a game effort…
- Sure, he was 1-2, but that was still a pretty good effort last out by #5 Chuck’s Dream (2-1), who, making his first start in just over a year, prevailed in the speed duel but could not contain the late run of Outside the Box; he can improve in his second off the long layoff, and even if he doesn’t he could win here… #9 Carthage (6-1) seems to be gradually moving in the right direction; he was slow to switch leads in the lane last time, which didn’t help his cause any, and he still probably would’ve been second, but it was a decent effort all the same… In his first start since last April, #2 Devotion in Motion (12-1) makes a big drop after having tried maiden special weight and $25,000 maiden claiming company in his first two; trainer Hugh McMahon finds a soft spot to mount a comeback, and if this one has any talent, he can contend in this spot…
- Here’s a race where you could take a dartboard and pick the winner that way; virtually all of these look the same, so what’s a ‘capper to do? We’ll go off the board with #5 Top Me Off (8-1); this one has some plenty good efforts in his past — including an allowance win (though he was DQed) at DEL back in August — and he might be forging back towards his better form; last out, in his first after being claimed by Carlos Mancilla, he won easily a level down from here after getting an easy lead; Mancilla’s is the hottest barn on the grounds, and in the last five months, he’s 4-for-8 second off the claim… #7 Marden (4-1) and #6 Flip (9-2) ran in each other’s hip pockets all the way around last time, which ended up not being a winning answer as they were passed by winner Robin Hood and runner-up #3 Sassy King (6-1), who gave a good account of himself at 14-1…
- Nobody in this group is in better form than #1 Artful Splatter (8-5), who enters riding a four-race win streak that includes scores in a Maryland-bred allowance and, last out, in the Geisha (also for Maryland-breds) over Anna’s Bandit, who’s entered in Saturday’s G3 Barbara Fritchie; Anna’s Bandit is clearly better than any this miss will face here; this one loves the off-track and projects as controlling speed, and all that should be enough to overcome any slight distance questions… #3 My Queen Michelle (4-1) hasn’t run badly despite repeated trip issues; her lack of early zip hasn’t helped, but if she can ever work out a voyage where she’s not hung out wide — or breaking slowly, or stuck in traffic — she can move forward… Trainer Todd Pletcher has sent two down to Laurel thus far this meet, and they went off at 1-5 and 3-5, one winning and the other finishing second; #7 Team Win (4-1) should provide better odds than that but will need to step up to win here…
- Trainer Mary Eppler finds a good spot for #9 Miss Aliphant (8-5), who last out ran past 3-5 favorite to win an N3L at Gulfstream; that was a slow early-fast late race, and this one finds a cozy spot to double up… We’re gonna draw a line through that last one for #3 Canoochee (12-1), who one race prior had just missed in a good try against $16,000 rivals at PEN; Jevian Toledo gets the call here, and he and trainer Potts are clicking at a 26% rate… #6 Towson (2-1) ran a good one last out before settling for second, but it feels like this mile trip is right at the outer edge of her capabilities; she’s been second five times in seven tries, usually ceding ground in the final furlong… Trainer Scott Lake sends out a pair, and we’ll take the longer-priced #4 Nothin But a Smile (20-1), who gets Lake’s local go-to rider Cedeno in the irons…
- Last time out, #9 Allthewrongreasons (5-2) and #8 Indian Ghost (6-1) mounted furious late rallies, and while they were never close to the winner, Bucked Tooth, who came back to repeat, they did gallop out in tandem ahead of that one; we’ll take the former in this spot, as he generally is a bit more tactical, and in a race without much early pace, that should matter… Trainer Kieron Magee’s barn has been thriving here in 2020, and he has a 39% strike rate in recent years with horses making their second starts after he claimed them while dropping 50% in class, as is the case with #6 Lunar Image (12-1), who ran evenly against better and gets go-to rider McCarthy up… Wondering if #5 Sing a Verse (6-1), who took 14 tries to break his maiden, has finally had the lightbulb go on…
- Let’s finish up with the Dale Capuano-trained #3 Redeemed Spirit (9-2) in the finale; Capuano, who plays the claiming game as well as anyone, makes an aggressive drop here with a horse who ran poorly last out against much better; this one improved in her first start in his barn, when breaking her maiden, and can bounce back today; note also that he had a pair entered in here and scratched the other… #4 Blue Sky Venezuela (5-2) certainly has some solid tries in her background but has made only one start — that on the synthetic at Woodbine — since last June; she’s been working fast at trainer Tessore’s Pimlico base…
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