Laurel Park picks and ponderings February 15, 2020

by | Feb 14, 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 — $17,140; Super High 5 — $3,055; Late Pick 5 — None

Notable: Irad Ortiz, back-to-back winner of the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey, has five mounts at Laurel Park today and is slated to ride the favorite in three stakes races.



  • 1-3-4-6
  • Scratch of second choice Paloma Gris leaves this race all about #1 Song of the Night (2-5); she’s not a world-beater by any means, but she ought to win here by as much as the rider pleases in a field in which no other runner has ever run close to as fast as she has…


  • 3-5-4-7
  • After trying to move up the ladder off his two-back graduation, the Carl Doran-trained #3 Talented Dr. B (5-1) lands in the right spot here for his never-two try; didn’t run terribly last out against better and should find this group more to his liking while working out a close-up trip… #5 Rumson Rally (2-1) ran a huge race last time in first try without Lasix when closing nicely despite a slow early pace; the last quarter was the fastest of any of the three mile races that day, and this one made up over two lengths into it; the winner of that race, Campari, won again yesterday; the problem is this one is a very late-running sort and will have a lot to do here in a race that just doesn’t project to have much speed…  #4 Alphastest (3-1) certainly fits with these but it’s tough to suggest taking short odds on a horse whose only prior one-mile and fast-track tries — which came in the same race — were terrible (albeit against better)…


  • 6-2-4-1
  • Favored #4 Mama’s Grey Ghost (9-5) certainly ran a good one on debut, dueling with the winner before settling for second while clear of the rest; trainer Farrior is 5-for-22 with second-time starters who were in the money on debut… We’ll try for a mild upset, though, with #6 Deco Strong (2-1), whose debut looks fine on the page but was even better visually; she was up close early, rated back while in tight, basically dropped out of contention, and then regrouped for a strong finish inside that saw her earn second, just a half-length from winning; a cleaner trip puts her in the winner’s circle… Don’t sleep on #2 Factorintheheat (7-2), who was a disappointing fourth last time but who two back ran a good third at this level; the cutback in distance should help, and trainer Mary Eppler attracts the services of rider Irad Ortiz, in for the stakes on the card…



  • 3-4-6-7
  • Top choice #3 Alwaysmining (3-1) looks to be rounding into best form and projects as speed of the speed in a race whittled by scratches down to five… The late-running #4 Someday Jones (5-2) couldn’t get to #6 Monongahela (2-1) two back in the Swatara but ran past him (and everyone else) last out in the Native Dancer; enters in career-best form… #6 Monongahela (2-1) gets Irad Ortiz up — that sure won’t hurt — and looks to get back on track after bouncing a bit last out; best efforts probably make him a winner here…


  • 1-6-9-5
  • If one of these has the look of a potential star, it’s the versatile #1 Bella Auroroa (3-1); the Trombetta trainee is 2-for-2 on the main track and handled the jump to stakes company with aplomb last time when winning the Gin Talking; also stakes-placed on the grass; regular rider Pimentel aboard for seventh consecutive time… #6 Princess Cadey (5-1) has won three straight since being claimed by Claudio Gonzalez, with speed figs jumping from 58 to 77; throttled allowance rivals last time and arrives with best last-out fig in the group… #9 Bankruptonthebeach (9-2) won at first asking at MTH, but that was back in July, and she hasn’t raced since; working slowly towards return, but that’s trainer Jason Servis’ M. O., and you have to think he doesn’t return in stakes company if he doesn’t like what he’s seeing; has a 35% strike rate off the long break and gets rider Ortiz to take the mount…


  • 3-6-5-7
  • The connections that brought you dual-Classic winner Smarty Jones — Patricia Chapman and her Someday Farm, with trainer John Servis — may return to the spotlight with a son of Smarty Jones named #3 Dreams Untold (5-2); this gelding was a decent third on debut and followed that up with an eye-catching 14-length score in a Parx maiden event; he’s showing two good works in the interim, and rider Irad Ortiz will be in the irons… #6 Bernie’s On Fire (9-2) will try to get a stalk-and-pounce trip under Carrasco; he’s run two good ones and a stinker and will stretch past six furlongs for the first time… #5 Albert Park (7-2), owner of a stakes win on synthetic, showed he can run on dirt, too, when second last out in the Pasco at TAM… #7 Amen Corner (10-1) gets Lasix for the first time following a nice-looking maiden score; he’ll also stretch out and try a fast track for the first time…



  • 2-6-3-4
  • Favored #2 Saguaro Row (9-5) enters in terrific form today: stakes wins in two of her last three, sandwiched around a runner-up effort in the G3 Go For Wand behind G1 winner Spiced Perfection; she’s run well at the trip, too, and the only chink in her armor is a third-place finish over the strip four back in the restricted Shine Again… #6 Needs Supervision (9-2)  had a bit too much to do late last time in the What a Summer and benefited from a perfect trip three back to win the Safely Kept; in between, she ran evenly in the Go for Wand, finishing just shy of two lengths behind our top choice here; she’ll need her best… #3 Blue Eyed Girl (8-1) impressed last out when galloping in a second-level allowance here and will get a class test today… 


  • 6-9-5-7
  • Hard to get past the favorite in here; #6 Firenze Fire (4-5) has earned about three times his nearest rival here, and the millionaire’s recent resume includes two G1 placings, a respectable fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, and two recent stakes wins against ungraded foes; he’s 0fer at the distance but did finish second at the trip in the G1 Forego, so that doesn’t seem an issue; Irad Ortiz is up for Jason Servis… Hard to improve a horse more than Linda Rice has done with #9 Wicked Trick (6-1), whom she claimed in August for $16,000 out of what was his second straight win; he’s since added four more wins, including two allowance scores, while his Beyer figs have risen to a new high of 101; he’ll get a class test today but so far has passed every test thrown at him in recent months… #5 Honor the Fleet (12-1) won the local prep for this contest, the Fire Plug, and showed a new dimension; the usual front-runner sat off the pace and then mowed ’em down with an inside move… Among his beaten rivals — by just a neck — was the hard-luck #7 Threes Over Deuces (12-1), who’s finished second by less than a length in six of his last 12 races…


  • 5-2-7-6
  • Our theory of this race is that the speedy #2 Stroll Smokin (5-2) is going to gun for the early lead, with #5 Major Flirt (3-1) moving up to press him just to his outside, and that the latter will take over in the lane to win in a race that doesn’t have a lot of early zip… #7 Hero’s Hope (9-2) finished a couple behind our top choice last time after a wide journey and gets rider Russell up; he and trainer Farrior have a 32% strike rate together…


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