Laurel Park picks and ponderings February 17, 2020

by | Feb 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 — $25,998; Super High 5 — None; Late Pick 5 — None




  • 2-1-3-5
  • The late-running #2 Landing Zone (5-2) could find the race shaping up to her liking; there’s sufficient speed here to give her the trip she wants, which was not the case last time at the $25,000 level when 1-2 fave Magical Luna got loose on the lead in a four-horse field… One of the speedy sorts she’ll be behind early is #1 Always Talking (3-1), who enters with a three-race win streak and makes her first start in the Magee barn today… #3 Make It a Double (9-5) has run a couple of bang-up races, but until she does it on a fast track, we’re not inclined to accept short odds on her; her maiden win came on a muddy track, and her last-out second at CT was over sloppy going; her best fast-track Beyer fig is a 48…


  • 4-5-2-6
  • The big ol’ #4 Plot the Dots (9-5) ran a perfectly fine race going six furlongs but should relish the added quarter-mile today… #5 Barrister (2-1) sat a winning trip last time out and just missed getting it done; he gets Cintron up today… Let’s give one more crack to #2 Ragtime Cowboy Joe (15-1), who at least showed a little bit of speed on debut before backing out; Allen’s go-to rider, Karamanos, gets aboard, and the runner-up from that debut contest came back to graduate yesterday…


  • 1-5-8-3
  • Top choice #1 Petion Lass (8-5) ran on willingly for second last time and makes her second start in the Geralis barn; Geralis is 5-for-24 (21%) second off the claim… Second choice on the morning line #3 Close the Deal (2-1) certainly fits on paper, but she’s trying a route of ground for the first time on dirt, and her siblings have been sprinters…



  • 5-6-7-2
  • Pretty good group gathered for this starter/optional claimer, and we’ll give the nod to #5 Divine Interventio (5-1); the late-running type makes his second start in the McMahon barn and ran a good one against similar last time; we like that, while many of these are dropping in class, McMahon moved this one up last time and leaves him there today… #6 Sir Orinoco (7-2) didn’t run a bad race last time, when fourth by a length against similar, and both to have run back have won, including show horse Stroll Smokin, who won the nightcap on Saturday… 


  • 3-5-6-7
  • This race and the seventh are the two best on the card, and both are terrific versions of their condition… The slight favorite here is the hard-hitting #6 Bobby G (2-1); the Corrales trainee wore down the talented Benintendi two back to win a first-level allowance but found the water a little deep last time in a two-other-than; dropped back to starter company, there’s no reason he can’t win here… We’ll try to beat him, though, with #3 Awesome Fu (9-2); this one had a five-race win streak snapped last out when fourth in a starter at CT, but in that race, he was compromised when another runner went on what amounted to a suicide mission to prevent him from getting the early lead; it worked, in that Awesome Fu burned himself out and then faded to fourth, though on the other hand, that rival finished two dozen lengths farther back; in this contest, he might get the pace to himself… #5 Sparty (3-1) beat Bobby G two back but emptied out last time to fourth in a first allowance…


  • 1-7-3-4
  • Top choice #1 Zombie (9-2) ran well to be runner-up last out against similar and can move forward in his second in the Ness barn and second off a bit of a break… The winner that day was #7 Midnight Cry (5-2), who certainly fits here, but the question with him is the distance; he’s a speedy sort who’s one his very best work going 5 1/2 furlongs; he’s capable of winning at six, but in a fairly evenly matched field, we’ll try to beat him at a distance just beyond his best… The hard-hitting #3 Miners Quest (7-2) keeps churning out decent races ata age nine, and while he was fifth last out, that was a solid heat that’s produced two next-out winners…



  • 3-4-1-5
  • This race could be a minor stake or at least a money allowance, and instead it’s a starter/optional claimer with a $30,000 purse… Top choice #3 Onemoregreattime (9-5) won a three-other-than last time out, beating #1 Taco Supream (2-1) and Threes Over Deuces; the former, who’s here today, won the Maryland Million Sprint, while the latter ran a near-miss second in the Fire Plug Stakes and then second again in the G3 General George; this one should get a good up-close trip and has never been worse than third at the trip… #4 Brother Chub (3-1) didn’t run particularly well in the Fire Plug but has two wins over the strip and won a Claiming Crown race two back…


  • 6-2-1-3
  • Top choice #6 Gray Gary (5-2) has run back-to-back good races since switching into the Ness barn; Ness scratched him out of the Miracle Wood Saturday for this much easier spot… This looks like a good spot for #2 Tastes Like Plaid (7-2), who was a well-beaten third a level up from here in a race from which winner Bodeflex returned to win an allowance… #1 Rookie Salsa (2-1) ran a big one last out in his first try in the Gonzalez barn to win versus similar, but second-off-the-claim plus won-last-out is an oddly negative angle for the Gonzalez barn; he’s just 8-for-56 in that situation, far below his regular strike rate…


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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