Laurel Park picks and ponderings February 22, 2020

by | Feb 22, 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 — $1,031; Super High 5 — $781; Late Pick 5 — $4,563




  • 3-5-1-7
  • #3 Dyna’s Knight (2/1): Gets a much-needed cutback in distance after a non-effort going 1 ⅛ miles last out. Also dropping back to maiden claiming company after dipping his toe into the MSW waters.
  • #5 Burn and Turn (5/2): Minnesota-bred makes his local debut for the Scott Lake barn. Last out, he drew off to a big lead in the stretch at Parx, only to wilt late and finish third. He’s been knocking on the door against similar types, with brisnet figures consistently in the mid-70s. That could be good enough to win this one.
  • #1 Power Back (10/1): Made decent ground in the stretch to finish fourth last out, ran a career-best dirt figure two races back. Should be heard from late with a strong closing kick.


  • 7-4-6-2
  • #7 Save Me Paula (5/1): That was a sneaky heroic effort two starts back: he closed from way out of it off a very slow pace just to get within seven lengths in the end. Last out, he rallied well in the last eighth to get second. Russell will need to keep him a little more forwardly placed, but he’s got the ability to run a big one.
  • #4 Wild Wood North (3/1): Makes his first start against winners here, after breaking his maiden at Penn National last out. In that race, he ran a career-best figure by 19 points. Will he regress off that race, or keep going forward? He got a good setup in that big win, for sure, but there’s enough cheap speed in here that it could happen again.
  • #6 Awesome at Riedes (9/2): Another lightly-raced sort, he’s won two races in a row, including a 17/1 upset score last out. Most notably, he’s the only one in the race with a win against winners. He also should stalk and pounce.


  • 1-5-4-2
  • #1 Harpers First Ride (2/1): The Harrison Johnson Stakes has to be on the mind of his people. He’s a perfect 3-for-3 over the Laurel track, including a desperate neck win last out at the n/w2x level. Lightly-raced 4-year-old gelding looks like a near-certain stakes winner by year’s end.
  • #5 Smooth B (6/1): Stretches out after an eye-catching win at Parx two races back, and a third-place finish in the Dave’s Friend Stakes last out. He’ll try to go as fast as he can, as far as he can.
  • #4 Toughest ‘Ombre (7/2): Finished a pace-challenged second to Senior Investment last out, who came back to win at Parx earlier this week. If Smooth B flattens out on the lead, he’ll be the first one to get a crack at picking up the pieces.



  • 6-1-5-3
  • #6 Final Prospect (9/5): Returns to his native state after spending time in Pennsylvania. Raced wide last out but flattened out, running a strong figure of 91 in the process. In fact, he’s run at least an 87 in each of his last three races; the other six in the race have only done that twice between them in their last three.
  • #1 Bob’s My Uncle (4/1): He’s hit the board in his last seven races, without a win to show for it. This veteran is a great candidate for the exacta and trifecta spots, not so much for win betting.
  • #5 Federal Walk (7/2): Races for the first time since July 27. He’s won five of fourteen at Laurel lifetime, mostly by getting a loose lead. He’ll hope to do the same thing here.


  • 5-4-7-1
  • #5 Garrison’s Charge (12/1): Ran a big race first off the long layoff last out, beating a maiden claiming group by three lengths. Takes a jump in class here, but is coming in here with good works and is lightly raced enough to make me think an upset could be in the works.
  • #4 Going to the Lead (5/1): Appropriately named gelding has great tactical speed. He’s never missed the board in seven dirt starts, and battled on well to finish third last out.
  • #7 Goodluckjohnathan (4/1): The 1-for-23 career record is unsightly, to put it kindly, but he did run a big race first off the layoff in his last start. He’s also consistently running figures in the mid-80s/low-90s. Gomez jumps off to ride Outside the Box; Sheldon Russell picks up the assignment.


  • 4-5-1-2
  • #4 Beyond the Victory (8/1): I’ll take another stab at a horse running second off the layoff. He’s taking a big drop in class from his first race back, has been working very well since then, and hopefully won’t be pulling like he did last time.
  • #5 Wild River (5/1): Impressive maiden winner takes a shot against winners for the first time. Improved sharply first off the claim for Gonzalez; I have to imagine the second time will be just as good.
  • #1 Moti (3/1): This closer soundly beat a field of winners last out at Penn National, but was disqualified for lugging out late. The long stretch run at Laurel should play into his hands.



  • 8-3-4-5
  • #8 Steady Love (4/1): Already a two-time victor against winners, including a professional two-turn score at Parx last out. Has good tactical speed, and should be able to stalk and pounce.
  • #3 Miss Tap Dance (3/1): After an impressive maiden win, showed speed and stopped against n/w1x foes last out. Not a ton of dangerous speed here, so the only question is if she can stretch out.
  • #4 Baby Karats (10/1): Grinded on and won her debut at Turfway Park last out, with an impressive brisnet figure of 78. Interested to see how she stretches out from 6 ½ furlongs.


  • 5-1A-7-2
  • #5 Liquid Hero (7/2): Faces an easier field than last time, when he was second with some mild closing kick. That was also a career-best figure, an 85. Marquez keeps the mount.
  • #1A Bucked Tooth (3/1): Speedy gelding has won two in a row while winging it on the front end. You have to imagine Cintron will be gunning it once again.
  • #7 High Roller (5/2): Was compromised by a slow start last time, but when he broke cleanly two races ago, he won easily. Can he get away well this time?


About The Author

John Piassek

John Piassek is currently the communications manager for the Maryland Horse Breeders Association. He's written for Thee Racing Biz since 2015, and has also written about mid-Atlantic racing for Danonymous Racing and the Daily Gallop. In the past, he's worked for America's Best Racing, Freehold Raceway, Tioga Downs, Saratoga Race Course, and Monmouth Park. He graduated from Loyola University Maryland in 2018 with a degree in marketing, and is a member of the inaugural Maryland Thoroughbred Career Program class of 2017. Find John on twitter: @theyreoff.

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