Laurel Park picks and ponderings February 23, 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 — None; Super High 5 — None; Late Pick 5 — None
Notable: Trainer Kieron Magee is 12-for-40 (30%) with a positive ROI with horses making their first start after he’s claimed them and running against maiden claiming rivals.
- A very soft group of bottom-level maidens on tap in the lid-lifter, with a favorite, #2 Khalos Vision (9-5), dropping a step after a distant third-place finish last time and a second choice, #5 Meet Michelle (2-1), who last out was second against similar but is still a maiden 10 tries in… This is a race that could blow up, so let’s try to beat ’em both with the class-dropping #7 I Am Aine (12-1); the Michelle Nevin trainee has back-to-back terrible efforts against NY-bred maidens in her last two, but her debut (relatively speaking) wasn’t terrible; if she can get back to that, she can win here… The Dale Capuano-trained #6 Cold Hearted Gal (4-1) ran poorly last time but her debut, against similar and on a fast track, was competitive; she’s making just her third start, and getting back to a fast track might be the answer…
- Chalk time: like the way #3 Twirling Liz (6-5) battled back last time when after being passed by two runners, she fought back to grab second; she looks like the speed of the speed in here unless fill-in rider Pimentel really sends #4 Raging Blaze (6-1); the latter, a Brittany Russell trainee, led gate to wire last time to graduate but didn’t have to go especially fast to do it…
- Here’s the thing: the favorite in here, #3 Conquesthardcherry (2-1) is fine and enters this contest in the best form of her career; she could win here; but she’s skipping a condition (she could still run in never-won-three company), and that makes taking short odds on her hard to stomach; keep her on the ticket, by all means, but let’s try to beat her… #5 Splendor Gal (9-2) has some competitive tries versus similar, including her runner-up effort last time, and today she’s making her third start off an 8-month break; she could be ready to deliver a peak performance; note that trainer Reid protected her in her first start back, so he clearly has hopes she’ll knock this condition down… #2 Girl Drama (8-1) has much better efforts in her background — she won a starter allowance last April — so we’ll see if trainer Jose Corrales can dig her better form up after a five-month break…
- Trainer Kieron Magee is 12-for-40 (30%) with a positive ROI with horses making their first start after he’s claimed them and running against maiden claiming rivals; that’s the case with #3 Edit and Simplify (5-2), who stuck with it OK last time against similar; this one debuted with a not-bad try against maiden special weight foes at Laurel and can move forward today in her second off an 11-month break… This appears to be the only likely value in here, with the top pair #2 Stiva (8-5) and #4 Not My Money (2-1) likely to be overbet…
- The favorite in this two-other-than allowance is #4 Warm (2-1), and if this race were at a mile, or even seven-eighths, she’d be a pretty easy selection; but it’s at six furlongs, and it’s unclear that really works to her advantage (she was out of the money in her only try at the trip)… A horse who ought to enjoy the trip, on the other hand, is #6 Cause I’m Edgy (9-2), who won a first-level allowance two back, beating another logical contender in the process, #5 Three Hawk (5-2); trainer Kelly Rubley took a swing with Cause I’m Edgy, putting her in the Willa On the Move Stakes for her next start, and while that didn’t go so well (she finished eighth), it’s worth nothing that winner Majestic Reason returned to win the G3 Fritchie last weekend; this one can jump back to better form today against a more manageable group; rider Pimentel stays…
- Top choice #3 Two Hot Betty (4-1) has better efforts to run back to on the drop-down in class, and it’s worth noting that she had excuses in each of her last two versus better… We’ll give a crack to #1 Castle Ridge (6-1), who ran pretty well last time in starter company in her first in the Kee barn and may improve against a bit of an easier group… Favored #6 Firth (5-2) has run faster on off tracks than she ever has on a fast main track, which is what she’ll be on today…
- Top choice #1 Moon Virginia (3-1) may get the right setup today to advantage her late-running style; runners like #2 Dr. Ann (3-1) and #5 Mortal Storm (4-1) figure to provide the early pace action, and that might be just what Moon Virginia needs to come running late; she beat similar last time, and leading rider McCarthy remains aboard…#3 Hell of Afire (2-1) enters in career-best form and ran third in a two-other than last out at PRX from which the runner-up returned to win at LRL…
- Hard to take expected short odds on favored #3 Global Citizen (2-1), who ran poorly in his prior start and hasn’t raced since May; trainer DePaz is 5-for-38 (13%) off similar long layoffs; we’ll keep this one on the ticket but try to beat him on top… The versatile #2 Port Louis (5-2) hasn’t won since his 67-1 Maryland Million shocker but continues to run pretty good races and last time was second against similar; he’s been away since 1/3/20 and shows two fast works in the interim… #4 Seany P (9-2) was third in an open allowance contest just eight days ago, and trainer Robb is 7-for-27 (26%) off layoffs of eight days or less…
LATEST IN HANDICAPPING
Who’ll win the Preakness, Dinner Party, and the other graded stakes on the Saturday card? We asked our experts for their opinions.
We provide picks and analysis for this evening’s card at Charles Town Races.
We provide full-card picks and analysis for this afternoon’s Preakness day card from Pimlico!