Laurel Park picks and ponderings February 28, 2020

by | Feb 28, 2020 | Breaking, Handicapping

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 — $3,100; Super High 5 — None; Late Pick 5 — None

Notable: 

ANALYSIS

RACE 1

  • 1-2-5-6
  • Sneaky good effort last time out by #1 Bless the Rains (2-1) last time, though you’ll want to keep an eye on the odds and make sure she doesn’t get bet down too much; last time she made a bold middle move up the rail on an outside bias day at Laurel before emptying out; her move came during the portion of the race where the horses up front were still running… No reason #2 Tapittizer RVF (5-2) can’t win in this spot; she just ran evenly last time, but that was two levels up from here and four of six to run back finished in the triple next time; the added ground may work for this one… 

RACE 2 

  • 4-5-2-3
  • The top pair in here look formidable… Top choice #4 Hufflepuff (7-5) returned from a couple-month break to run a good third in a willing effort chasing a 2-5 favorite versus allowance company; she can improve today… #5 Pretty Edgy (6-5) ran huge on debut, winning the speed duel and drawing away to win by seven; of the top four to run back, three finished in the money next time; the question mark here is that she has not raced since that flashy debut in December and was a vet scratch a couple weeks back…

RACE 3 

  • 7-2-5-6
  • Where’s the speed gonna come from in this $16,000 claimer going a mile? The major players in here all figure to come running late, but who’ll be running early? There’s a decent chance it might be the stretching-out sprinter #7 Pataz (8-1); the Mike Gorham trainee has a couple of pretty OK efforts against similar in his last two; his only try beyond six furlong was not good, but it came when he was part of a rapid pace, whereas today he’ll likely either be setting a softer pace or up on a manageable one… First off the claim for trainer Jamie Ness with #2 Two L’s Meow (3-1), and his go-to rider, Trevor McCarthy, who also rode #3 Boat Over the Hill (3-1) last time, picks this runner instead… That was a good try last time for #5 Walk Away Joe (5-2); though fourth, that was in a race from which all four to run back have finished in the money; note that rider Cintron picks this one over our top selection…

ANALYSIS

RACE 4

  • 2-1-6-5
  • The top last-out Beyer of any of the five runners in this nickel claimer is a 28, which pretty much tells you what you need to know quality-wise here… We landed on the favorite, #2 American Star (8-5), because trainer Sanchez-Salomon wins at a 39% clip second off the 60-day-plus layoff (7-for-18), but your mileage may vary… #1 Iam a Dancer (4-1) has not impressed in two tries versus winners but finds a much easier spot here… #6 Trading Cents (2-1) is a closing sort who’s finished second twice versus similar…

RACE 5 

  • 6-2-8-1
  • The bad news on #6 Frisky Whiskey (9-2) is that she’s been scratched twice since her last start, once a vet scratch, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the toteboard a little bit; the good news is she ran great last time, when she was part of a very fast early pace (it was the fastest half-mile of several one-mile races that day, including an allowance, and the six furlongs was just shy of the fastest) and staying on willingly to the wire; the runner-up that day returned to beat similar next out; if she can repeat that without getting cooked early, she’ll be tough today… #8 Towson (5-2) certainly merits respect and was the 7-10 favorite last time when she reared at the break and lost all chance; the problem with here is that gate issues are not an infrequent occurrence (five of her last 10 starts), so she’s worth trying to beat just on the premise that if she doesn’t get away, she could have problems, and the odds don’t figure to entice… #2 Dah Philly (6-1) has finished behind Towson twice recently but does enter off a win and attracts the services of leading rider McCarthy…

RACE 6 

  • 5-2-4-3
  • A couple of these figure to be looking for an early advantage, which might set things up best for #5 Military Hop (5-2), who gave a decent account of himself last time versus similar… The morning line favorite, #3 Dirtyfoot (2-1), was in good form when last seen last June, but trainer Rob Bailes is 0-for-11 with horses returning from 180-day-plus breaks, and that last allowance field he saw was not the greatest… The speedy #2 Ziggy Mon (5-2) controlled it early but couldn’t seal the deal last time at this level and now will have to contend with pressure from #4 You Can Never Tell (12-1)…

ANALYSIS

RACE 7

  • 5-6-1-2
  • Obviously the deserving favorite and most likely winner in this maiden claimer is the class-dropping #6 Sacred Lady (8-5); but there are enough questions to make us want to poke around for value; after showing patience with her, trainer Lacey Gaudet seems rather abruptly to have reached the end of the line, dropping this one two levels just two races removed from a near-miss second at the $40k maiden level; Alex Cintron, who rode her last time, is not aboard (and has no other mount in the race); and this is a horse whose races have all (but one) been at 7 furlongs or beyond now cutting back to 5 1/2… The most likely beneficiary if Sacred Lady doesn’t bring her A game is #5 Sand in My Shoes (5-2), who ran credibly on debut against better despite being hung out wide throughout and now drops a level for her second career start…

RACE 8

  • 6-12-3-1
  • The challenge for morning line favorite #12 Hand Rail (5-2), who enters after a win and makes her second start following a four-month break, will be overcoming the 12-post and not getting hung out in the parking lot; she showed good speed last time and will need it, with another speedy type, #11 R True Sensation (4-1), immediately to her inside… All of this may stand #6 Crossingthevalley (7-2) in good stead; she rallied into fourth last time against similar and galloped out past everyone… First start since November for #3 Fifteen K (9-2), who rank OK against similar that day… 

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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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