Laurel Park picks and ponderings March 1, 2020

by | Mar 1, 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 — $6,499; Super High 5 — None; Late Pick 5 — None




  • 2-6-5-1
  • Keep calm and eat the chalk in the opener; #2 Don’tbaggagecheck (1-1) takes an aggressive but not inappropriate drop after getting thrashed by better three straight; trainer Albert goes hunting a win here with a horse whose better (and possibly even worse) efforts are good enough… #6 Blue Sky Venezuela (5-2)  can improve in second off the claim for Tessore, who attracts leading rider McCarthy; this one’s probably better on turf but might still offer some value in this spot, so keep an eye on the toteboard…


  • 4-6-1-5
  • First time off the claim for Gonzalez with #4 Kickstartmyheart (4-1) who ran well enough last time out against $25,000 maidens; Gonzalez is 31% first off the claim with maiden claimers and catches a manageable group here… Favored #1 Guilia Ammannati (9-5) certainly is a contender, but short odds not recommended: she’ll make her first start since August, first on dirt, and first in the DePaz barn (4-for-23 1st with the trainer), and that’s a lot of firsts to accept favoritism on a horse… #6 Hydra (3-1) ran credibly in her last, and trainer Robb (32% 2nd off the claim) switches to go-to rider Perez; this one may appreciate getting back on a fast track for the first time since December 2018…


  • 8-3-2-4
  • Let’s take a swing at an upset in this bottom maiden event…. #8 Bandolini (8-1) showed a bit of speed last time for the opening half-mile before backing out while wide on the turn and today drops to the bottom level; he has better efforts in his past, though, trainer Geralis is 3-for-21 (14%) second-off-long layoffs, and we like that he waived the claiming tag last time; seems to suggest he liked what he was seeing in the morning… #3 Coast to Coast (9-5) and #4 Goodluckchuck (5-2) both ran second against similar last time, the latter chasing a 3-10 favorite… #2 Leading Man (5-1) might appreciate this distance and has generally seemed to like shortening up from a mile to sprint distances in the past…



  • 5-7-3-6
  • The late-running #5 Lady Rozina (7-2) missed by less than a length last time against similar; all three to run back from that contest have finished in the exacta, including two who won and the winner, Hand Rail, who ran second on 2/29… Trainer Jamie Ness doesn’t have a great record bringing horses back from long layoffs (2-for-15), but we like to see that he’s protecting #7 Two Carat (4-1); though she’s a cheaper horse, that suggests he thinks she still has some wins in her…


  • 8-2-3-4
  • The favorite in here, #2 Whats the Chances (2-1), certainly ought to be on the ticket; the Despite the Odds gelding has been working well enough, and trainer Trombetta has a 17% strike rate with debut maiden claimers; the problem is the likely odds; when taking first-timers in bottom company, you want to get paid a little bit (these aren’t horses that’ll have big reputations behind them), and that’s not likely to happen here… So we’ll look for slightly better odds with #8 Fifty Seven Chevy (3-1), who finished second last time against similar while well clear of the rest; the only horse to run back graduated next out, and that was the last-place finisher… 


  • 2-4-1-3
  • No question that #4 Twixy Cat (4-5) deserves to be the favorite in this $25k claimer after some pretty OK tries against better, including last out a fourth-place finish in an allowance behind Bodeflex, who’s posted back-to-back 80+ Beyer speed figs… But what’s fun about 4-5? Let’s take a look at #2 Tappin Honor (8-1); this runner impressed on debut, winning by a half-dozen at Santa Anita while earning a 70 Beyer, but has not run particularly well since; however, that last may be better than it looks; he won the early speed duel, and while others came and picked up the pieces, the horse he bested in that duel returned to win next out… #1 Forfiftyfiverocket (7-2) has beaten similar a couple of times… Not totally sold on #3 Inside Risk (7-2), who nevertheless remains on the ticket; he looked to be on the best part of the track last time, running outside the leader on what seemed to be an outside-preferred day, but he couldn’t get by and had to settle for second; plus, while that rival came back to win again, it was once again in a four-horse field…



  • 2-1-7-4
  • #6 Savour the Moment (2-1) is a good example of the kind of favorite we’re always going to toss, while understanding we’re gonna lose some of those bets; her body of work says she fits here, and trainer Cal Lynch knows how to win (and legs up go-to rider McCarthy); so why toss? This is a runner whose connections dropped $40,000 on her in November on a day when she ran credibly; so you have to ask why they’re dropping her in for $25,000 today. Plus, she looks to be a turf horse, and if they waited just a few more weeks, they could run her back in a two-other-than on turf, where she’d look just fine, but instead they drop her in today and risk taking a loss on her (and not on her preferred surface); again, she could win, and if she does, you take your lumps and understand that’s how the game goes, but if you have too many questions about a horse’s presence in the race, it’s best to toss the horse or avoid the race altogether… Instead, we’ll shoot for another upset special: #2 Special Included (12-1) ran a pretty blah race last time out, but it’s important to understand how much tougher that $25,000 starter condition is at PRX than this one is at LRL; while this is for horses that have never won three, that one’s for horses that have never won four or have never won a race other than maiden, claiming or starter; the horse that won her last, Wicked Awesome, entered off an 11-length allowance win at PEN, and on this one’s best day, when second at that same level back in May, the winner had just won an allowance at AQU; if nothing else, the class relief should help… As a general rule, when trainer Lacey Gaudet moves horses up off the claim, they tend to be well meant, and that’s the case with #7 Nine Martinis (6-1), who also gets blinkers on…


  • 2-6-1-7
  • We’re chomping on the chalk with #2 Vee’s Super Star (2-1), who’s a good example of an apple falling a long way from the tree; he’s a half-brother to 2004 Eclipse champion two-year-old Declan’s Moon, here arriving at the bottom… A good example of past performances not telling you the whole story is #6 V for Violence (5-2); the pp’s indicate he sold at autction in 2017 for $90,000, which is true; what they don’t tell you is he’s been offered in two subsequent auctions, once not reaching his reserve (after getting a top bid of $29,000) and, this past December, selling for $3,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December Mixed Sale; why this matters is that a $90,000 horse debuting for $10,000 is an automatic toss, while a $3,000 horse debuting at that level is just where he belongs; trainer Farrior is 4-for-18 with first-timers in maiden claiming company…


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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