Laurel Park picks and ponderings July 4, 2020
Anna’s Bandit. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:40 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $0 Super High 5 — $1,980 Late Pick 5 — $13,549
Notable: Until further notice, no fans are allowed to attend the races at Laurel Park. For more info, click here.
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $16,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
- #10 Old Line Magic (3/1): She’s the best closer in a race loaded with early speed. In her last start, her first off a long break, she closed from thirteen lengths out of it to narrowly miss second. Her most recent workout was excellent; she went three furlongs in 35.4 on June 26.
- #12 La Silueta (7/2): Lightly-raced filly exits the same race at Old Line Magic, and beat her out by a head with a strong closing kick. It was her first start off the layoff; she should move forward with a race under her belt. She peaked at a brisnet figure of 70 in her final start of 2019; that number would be good enough to win this.
- #15 Carrot Cake (3/1): Makes her second start off the layoff and drops from the $25,000 level. She was well-supported in that race, and raced evenly in the stretch to lose by less than four lengths.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $8,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
- #5 Lion Lord (9/5): Speedy gelding has won five of his last six, and exits off a dominating front-running score against similar for a $5,000 tag. Wayne Potts claimed him out of that race, and Xavier Perez retains the mount. He’s way faster than anyone else early, and should run them off their feet once again.
- #2 La Maquina Gris (9/2): Rallied from well behind to get third last out, after getting fanned seven-wide turning for home. Finished a strong closing fourth against better two races back, in his first race off the break. Should put in a good rally here as well.
- #4 Outplay (8/1): Ships from Belmont Park and drops in class after a wide trip against better. He’s been doing lots of routing as of late; cutting back to sprints should serve him well, as he’s run his best figures at shorter distances.
RACE 3: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
- #5 Absalom (4/1): Cuts back in distance and adds blinkers. In his last start at the level, at Tampa Bay Downs, he showed speed and faded late, but held on for fourth. Last out, despite a rough break, he closed well with a career-best figure. Should be more forwardly placed here.
- #6 The Cotswold Wasp (15/1): Tries a n/w2L claiming race for the first time, in his first start since the fall. He showed speed and tired against better horses last year, against weaker, he should run better. Worth a shot at potentially big odds.
- #9 Kathak (6/1): Get another crack at the grass, after his most recent attempt on the surface was washed off. Broke his maiden on grass last year, after a clear lead, and looks like he could get a similar trip here. He’s also never lost a n/w2L claiming race on grass before.
RACE 4: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
- #9 Seville Barber (7/2): Finished a strong closing third last out behind Outofthepark and J. Beresford Tipton, both of whom came back to run well next out. He ran a lifetime top brisnet figure of 88 in that race, and should improve further second off the bench.
- #11 Botswana (2/1): It’s not every day you see a graded-stakes placed horse in a race like this, but he was third in the Fair Grounds Handicap at 51/1 earlier this year. Last out, he fell flat in the stretch against much better at Churchill Downs. It’s been a long, long time since he faced a field this easy.
- #2 Somekindofmagician (3/1): Makes his first start since an ultra-game try in the Maryland Million Turf last fall, where he battled down the stretch and ended up second. That race represented a figure decline for him; he ran a 76 in that spot, and had been consistently running in the 80s prior to that. Looks like the type who will close well and get a minor piece.
RACE 5 – CLAIMING $5,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
- #6 Nomo d’Oro (9/2): Enters a n/w2L claiming race for the first time, after flopping on grass last out. He broke his maiden at first asking at Delta Downs back in November, then raced well there in a n/w2L allowance race in his most recent dirt start. He should enjoy the class relief.
- #4 Bandolini (6/1): Drops very slightly in class, after trying winners for the first time last out and getting a rough trip. He cruised to a win against maiden claimers with a big figure two races back, closing from midpack to score going away. Can he get back to that form second off the layoff?
- #1 Allthewrongreasons (5/1): He’s been knocking on the door at this level, hitting the board four times in a row without a win. Last out, he closed strongly to lose by just half a length. His figures are consistently strong, usually running in the low 70s. Can he finally break through here?
RACE 6: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
- #13 Deciding Vote (5/1): Rallied strongly in her grass debut last out, finishing second to Ylikedis, a legitimate grass horse. Gets a jockey change from Alex Cintron to Horacio Karamanos, who has been riding better than Cintron as of late. Should take a step forward second off the layoff.
- #8 Good on Paper (10/1): Got lots of action on debut at Fair Grounds last out, while going 5 1/2 furlongs. She closed well in that race, finishing third with a solid figure of 76. She had been working out at Churchill recently; interesting to see her ship here, rather than stay in Kentucky.
- #1 Luck Money (5/2): Churchill invader has the best figures in the field by far, but also looks like a “sucker horse” in the making. In her five starts, she’s had two seconds and three thirds, while going off at less than 4/1 each time. This is an easier field than what she’s been seeing in New York and Kentucky, but at low odds, I’ll look elsewhere for a win bet.
RACE 7 – ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
- #5 Britesideoftheroad (6/1): Got caught behind a loose leader last out, but held off the rest of her rivals by a comfortable 1 3/4 lengths. This race doesn’t have a lot of pace, so there’s a chance that she ends up as the loose leader this time. Goes first off the claim for Hugh McMahon, who is 17% with such horses.
- #12 Secure Connection (9/2): Showed little against tougher last out at Churchill, but now faces an easier field, and has shown a strong closing kick in the past. As noted, there isn’t a lot of speed in here, so she’s got to stay as close to the pace as she can.
- #3 Ylikedis (6/1): The only one in the field trying winners for the first time, she’s been improving in each of her last few races, including a strong win last out against maiden special weight horses. Turned in a strong four-furlong workout at Fair Hill on June 26, going four furlongs in 48 seconds.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
- #4 Lordhavemercy (6/1): His first race off the long layoff was impressive, closing well to just miss in a blanket finish. This race is loaded with early pace, and if things fall apart on the front end, he’s got a strong closing kick that can mop up after the leaders burn each other out.
- #5 Sparty (5/1): Closed well to get third last out, despite losing the whip in the stretch. He’s hit the board in thirteen of nineteen over the Laurel dirt, and won three of four over the track last year. Should get a good trip off the pace, like Lordhavemercy.
- #6 Air on Fire (10/1): Showed a new dimension in his last start, when he went to the lead and drew off against a weaker claiming field. In the past, he’s rated off the pace and made a move. It’s a mystery as to how he’ll handle the jump in class, but he’s run races in the past good enough to win this one, and Damon Dilodovico is 23% with horses second off the layoff.
RACE 9: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE (GRASS)
- #1 Noble Lion (3/1): Gets a key equipment change after lugging in last out: blinkers on. In spite of his erratic trip last out, he closed well to lose against similar by less than three lengths. When he kept a straight path last summer, he was consistently running figures in the 80s, numbers good enough to win this one.
- #8 Baytown Jimbo (8/1): Ran a big race first off the layoff last out, stalking the pace and drawing clear in the stretch, before being collared in the last few strides. Even though that was a n/w2L claiming race, this spot isn’t much of a class jump, based on the quality of the runners. Should take a step forward.
- #4 Team Effort (7/2): Showed speed against better last out and gave way. He might get pace pressure once again, against a rival who always tires on the lead. If this one can rate, he can take advantage of that tiring leader.
RACE 10 – ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W3X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
- #6 Eastern Bay (8/1): One of two Claudio Gonzalez entrants in the race, and the better value of the two, in my opinion. Comes in off an impressive n/w2x score, where he went gate-to-wire first off the claim. The recent race, in a field where most of them are coming off long breaks, will help. Should be forwardly placed once again and make a strong middle move.
- #3 Threes Over Deuces (3/1): He’s been second in each of his last three races, including the General George Stakes. That February 17 race was his last start, now he faces a stakes-quality bunch, although not as tough as his race prior. He always races well, but his long line of seconds and thirds suggests that he has trouble getting the job done. Still, his uber-consistent figures, compared to the rest of these, merits respect.
- #4 Ballivor (7/2): Has been working in razor-sharp fashion at Charles Town for his season debut. Most recently won the Howard Bender Stakes in gate-to-wire style, and could outrun the rest of the field early on if used aggressively enough.
- Race 11- MAIDEN CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
- #7 Seville Row (5/1): Closed to get third second time out, and first time on the grass, despite not changing leads. He’s been working like a fiend since then, and gets a jockey upgrade to Sheldon Russell.
- #4 Lifespan (6/1): Prompted the pace and faded after checking in his last start, which was against straight maidens. Drops in for a tag on grass for the first time and adds lasix.
- #3 Storm Tower (7/2): Battled gamely on the lead last out, and gave way to lose by three lengths, holding the rest clear for second. Any one of his three grass races would be good enough to win this one.
LATEST IN HANDICAPPING
The original and best Colonial Downs tip sheet returns: Nick’s Picks is back, along with picks from the legendary Derby Bill Watson.
In Spa selections, our on-site correspondent provides his Saratoga picks for key races on today’s Saratoga card!
We provide picks and analysis for this evening’s card at Charles Town Races.