Laurel Park picks and ponderings July 10, 2020
Dirty. Photo by Allison Janezic.
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:40 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $3,987 Super High 5 –$8,991 Late Pick 5 — $11,077
Notable: Until further notice, no fans are allowed to attend the races at Laurel Park. For more info, click here.
RACE 1: CLAIMING $5,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
- #2 Top Hat Scrutiny (1/1): Faces winners for the first time, in a field not significantly tougher than the one he faced last out, and looks like the dominant speed. He won last time when he was allowed to set an easy pace; the same thing should happen again here.
- #7 Haiku (9/2): Made his first start off a seven-month break at Charles Town last out, and closed well to score third. In his starts last fall, he got involved for the minor spots several times after falling far back early. If Top Hat Scrutiny gets the cozy lead I anticipate, Haiku won’t be able to catch up, but he can close and get involved for second and third.
- #4 Voodoo Valley (7/2): With the exception of an unusually dull race in his first start before the break, he’s been steady, running brisnet figures in the low 70s in four of his last five races. Made up good ground last out, in a race where the top two snuck away from the rest. He’s another one who should close for a piece of the exotics.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 1/2 FURLONGS
- #1 Chicken Dinner (9/5): Last out, she got bumped at the start and lost valuable early position. In the stretch, the top two built a big edge over the others, but she nevertheless closed very strongly to lose by less than two lengths. With a clean break this time, she’ll be forwardly placed, and can easily run away from them late. Daniel Centeno rode very well during this first weekend here, with three wins from six mounts.
- #6 Simmard Shenanigan (3/1): A winner of two of her last four, she’ll make her first start since March 8, when she narrowly missed as the favorite. Ran a career-top figure in that race, a 74, which might be good enough to win this one.
- #2 Third Card Down (7/2): Got involved in a brutal tussle in her first start off the bench at Delaware Park, battling through an opening quarter of 21.94 seconds. Despite the fast pace, she outlasted her rival and held on to get second. Looks battle-ready and should run big second off the layoff.
RACE 3: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
- #7 Kendama (6/1): Received solid wagering support in his debut, against a field a bit weaker than this one, and faded late in the stretch after prompting the pace. Gets lasix for the first time here, and has been working strongly at Fair Hill for his second time out.
- #1 Prayer Hope (3/1): He impressed in his first start, showing speed and battling on to finish third in a maiden at Monmouth Park. That was 22 months ago, though, and his only start since then was in a steeplechase last May. Still, he’s shown enough hints of ability on grass to make me fancy him a contender. He also cost $700,000 way back when, so he must have been highly thought of once upon a time.
- #4 Call Plucky (5/2): His debut was washed away to the dirt, but he still put in a strong showing, closing well to get third against slightly weaker. The breeding on this one looks more suited towards grass.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
- #4 Fast Master (4/1): Drops to this level for the first time, and makes his second start off a short layoff for Graham Motion. Faced a much better field in a starter optional claiming race last out, got hung wide early, and flattened out late. Motion is 16% with horses second time on the lawn.
- #1 Eastport (10/1): Like Fast Master, he’s trying this level on the grass for the first time, and goes third off the layoff for Claudio Gonzalez. Raced wide against tougher in his last grass start and gave way. Should be forwardly placed by Angel Cruz, who finally got his first win of the meet last Friday. The win, incidentally, came on a Claudio-trained horse.
- #12 Toe Curlin’ Kiss (3/1): Closed from way downtown off a fast pace to get fourth last out. On one hand, I doubt he’ll be twenty lengths back at the half-mile point again, but on the other hand, he won’t have a 46 1/5 half to run into here. A good candidate to hit the board, at least.
RACE 5 – MAIDEN CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 1/2 FURLONGS
- #6 Suzysellseashells (9/2): Was well-backed on debut, broke slowly, then closed strongly to get fourth. Takes a step up from the $16,000 level here, but that debut effort would probably win this race anyway. Second time out, with a clean break, should result in big things.
- #4 Bow Maker (4/1): Her race two back was the best one of her career thus far. She battled on the pace early, held on down the stretch of the one-mile contest, and gave way late. Cut back to seven furlongs last out, now cuts back further to 6 1/2 furlongs. She didn’t do too well at shorter distances last year, but she’s taken a big step forward at three, so I can’t see that being much of a detriment.
- #5 Tapdancing Girl (10/1): Closed well in her first start off the layoff last out, now returns to the dirt and gets Carol Cedeno aboard, with her first ride of the Laurel meet. Has tactical speed, and should rate on or near the early action.
RACE 6: MAIDEN CLAIMING $16,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
- #8 Palace Kid (9/5): After failing to draw in off the also-eligible list two weeks ago, he’ll try again to make his debut for the Claudio Gonzalez barn. This Florida invader was facing much better down there, and has blazing early speed. He should be able to outrun the rest all the way around.
- #15 Winston’s Way (3/1): Goes second off the claim for Dale Capuano, and gets a jockey upgrade to Sheldon Russell. Finished an even third against a very uneven bunch last out, in his first race off the long break. Doesn’t face a much tougher group here (although he didn’t have to face anyone as good as Palace Kid last out), and should take a step forward.
- #12 Diten (12/1): Closed strongly in the last eighth of a mile last out, his first race off the layoff, despite having to check in the stretch. Matched his career-best figure of 68 in that spot; wouldn’t have to improve much off that number to win this.
RACE 7 – CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 1/2 FURLONGS
- #2 Big Boots (7/2): Chased a loose leader in his last start, then battled in the stretch to lose a photo for second. The winner of that photo, Fort Royal, came back to win his next start at Delaware Park. Should chase a more honest pace here, and take advantage as they turn for home.
- #1 Victory Given (9/2): Races at this level for the first time after a dominant win against n/w2L claiming company just six days ago. He ran a figure of 87 in that race, a lifetime top, and the best last-out number in the field by eleven points. He’s got speed on the inside, and will likely encounter some pace pressure if he goes straight to he front, but showed the ability to rate last time.
- #5 Day (6/1): Ran a big race going a mile at Delaware last out, now cuts back in distance. Beat a n/w2L field three races back at Gulfstream, getting into a tussle and hanging on for the win. I’m interested to see how he does in a race like this at this distance.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
- #6 Midship Lady (4/1): Closed well off a fast pace to finish second in her 3-year-old debut last out. Several of her rivals from that race are back in action here, and she should get another fast pace to close into.
- #5 China Silk (6/1): New York shipper got bet in her first start as a 4-year-old, going off at 8/1 against a tougher field at this level. On a speed-favoring grass track, she got hung wide off the pace, and lost all chance. In her grass race before that, which wrapped up her sophomore year in November, she battled in the stretch to lose by a nose. She lost to Saratoga Treasure in that race, who came back to win the Autumn Days Stakes in her next start.
- #2 Listen Up (6/1): Broke her maiden two races back at Fair Grounds with a big figure of 86, then struggled after a wide trip against better at Churchill. Should save ground off the pace towards the inside, and get an easier shot at making a big move.
- RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE
- #2 MJ’s Lady (7/5): Got some action in a maiden field full of promise on debut last out, but got hung wide and was forced to check, costing her all chance. Faces a somewhat easier field and cuts back in distance. Sheldon Russell takes off, but Julian Pimentel is a more than adequate replacement.
- #1 Patriotic Punch (9/5): Has been knocking on the door at this level, including a narrow defeat sprinting on the grass last out. Makes her second start off a long layoff here, and stretches out in distance. Her most recent figure of dirt was an 80, a seven-point edge over the rest of the field. I’ll give her another shot in this type of race.
- #6 Catch the Sky (10/1): Fell behind after showing brief speed, then closed moderately well to get third on debut. Ran a solid figure of 73 in that race, and this field isn’t anything special, although it is a slight class hike. Willing to give her a shot to improve second out.
- RACE 10: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $16,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
- #1 Dance or Stroll (9/5): Beat a similar field last out, taking advantage of a significant drop in class. Consistently runs in the mid-80s, and has great tactical speed.
- #7 Foggy Dreams (4/1): Exits the same race as Dance or Stroll, finishing second in that spot after coming from far out of it. Didn’t do much last fall in her other try on this course, but that was against a significantly tougher field, and should find this level easier. Gets a jockey upgrade to Johan Rosado.
- #4 Bath and Tennis (5/1): In both of her starts this meet, she opened up a clear lead in the stretch, only to get caught late. Her race last out was at six furlongs; it’s more likely than not that she holds on at 5 1/2 furlongs. Will the cutback in distance do her some good?
- RACE 11: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
- #5 Greek God (4/1): Bounced back off a poor effort two races back with a strong runner-up finish last out. He chased a loose leader all the way around, but held off the competition to finish 4 1/2 lengths clear of third. There’s no dominant speed to worry about here; if anything, he could be the one who ends up on an uncontested lead.
- #4 Campari (6/1): You can draw a line through his last race. It was against significantly tougher, and he broke awkwardly, finding himself twenty lengths back with half a mile to go. Against his own kind two races ago, he came from way behind to lose a photo. It looks like he’s best at a mile, but I’m willing to give him a shot with a clean trip at 1 1/16 miles.
- #6 Stolen Love (7/2): 10-year-old warhorse returns to the Jamie Ness barn after a spin at Charles Town. He dueled on the lead there, only to give way late. Makes his second start off the break in this spot. Raced well against better on this track earlier in the year, steadily running figures in the upper 70s/low 80s.
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