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 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Notable: Until further notice, no fans are allowed to attend the races at Laurel Park. For more info, click here.
RACE 1: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
- #4 Halfinthewrapper (7/2): Clearly the most dangerous speed horse in the race, and is coming off a gate-to-wire win against n/w2L company last out. She gamely held off Judi Blue Eyes in the stretch in that race, who came back to win her next start at odds-on. Could run away and hide from this group.
- #5 Tiz Michelle’s Way (6/1): A perfect 2-for-2 on conventional dirt, she turned in a strong rally last out to get up and win, outfinishing none other than Halfinthewrapper. She’s been taking steps forward from a speed figure standpoint in her last few starts; might need another one to win here, but still merits respect.
- #2 Landing Zone (9/5): Cuts back in distance and gets back to a track she likes; she’s hit the board in nine of ten over the Laurel dirt. She made what looked like a winning move in her last race, at a mile and seventy yards, but fell flat over the longer distance. Can she time it better in this sprint?
RACE 2: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 1/2 FURLONGS
- #7 Big Boots (5/2): The conditions may look similar on paper, but don’t be fooled: the field he faced last out was *much* tougher than the one he sees here. Two races back, he closed well while extremely wide to miss by half a length, in a race slightly tougher than this one. Comes in here with a big recent figure edge over his rivals, and should be tough to beat as long as he fires his usual bullet.
- #1 Chasing the Candy (4/1): Another one of first-time Claudio Gonzalez horses shipping up from Florida. He’s shown speed going one-turn miles at Gulfstream Park, now cuts back in distance and faces some high-quality early speed. It’s a drop in class, and he’s been working very strongly, but he hasn’t raced since May 1, and he’s going to have to go a bit faster than he might want to get to the early lead. Worth respecting, but no cinch.
- #2 Talent Scout (8/1): He’s been in the barn of Kieron Magee for his last two races, but interestingly, he made those starts at Charles Town, not here. Hit the board in both of those races, while making up decent ground off slow paces. Ran brisnet figures in the mid-70s over the fall and winter in New York. If he can get back to that form, he’ll be a contender.
RACE 3: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $16,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
- 4-3-1-5 (DIRT: 3-9-6-7)
- #4 Dancingwithpaynter (7/2): Cruised to victory against n/w1x allowance company at Penn National last out, sitting a perfect trip and rolling away to an easy win. Improved to a brisnet figure of 83 in her last race, which is better than anyone in here has run recently. Has a great stalking style that should serve her well.
- #3 So Innocent (6/1): Although she’s better on the grass, this’ll be her first effort on that surface in almost a year. She finished a game fourth against tough allowance company last out on grass, and has been running figures in the mid-80s on dirt over the summer meet. Fitness isn’t an issue, and she should take back to the grass well.
- #1 Firth (3/1): She’s the lone speed from the inside post. As long as she breaks cleanly, Cruz is going to send her sraight to the lead, and she’s going to be tough to catch. She held on well against n/w2x company at Delaware Park last out; this bunch should be easier to deal with.
RACE 4: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $16,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
- #2 V.I.P. Code (9/5): He’s won three of his last four starts in very impressive fashion. The only race he lost was when he had a brutal trip in 1 1/16 mile race two starts back. His speed figures are dominant, and he’s got great tactical speed.
- #4 Bobby G (3/1): Drops in class after three races in a row against better horses. Three races back, he lost a n/w2x allowance by a nose to Bustoff, who loves this track and is better than anyone he has to face here. His figures have declined in each of his last three, but he should get back to form with the class drop, and those figures are still in the upper echelon of the group.
- #1 Sound Off (8/1): He’s improved sharply in each of his three races since returning from the layoff, including a solid-closing third behind V.I.P. Code at Delaware last out. Has good closing speed and is a must use for trifectas.
RACE 5 – STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE (GRASS)
- 11-3-7-10 (DIRT: 4-2-11-6)
- #11 Weekend Delight (8/1): Both her recent grass races have been solid; she most recently improved greatly to beat a maiden claiming group. She now faces winners for the first time, and is one of three in here who has never lost a race against winners. She got up despite some traffic last out, she’ll look for a cleaner trip while prompting the pace on the outside.
- #3 Alleria (3/1): Almost wired a field just like this one last out, and in fact showed a lot of heart before giving way late. She got away with a pretty easy pace in that race, but it did show a new dimension for her. No reason to expect Yomar Ortiz won’t send her again, considering how well it worked last time.
- #7 Helena Beat (5/1): Showed plenty of heart when breaking her maiden last out at Monmouth Park, running down a rival who got a ridiculously easy pace scenario. She’ll have to hope none of her rivals foster an cozy lead again, but if she runs back to her last race, she’ll make her people happy.
RACE 6: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 1/2 FURLONGS
- #6 Ready and Rich (5/1): That was a big race last out. He dueled with a recent impressive maiden winner, sent him into sound defeat, then battled on in the stretch and lost by just a length. There’s plenty of horses in here with pace figures like his, but he’s shown the tenacity to hold on no matter what comes his way. A sharp four-furlong workout a few days ago helps his cause.
- #3 Stone Courageous (5/1): Stakes-placed twice as a 2-year-old, he was disappointing in his 3-year-old debut last out at Delaware. It was his first start in six months, however, and it was on the grass. Now he’s got a race under his belt and goes back to dirt. He scratched out of a spot last week against 3-year-olds to face his elders. Could take a step forward here and pull a mild surprise.
- #2 Air on Fire (7/2): He runs his best races when he’s close to the pace, but hit the board in his last two races while coming from well out of it. Been a consistent sort all meet long; looking for him to make up ground in the stretch once again and grab a piece.
RACE 7 – CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
- 2-1-8-4 (DIRT: 8-10-9-1)
- #2 Gennie Highway (5/2): She was solid in her first race off a long break last out, rallying to get third. Dale Capuano claimed her out of that race; he’s 20% first off the claim. That last race was her first against n/w2L claiming company, and it was a good one. She’s going to be very tough; in fact, if you get near her 5/2 morning line, that would be a bargain.
- #1 Pins and Needles (12/1): Looks to finally get back on grass after being washed away twice. Steadily ran figures in the 70s on grass over the winter at Tampa Bay, against better horses. Her only n/w2L claiming try on dirt came in her first race in almost three months; now, she’s a little more battle ready.
- #8 Kit Kat Katie (3/1): Her only grass races so far were against 2-year-old maidens last spring at Belmont Park, but she was well-supported in both those starts. That indicates someone out there thinks she has ability on the lawn. Comes in here off a sharp maiden win on dirt at Parx.
RACE 8: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
- #6 Eloquent Lady (3/1): Broke her maiden for $10,000 in strong fashion last out, running a career-top figure after getting a great stalking trip. Lightly-raced filly should get another good trip just off the speed.
- #1 Tenderess (8/5): Another impressive maiden winner in the $10,000 class last out, she was 1/5 in her last race, deserved to be, and won by pole. Goes third off the layoff for Jamie Ness, who is 28% with such horses.
- #3 Go Amanda (4/1): Unlike the first two picks, she’s had plenty of tries at this level. Nonetheless, she closed sharply in her last race to lose by less than two lengths. The runner-up in that race, Halfinthewrapper, came back to win her next start. Should close well once again.
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