Laurel Park picks and ponderings August 14, 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 — $0 Super High 5 –$0Late 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: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
- #8 Brice: Broke his maiden last out at Monmouth Park after coasting to the lead in an off-the-grass event. There’s virtually no other pace to run with him. He should cruise.
- #7 Brutus: Ran some strong brisnet figures over the synthetic at Woodbine last fall, then was dismal in his debut over conventional dirt at Gulfstream Park over the winter. Granted, that start was against much better,and he was ridden a bit too aggressively. Makes his second start off the layoff against easier horses; should have a smoother time.
- #11 Paratycachaca: His last start was washed away from the grass as well, but he closed solidly to get second after falling far behind early. I expect him to once again grind down the stretch and get a piece.
RACE 2: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
- #1 Bellarmine Hall (2/1): Last time he was here, he faced a very tough allowance field, and boxed on to ran a decent figure of 82. In his most recent dirt try, he was second after racing wide against better at Parx. Now draws the inside, has a good stalking style, and looks like he’s in top form.
- #5 Welling (5/2): Turned in an uncharacteristically dull race last out. He didn’t show any of his usual early speed, was a total non-factor. He ran two big figures prior to that, including an 84 while breaking his maiden by more than six lengths. His most recent workout, on August 2, was solid: four furlongs in 49 2/5 seconds. I trust that Trombetta has him back in top form.
- #6 Dixie Drawl (9/2): All things considered, his first start back off a long layoff wasn’t a bad one. He didn’t have much kick in the stretch, but he didn’t back up that badly, either. Ended up a clear-cut second after chasing a clear-cut leader. There’s a few speed horses in here, so he could end up getting the setup he wants.
RACE 3: MAIDEN CLAIMING $40,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
- #5 Paint Music for Me: He was beaten three lengths or less in both his tries over a mile on dirt this winter, then faltered when he stretched out. Goes back to his preferred distance first off the layoff, in a field largely unproven on this surface.
- #6 Lasting Image: Didn’t embarrass himself in his first race on dirt, finishing fourth at this level last out after racing wide. Earned a figure of 76 in that race, which is right up there with the best numbers from Paint Music for Me.
- #7 Josef is Real: Hit the gate and rallied to get fourth in his debut two starts back, which is also his lone dirt effort to date. Would’ve liked to see more closing kick in his last race, which was on grass, but he showed enough promise in that first race to make me think he’ll handle dirt better than most in this race.
RACE 4: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W3X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
- #5 Compound It (4/1): Showed heart in his last race at Delaware Park. He opened up a long, lonely lead, setting honest fractions, before battling with the classy Someday Jones in the stretch. He looks fast enough to get the early lead if he wants it, and if Toledo can slow things down enough early, he might prove tough to catch.
- #2 Top Line Growth (5/2): Last year’s Iowa Derby winner makes his 4-year-old debut in a salty spot. He’s going to get bet based on name value, but he would deserve some of it. He kept very good company last year, ending his campaign with a dominant n/w2x win over this track. His workouts have been sharp, but I’m still not sure if I can take low odds on a horse like him. Worthy of respect and use in multi-race bets nonetheless.
- #1 John Jones (3/1): Hard-knocking Maryland-bred makes his first start since June 6, when he was second to Harpers First Ride. That rival came back to beat a stakes-quality group in his next start. Consistently runs in the upper 90s, never turning in a bad effort. Should enjoy a great stalking trip on the rail.
RACE 5 – MAIDEN CLAIMING $16,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
- #8 Security Breach: Finished second at this level last out, more than eight lengths clear of third place. Gets in another weak, washed-off field, and looks to be rounding back into the form that saw him steadily run figures in the mid-70s last year.
- #2 Glacier Park: He ran two solid figures in the 60s in his first two races, but he didn’t show a lick of early speed either time. Last out at Tampa Bay Downs, he showed the most life he ever has, staying fairly close to the pace and rallying a bit after an overland trip. Whether that was just because he moved to the grass, or if he’s genuinely moving in the right direction, remains an open question. Either way, he’s worth a look.
- #3 Back Charge: Came very close to wiring the field last out at Colonial Downs, but got nabbed in the last few jumps. Should find himself on a clear lead once again, from there, it’s a matter of how far he can take it.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
- #4 Bambino (9/2): Looked much the best on paper last out, and ran like it. He rolled to a 9 1/4-length victory over $10,000 maidens, earning a career-best figure of 77. Catches an uneven n/w2L field for his first start against winners, and even if he regresses a few points from that last race, should still be a factor.
- #7 Fast Master (8/5): His dirt figures over the winter were excellent, running as high as 83 while breaking his maiden at this track. He returned off a layoff with two tries on grass, neither of which were exceptional. In fact, he declined quite a bit from his peak figures in both those spots. Now, he gets back to his preferred surface, and goes first off the claim for Jamie Ness. Looking for a return to that good form.
- #6 Thunder Day (8/1): Broke his maiden for $25,000 in his debut three back, with a big figure of 81. His first race off the layoff last out was a total disaster, but he has a good workout since then, and should be ready to return to his peak ability.
RACE 7 – ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
- #4 Tom Hagen: Made his first start of the year in his last start, and almost wired the field before getting caught late. This time, he’s got the best early pace figures of any good dirt horse in the field, and he’s cutting back in distance from 1 1/8 miles. If he can get to a clear lead, the rest of them are in trouble.
- #9 Nick Papagiorgio: Worked out two wins in a row on the grass to begin the meet, but he needed every bit of the stretch to get by both times. Switching to the dirt last out, he gave it all he had down the stretch, but lost a tough photo. He’s got a bit of a hanging streak in him; if someone like Tom Hagen doesn’t quit in the lane, it’s not going to be easy to get by.
- #10 Start With Yes: Got a great trip and rolled to a smashing victory last out. This is a tough field, but he’s got a dangerous stalking style, and great late pace figures. Worth a look to round out some tickets.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, MD-BRED, 6 FURLONGS
- #3 Galerio (2/1): Cuts back to six furlongs after an impressive win at a mile at Parx last out. He matched his career-high figure of 92 in that race, and has steadily run in the high 80s/low 90s in his last several starts. This will be his first start at Laurel since early June, but he’s won his last three over this track.
- #1 Tommy Shelby (6/1): Battled well to get up for the win at Delaware Park last out. He has the longer stretch here, but also some tougher foes. Will his closing kick be enough to get up over them? At near his 6/1 morning line, that would be worth the gamble.
- #8 Bullets Child (5/2): Comes in here off a brilliantly fast win against open n/w1x allowance company, where he opened up a clear early lead and never looked back. He’s got some tough speed drawn to his inside, in longshot Brooks Robinson, and will have to outrun him early from the far outside post. When he set that fast pace by himself last time, he ended up tiring late, losing three lenghts in the last eighth. He might have to be rated a bit more to have a good chance here.
- RACE 9: CLAIMING $16,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
- #10 Willmakeyouhappy: I’d rather he be a little further to the inside, but he still looks like the primary speed in the field. Showed a lot of tenacity to just miss at this level last out, and has the best last-out dirt figure by four points. Trainer Anthony Farrior is 26% second off the claim.
- #3 Inside Risk: The other main-track-only entrant in this field, he’s coming in off a gutsy n/w2L claiming win where he was on the lead and battled throughout. He has the edge of pole position over his major rival.
- #2 Time Flies By: Goes third off the layoff here, after picking up checks at Delaware in his last two. Could take advantage if the speedsters burn themselves out; he’s got some of the best late pace figures in the race.
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