Laurel Park picks and ponderings October 17, 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 — $5,156 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — None
RACE 1: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
- #5 Victory Given (5/2): Won at this level going six furlongs earlier in the year, and has been pounding on the door ever since. His last race was not visually impressive, but it was over a speed-favoring Pimlico track. Now, he gets back to a surface he prefers, and should get a good pace to close into.
- #4 Lucky Junior (9/2): Stone-cold closer raced six times at the Delaware Park meet, without ever finding himself in the winner’s circle. Last out, he fell far behind a slow pace, but ran on well in the stretch to get second. At least he has the super-long, second-wire stretch to play with here. Trevor McCarthy, who rode him at Delaware before travel restrictions went into effect, gets back aboard.
- #7 Chuck’s Dream (4/1): Speed horses in these type of races are kind of boom-or-bust. The last time this horse went the one-turn mile, he opened up a big lead and got tired in the last sixteenth. He’s held on better in his last two races at Delaware, including a season’s best brisnet figure of 80 last out. Might want to play things cooler early on, but if he can set a moderate tempo, he should be able to hang around for a piece.
RACE 2: MAIDEN CLAIMING $25,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
- #3 Guapa Chica (5/2): Encountered traffic trouble in her first two races at Charles Town, and in a 4 1/2 furlong race, you really can’t afford any trouble. Improved her figure by fifteen points second time out, now faces similar horses here as she did in straight maidens there.
- #5 Lady Clau (5/1): Got lots of wagering action in her first start, against straight maidens at this track, but came up empty after a wide trip. Put in a sharp four-furlong drill since that last race, and has every right to improve.
- #8 Classy Escort (2/1): She’ll almost certainly be the big favorite in this race, and taking low odds on horses in these kind of races can be a shaky proposition. Still, horses trained by Claudio Gonzalez and ridden by Angel Cruz are usually pretty good bets. Worth using in the exotics, for sure.
RACE 3: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE
- #8 Union Song: She was claimed out of her last race at Churchill Downs by Anthony Farrior, who won with a recent Kentucky claim on Thursday. Tried to make up ground while wide in that last start, which doesn’t always go well over that track. Her figures are consistently the best in the field, and she’s only lost twice against winners. Looks very tough.
- #9 Cairo Queen: Got lots of action against similar last out, but flattened out after stalking the pace. Gets blinkers back on and Trevor aboard. Can she get back to her peak form?
- #4 Call on Clara: Drops from the n/w1x level after a complete no-show last out. Broke her maiden going one mile and seventy yards at Penn National a few starts back, and steadily runs figures in the 60s. That should at least be good enough for a piece.
RACE 4: MAIDEN CLAIMING $25,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
- #8 Trip to Freedom (8/1): Richard Sillaman is solid with first-time starters, winning with three of his last seven. Recent workouts have been solid. Looks like a good price play.
- #7 Great Fun (5/2): Another Claudio Gonzalez first-time starter. Interestingly, he’s tabbed Victor Carrasco to ride this one. Her workouts at Parx have been sharp. Should take plenty of money.
- #1 Lookin Back (3/1): Faced a tough maiden field last out at Pimlico, and showed speed before fading. This will be her first start for a tag.
RACE 5 – CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
- #8 I’mthekatsmeow: Earned a career-top figure last out, sitting a great stalking trip and getting up late. Should enjoy a similar trip once again; the only problem is that this might be a bit too short for her.
- #7 Grace Isabella: Drops in class after a decent effort against a tough field last out. Claudio Gonzalez is a very sharp 24% second off the claim.
- #11 Tapete Claire: A speed-figure standout, and a dropper from the n/w1x level at Penn National. Jamie Ness and Trevor McCarthy are a tough combo on paper, and they’re 1-for-3 to begin the fall meet. I just don’t know if she’ll be the right price.
RACE 6: MAIDEN CLAIMING $10,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
- #3 Sheriff Chip (12/1): He was the lone first-time starter in his last race, but battled well on the pace to hold on for second. He outfinished his dueling partner, who was the favorite, by three lengths. Should be tough on the lead once again.
- #2 Hard Sting (3/5): Goes third off the layoff while racing for a career-low tag. Ran figures in the 80s as a 2-year-old at Belmont Park last year, so you figure that he should have no trouble with this bunch. Odds-on is always a tough pill to swallow, however.
- #5 Good Luck Legacy (12/1): Superfically, he has a similar pattern as Hard Sting: he’s going third off the layoff and is at this level for the first time. He ran a solid figure of 67 on debut last December, but hasn’t been able to find his best stride yet this year. If he puts it together here, he could surprise at a price.
RACE 7 – CLAIMING $5,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
- #8 Blue Sky Venezuela (7/2): Goes first off the claim for Anthony Farrior, after closing well last out at this level to finish second. She had won two in a row against conditioned horses prior to that effort. She’d be tough under any circumstances, but Farrior’s impressive stats first off the claim makes her even tougher.
- #7 Majestic Pic (8/1): Was a lot more forwardly placed than usual in her last race, and it paid off, as she earned a career-top figure en route to victory. Her late pace figures are always pretty high, and they make her a serious contender here.
- #3 Swirrlie Shirlie (4/1): Won three in a row at the summer meet against conditioned horses, then was clear in the stretch at this level last out and got caught. Her figure declined sharply in that spot, to a 70, from the upper 70s figures she had been running during her streak. Can she bounce back here?
RACE 8- STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
- #8 Bluefield (5/1): A perfect 2-for-2 in her career, she took a big step forward in her last race, winning at this level while improving her figure sixteen points. Got a fast pace to run into last out; look for Weston Hamilton to back off the pace and hope for another hot tempo.
- #5 Queen of Tomorrow (7/2): This Gonzalez/Cruz charge scratched out of an off-the-grass race a few days ago to run here. She was uber-impressive in her last start sprinting. Gets a much-needed cutback in distance from 1 1/16 miles and has been working strongly.
- #2 Pretti Xtreme (5/1): Delaware shipper is also cutting back in distance, but unlike her rival, she’s a largely unknown commodity at one turn. Ran some big figures earlier in the meet, then got hung wide throughout against tougher in her last race and had no shot. The distance is the only big question mark.
RACE 9 – MAIDEN CLAIMING $16,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
- #11 Lady Fox: Closed strongly in the stretch to lose by 1 1/2 lengths in her last start. Claudio Gonzalez claimed her out of that race. This filly’s closed well in the past, but last out was the first time she’s had this much closing speed at this distance.
- #6 Villamoura: She’s shown promising early speed in her brief career, and drops to this class level for the first time. Her undoing has been her trouble in the gate; she’s acted up before the start in her last two races.
- #7 Sevila Sangria: At a certain point, you’d think she’d find a field she can beat, right? She’s hit the board in her last three races, after showing speed and getting caught. Maybe if she can slow things down early on, she’ll have a better chance, but Villamoura will make doing that difficult.
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