Anna’s Bandit. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $10,851 Super High 5 — $2,981 Late Pick 5 — $0
RACE 1: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
- #1 Lookin for Candy (4/1): Takes a drop from the starter optional claiming level, where she showed speed and faded in the last eighth. She’ll cut back from six furlongs here, and looks like the fastest horse in the field, from the inside post. Her strategy will be to simply run them off their feet.
- #6 Saratoga Beauty (5/2): This New York invader is the only horse in the field who has never lost a n/w2L claiming race. She goes back to dirt after two ineffective tries on grass. She broke her maiden handily over this surface last fall at Belmont Park, and ran a career-best brisnet figure of 82 in her first start off the layoff on dirt. A serious contender; albeit as the likely favorite.
- #7 Vics Cool Cat (4/1): Ran huge first off the layoff at Delaware Park, battling down the stretch to lose by a neck, while earning a career-top figure of 85. Last out, she broke slowly and was no match. If you think she can rebound off that poor effort, she’s a very live contender. Trainer Mark Reid is 13% third off the bench, while one of Maryland’s best, Sheldon Russell, is in the saddle.
RACE 2: MAIDEN CLAIMING $16,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
- #1A It’s Sizzling Time (6/1): Ran huge on debut, shrugging off an early challenge and opening up a clear lead late, before being tracked down. Last out was a different story: he was forced to duel through brutal fractions, and stopped badly. He’s taking a drop from the $40,000 level, and has by far the best early pace figures in the field. He looks fast enough to outrun everyone early on, and I don’t think anyone will be able to catch him.
- #7 Gaming Jack (3/1): He keeps on knocking on the door, running solid figures in all four races, without finding the winners’ circle. Made a solid four-wide rally in his last start to lose a show photo. He would like a fast pace to close into.
- #4 Bananas on Fire (15/1): He took a big step forward last out, moving wide in the stretch to finish a solid fourth. The 66 he earned in that race is a lifetime top by a large margin, and is not far off from the best numbers of the contenders. Works since that last race have been solid. A legitimate upset contender.
RACE 3: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 1/2 FURLONGS
- #9 Tonka Flower (5/1): Took a liking to Delaware Park over the summer, with two big races over that track. In his last start there, he shook off the competition on the lead to win going away. This is the toughest field he’s ever faced, but he’s got good tactical speed, and gets Trevor McCarthy in the saddle for the first time.
- #4 Noble Way (7/2): Even though he probably should’ve won his last race, given how it fell apart in front of him, it still wasn’t a bad effort first off the bench. He hung in for second against similar, earning a figure of 90. Two back, way back in January, he smoked the field to earn a 97. That race would crush this field; can he find that form second off the layoff?
- #2 Goodluckjohnathan (10/1): Doesn’t have much early speed, which has been his downfall. However, he’s closed very well going 5 1/2 furlongs and 6 furlongs in the past. Will the extra half-furlong help him out? At the least, he’s worth using underneath.
RACE 4: MAIDEN CLAIMING $40,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 7 FURLONGS
- #7 Salamina (4/1): The drop in class paid off for her last out, as she finished second by a head, despite a wide trip. In contrast, the winner of that race enjoyed a perfect trip coasting on the lead. The race also showed that she can handle a sloppy track, something that she’ll once again encounter here.
- #2 Heartful (3/1): Faced a tough field on debut, in the Maryland Million Lassie. She closed well after a bad start to finish sixth. If she can even maintain her form from that race, she’ll be tough. The seven-furlong distance should also work to her favor.
- #10 Marvella Nasty (10/1): This Phil Schoenthal firster is lightly-worked, but the workouts she has have been sharp. Most recently, she went five furlongs in 1:00 4/5. An interesting longshot alternative.
RACE 5 – CLAIMING $5,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
- #4 Cougar Vision (12/1): I’m a sucker for lightly-raced horses in spots like this, and if they’re a longshot who’s run big figures, all the better. She broke her maiden going away at Delaware two back, then ran a superficially dull race last out, while still earning a decent figure of 70. Trainer Dale Bennett is 31% with horses off a 46-90 day layoff.
- #7 La Belle de Course (9/5): Goes first off the claim for Kieron Magee, who hits at 21% with at angle. She’s run some big figures against similar at Monmouth Park, but keep making strong-looking moves, only to flatten out. On the year, she’s hit the board seven times in ten starts, without winning. It’s very possible she’s finally found a field she can beat, but I’m willing to try and beat her at low odds.
- #6 Aspen Rose (9/2): Her only bad recent race was when she tried to go a mile, and got hung wide. Last out, she chased a loose leader who set a slow pace, but she managed to outkick the rest to finish second. Another lightly-raced sort who could sneak under the radar.
RACE 6: MAIDEN CLAIMING $16,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
- #12 Bodemax (6/1): Ran on well last out to finish second, getting up to finish ahead of a leader who set a very slow early pace. Should kick on well late.
- #8 Miss Philly Dilly (7/2): Goes third off a long layoff, after a tough trip on grass last out. She’s never been worse than fourth in six starts, most of which were against better than these. She ran figures in the mid-70s steadily as a 2-year-old, a return to that form would win this one.
- #4 Rockin Anna Rollin (6/1): She’s the fastest one in the field, and should be able to outrun them early on. Makes her first start since July 23, and has had some bullet workouts that should have her razor-sharp for this spot.
RACE 7 – CLAIMING $5,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 1/2 FURLONGS
- #10 Zitarrosa (5/2): He ran the field off their feet last out, breaking like a shot and drawing away. There’s not much speed in here, so there’s a good chance that can happen again.
- #5 Glengar (4/1): Pulled off a big upset in the Maryland Million Starter Handicap, closing from far out of it to win going away. He earned a new lifetime top of 87 in that race, an improvement of several points from his usual numbers. He’ll look for a fast pace to run into.
- #7 Smokin Hot Factor (6/1): Ran some big races over the summer here, but declined in his last two, after racing wide against much better. He cuts back in distance and faces a pretty soft field here.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, MD-BRED, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
- #6 Baptize the Boy (3/1): He got outkicked in the Maryland Million Sprint by the very speedy Karan’s Notion, but he still outfinished a field of strong Maryland-sired sprinters to hold second. If he can beat those horses, he can beat this field, and while there’s quality speed in here, I don’t think there’s anyone as good as Karan’s Notion to worry about.
- #5 Russeldoingthings (9/2): Although it wasn’t a very visually impressive effort, he ran well in his first start off the layoff. He finished a clear-cut third behind the solid sprinter Carey Times, who was second against open allowance company next out, and Stone Courageous, who beat an open n/w1x field in his most recent try. If this one can improve second off the layoff, he’ll stalk the pace and produce a powerful closing punch.
- #3 Redeem Eddie (2/1): A two-time winner at Delaware this meet, he’s coming off a crushing win against allowance company last out, when he ran them off their feet. Trevor McCarthy is sure to gun him right to the lead, and hope to take them as far as he can.
- RACE 9: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $16,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
- #7 Bobby G (2/1): Hard-knocker has won eleven of twenty-three at Laurel in his career, and has won five times this year. He showed heart to win his last race, battling down the stretch to win by 3/4 of a length.
- #5 Midnight Act (5/2): Stayed on the pace throughout and won last out, going 1 1/2 miles. In more honest circumstances two back, at a mile and seventy yards, he just missed in a three-horse stretch battle, getting edged out by the very tough VIP Code.
- #9 Colonel Juan (7/2): Drops further, from the $25,000 starter optional claiming level. He got stuck behind two very slow paces in his last two starts, and didn’t have much of a shot as such. He’ll look for a faster tempo here, otherwise, he might have to settle for an exotics spot again.
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