Laurel Park picks and ponderings September 11, 2021
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 — $1,203 Super High 5 –$0 Late Pick 5 — $0
RACE 1: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
- We’re looking at more great weather for today’s 9-race card. Note that Sheldon Russell, named on four horses, is out indefinitely with a foot injury. #6 What Does It Take (9/2) was scheduled to make his grass debut at Colonial Downs last out, but the race was washed away to dirt. He rated off the pace and held in there gamely, earning a career-top brisnet figure of 74. He’ll get his chance to race on grass today for Mike Trombetta, who is 19% with horses first time on this surface. Clearly, he’s had this surface in mind for this one. #7 Hanford (3/1) tried the Bald Eagle Derby last out, bur was outclassed and ran a visually unimpressive race. He gets plenty of class relief and a cutback in distance from 1 1/2 miles. He closed well in his grass debut under more normal circumstances at Penn National. #1 Neotropic (9/5) looked promising over the winter at Gulfstream Park, and looks to improve off a dull try at Monmouth Park last out. He ran back-to-back 79s in Florida over the winter; a repeat of those races likely wins this one.
RACE 2: MAIDEN CLAIMING $25,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
- #7 Dashing Circles (8/1) ran in the upper 70s twice at Colonial, but never seriously threatened while racing wide. He now takes a career-low drop in class. Ollie Figgins and Denis Araujo are a sharp trainer/jockey combo at Charles Town, and they shouldn’t be dismissed here. #4 Fomo (9/2) just missed out in his two grass starts at Delaware Park. He was boxed in and didn’t get running room in his first try on the surface, then surged and lost by a half-length next out. He earned figures in the upper 60s in those races, all numbers good enough to win here. #3 Street Mojo (5/1) is a debuter for Trombetta with some bullet workouts on dirt. He’s one of two firsters in the field, which does but him at a disadvantage. However, he still looks ready to fire a big one first out.
RACE 3: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE
- This is one of only three dirt races on today’s card. #5 Vibrancy (7/2) ran career-best figures in each of her last two dirt races, peaking at an 85 last out in a third-place finish. She was well-beaten by the winner, but missed second by just a length. #4 Sweet Home Dixie (5/1) has improved in each of her last few starts and has the best late pace figures. Looks to take full advantage of the long one-turn mile stretch. #6 Lady Fox (9/2) stalked the pace and drew off to beat weaker at Monmouth Park last out, running a career-top mark of 84 in the process. She’s shown rapid improvement and will likely sit a great trip.
RACE 4: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $32,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
- #7 Indian Nichols (9/2) made good ground to just miss second last out at Colonial. She’s got some of the best late pace figures in the race, and should be relatively forwardly placed. #8 Awesome Jazz (2/1) made a bold move and opened up a long lead in the All Brandy Stakes, but was caught in the last few jumps. If she can time the move better, she’s got a big chance. #4 Color Crush (4/1) just missed despite some traffic trouble at 47/1 against better last out. She’s lightly-raced and will likely sit a good trip near the leaders.
RACE 5: CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
- #9 Honorable Lilly (6/1) enters off a career-best effort at Penn National, where she flew late and lost by just half a length. In the start prior, she timed the move perfectly and won by a nose. She’s another type who will take advantage of a long stretch run. #8 Eifs (5/2) has hit the board in four of six starts on the Laurel grass. and battled well in the stretch in each of her last two races. However, she hasn’t had much of a punch once she’s hit the lead, so she may be better served as an underneath type. #2 Nellysford (7/2) was beaten a nose by Eifs last out and hasn’t run worse than a 75 in her three recent grass starts. Will likely be a factor on the early pace.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
- There’s lots of horses in here without much experience at a level as low as this, making it an intriguing affair. #6 Devilish Affair (4/1) has run between a 77 and a 79 in each of her last three starts, which is squarely in the range of what she needs to run to win. She was visually unimpressive against starter optional claiming types, but perhaps this drop in class will do her some good. #7 Hufflepuff (2/1) has finished second in six of her last eight races, but hasn’t found the winner’s circle in a while. Tough to place a win bet on at low odds, but is a fine horse to use in the exotics. #3 Bourbon Wildcat (6/1) races against winners for just the third time, and has early speed from the inside. She just missed twice earlier in the year at Pimlico, then broke her maiden on grass three races back.
RACE 7: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE (GRASS)
- Both of my top two picks will have to draw in off the also-eligible list, but they’re both too dangerous to ignore. #13 Deciding Vote (5/2) closed strongly despite a rough trip on Preakness day. She lost to eventual stakes winner Out of Sorts and Judi Blue Eyes, who hit the board against better in each of her next two. Last out, she closed against a slow pace and lost a photo finish at Colonial. #14 No Ordinary Time (3/1) goes out for Shug McGaughey and Forest Boyce, who teamed up for a winner on opening day and were a scant nose away from a second. This one broke her maiden in game fashion two races back, then found herself in a bit too tough in the Soaring Softly Stakes. Gets some class relief for her first race since that May 15 effort. #9 Beckon (5/1) is the dominant early speed and will try to take them gate-to-wire.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
- #9 Matta (2/1) stalked the pace and surged to win at this level at Saratoga last out. Although it’s technically the equivalent class, this spot features a softer field than the one he saw at the Spa. He’s uber-consistent, having run an 89 in three of his last four starts. #6 Papal Law (6/1), usually a front-runner, stormed from behind to just miss at Penn National last out. It also represented a significant cutback in distance, as he had been mostly in routes before that race. Andrew Wolfsont is here just for this mount. #5 Nothing Better (9/2) has won two in a row at Monmouth and looks to give the team of Colts Neck Stables, Jorge Duarte Jr, and Jevian Toledo winners on back-to-back days.
- RACE 9: CLAIMING $5,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
- #1 Muchacho Macho (2/1) got stuck in an impossible pace situation last out, but still closed well and got second. Cuts back in distance here for Jamie Ness, which is probably what he wants to do. #6 Pet’s Night (7/2) broke his maiden in game style last out, battling on the pace, drawing clear, and holding off another rival. He’s the only on in the field who has never lost against winners. #7 Zip the Lip (4/1) has consistent figures in the upper 60s, and will likely press the pace on the outside. However, he’s also fast enough to be sent right after the lead.
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