Laurel Park picks and ponderings September 24, 2021
Horses round the turn at Laurel Park. Photo: 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 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
RACE 1: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
- There’s nine races on this Friday card. After the heavy rain late Wednesday and early yesterday, today’s races were pulled off the grass last night. #4 Grace Isabella (6/1) has just missed in her last two dirt starts against similar, and races for the first time since June 25. Her best recent race came two back, when she recovered from a bad break and lost by half a length, earning a brisnet figure of 80 in the process. #5 Stay Out (5/1) has very up-and-down form, but when she’s on, she’s very tough to beat. The only thing we know for sure is that she’ll be on the lead. #8 Nellysford (2/1) goes first off the claim for Kieron Magee, who hits at 24% with that angle. She showed promise in the 4 1/2-furlong dashes over the winter at Charles Town, and has steadily run figures in the 70s in her recent dirt tries.
RACE 2: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $16,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
The Claudio Gonzalez pair dominates this race. #4 Baptize the Boy (2/1) made a strong move in a n/w1x allowance race two back, and won going away with a big figure of 88. He’s run in the 80s in five of his last six races. He may have been in a bit too deep last out, facing a n/w2x field that includes Band on Tour, who won yesterday. The only horse he really has to worry about here is his stablemate #2 Eastern Bay (4/5). That one’s been facing much better most of the year. He crossed the wire second in a $25,000 starter optional claiming, but was placed first. About this time last year, he was a nose away from winning the DeFrancis Dash, but has been dropping down the class ladder all year. His figures have declined as well, but the mid 80s he’s been running lately should be enough to win this. #3 Stroll Smokin (6/1) goes second off the claim for Dale Bennett and exits the same race as Eastern Bay, where he was a non-threatening seventh. He was in great form earlier in the year, but has struggled in his last two races, and looks for a bounce-back. Look for him to be on or near the pace.
RACE 3: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $32,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
- #5 Qian BC (9/2) races first off the claim for Linda Rice and goes out for the first time since June 25. He has some gate problems, but usually recovers from them and runs a big race. He ran in the mid-70s twice in his dirt starts over the winter, including a sharp-closing second. #2 By the Sey Shore (6/1) struggled against Maryland-bred allowance company last out but should enjoy the drop in class. Has a recent bullet workout under his belt and should rebound to his prior upper-70s form. #3 Magic Mule (10/1) has been very consistent against these types and has good tactical speed. He made a bold move last out and led late, but couldn’t quite seal the deal.
RACE 4: STARTER ALLOWANCE $5,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
- My top three picks in this race all enter on three-race winning streaks. #7 Baby Ice (9/5) has had all of which have home after rating on or near the pace and rolling by in the stretch. An outside post didn’t bother her last time, so I don’t think it’ll bother her here. What might bother her is the presence of #5 Littlebitalilly (2/1) who has early speed from her inside. However, Littlebitalilly is a bit more of a need-the-lead type than Baby Ice, who has the ability to stalk. I have to imagine these two will be 1-2 turning for home. #1 Ms Headley (3/1) has shown plenty of speed in her last two races, but can also rate and will be better-advised to do so here.
RACE 5- CLAIMING $10,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
- #8 Big Venezuela (5/2) went gate-to-wire in his last start at this level, defeating some of the horses he’ll see here. He’s got a tough post in this race, which features a short run into the first turn, but if J.D. Acosta is aggressive enough with his mount, he can get him to the lead and work out a great trip. #7 Blue Sky Painter (5/2) chased Big Venezuela all the way around last out and ended up second. He’s gotten plenty of checks at this level, but doesn’t really have the early speed needed to win races consistently. #2 Lost My Vowcher (8/1) gets back to dirt and races second off the claim for Ferris Allen. He’ll try to cause trouble for Big Venezuela up top.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/8 MILES
- #2 Tuff But Fair (7/2) broke awkwardly last out, rushed up to set a clear pace, and held well until late. Races for the first time since June 25, but is lightly-raced with good early speed. #7 Princess Doir (2/1) broke her maiden impressively at Churchill Downs in June, and since then has burned a lot of money against these types. Her figures declined over the bullring at Charles Town, but getting back to the big track should help. #5 Wolverette (6/1) got the trip in her last dirt starts at Colonial Downs, rating off the pace and battling on, but ultimately witling to get second. Should sit on the pace again and hold on for a piece.
RACE 7: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 7 FURLONGS
- #6 Maggie’s Bid (7/2) went off as the slight favorite on debut, in a race where she was one of three debuters. She finished second behind another first-time starter, but closed well for second after racing wide. Has two bullet workouts since that race. #7 Belle of the North (9/2) improved when cutting back on dirt for the first time, closing well to get third with a career-top 72. More improvement would make her a serious contender. #1 By the Hour (3/1) tries dirt for the first time for Brittany Russell, after some mild tries on grass. Likely to get overbet but still an interesting contender.
- RACE 8: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, MD-BRED, 7 FURLONGS
- #5 Dulce Kiara (7/2) recovered from a bad break to crush the field in her second career start last out, with an excellent figure of 87. She’s shaken off bad starts in both of her races to win impressively, and will be even more dangerous if she finally learns how to break. #6 Lady Fox (5/1) cuts back around one turn and has good late pace figures that should get her spot underneath. She won against weaker two back at Monmouth Park going away. #4 Marvella Nasty (6/1) has finished third at this level twice, and also has good late speed. Makes her first start since July 30 for the Brittany Russell barn.
- RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $40,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
- #2 Baltimore Bullet (8/1) went off as the favorite at this level on debut, but wasn’t much of a factor after a slow break. He has lots of room to improve second time out for Claudio Gonzalez, and will be a good value play if he stays near his morning line. #10 Twist ‘n Twirl (5/2) exits the same race, where he broke more alertly and ran on well to get third. Adds blinkers second time out for Graham Motion. #12 Dr Rags (6/1) got a tough draw in his first career start for Mike Trombetta, but still has a good worktab and a conditioner good with firsters.
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