Laurel Park picks and ponderings December 31, 2021

by | Dec 31, 2021 | Breaking, Handicapping

Horses round the turn at Laurel Park. Photo: Allison Janezic.

In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…

Post time: 12:25 p.m.

Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $0 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0 (All wagers have mandatory payouts Dec. 31)


RACE 1: CLAIMING $10,000, 2yo, 1 mile

  • 6-5-7-3
  • We’re gonna cut #6 Over and Thunder (10-1) some slack for the back-to-back stinkers; one came under the lights at Penn in allowance company, and last time out, at a higher level, he stumbled badly leaving the gate, was wide throughout, and made a bit of a middle move before emptying out midway around the final turn. His best efforts win here… #5 Prince of Portland (2-1) takes an appropriate drop after a mid-pack finish last out when tiring in the final furlong… #7 Gunhand (9-2) had a pretty perfect setup last out to graduate, and we like that it came going a mile, as he’ll try again today…

RACE 2: CLAIMING $10,000 N2L, 3yo and up, 5 1/2 furlongs

  • 3-5-8-6
  • Top choice #3 Pepe and Heywood (7-2) has run three good ones in his last four at this distance without getting the money. Perhaps today’s the day… We desperately want to bet on #5 One More Factor (8-1), but the cutback from seven-eighths to this gives us pause. He ran a sneaky big one last out, winning a speed duel and sticking around to the late stages before tiring to fourth. The quarter- and half-mile splits were the fastest of any race at any distance that day, including a race at the same distance that had a much faster final time… #8 Crying for More (5-2) is another arriving off a good effort at seven furlongs…

RACE 3: CLAIMING $8,000, 3yo and up, 6 furlongs

  • 6-5-2-3
  • Top choice #6 Federale (3-1) figures to control this one from the jump and loves this six-furlong trip, having won five of nine prior tries… Hard knocker #5 Baptize the Boy (7-2) pretty much always runs his race but doesn’t seem quite the horse he was in the winter and spring… No question that #2 Hard Fought (5-2) fits here based on his earlier efforts, but that dismal outing last time makes the prospect of 5-2 a little tough to stomach…



  • 8-1-2-5
  • Speaking of darkened form, that last one was a mess for #8 Rookie Salsa (9-2), who went directly to the rear of the field and stayed there, while seeming a bit unfocused. Hard to know what happened that day, but this is a runner two races removed from just missing in a second-level allowance locally, and if he can return to that form, he’ll contend at a square price… Trainer Jamie Ness has a two-horse entry here, and we suspect #1A D’Rapper (5-2) is the more likely to run here. Both look like contenders, though, with D’Rapper arriving off a good-looking win in a condittioned starter last out… And then we come to #2 Maythehorsebwithu (8-1), another one who ran poorly last out. That came over a Parx surface that’s not to every horse’s liking, so it’s perhaps forgivable, and the start prior came against the very speedy Beren in the Danzig Stakes. This guy won a stake earlier this year and was second in two others, so there’s some talent there, and we suspect he might be sitting on a good effort today…

RACE 5: CLAIMING $5,000 (conditioned), 3yo and up, 1 1/16 miles

  • 10-7-1-3
  • The late-running #10 Percher (4-1) has been in good form of late and should appreciate the added ground today: two of his three career wins came going two turns… #7 Frankee Merch (5-1) has been second and third versus similar and was a decent third against better in his only two-turn try… #1 Edict (6-1) has never been worse than third in four tries at the trip and arrives off a win against never-won-three sorts…

RACE 6:  MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2yo fillies, 1 mile

  • 10-3-4-7
  • The major contenders with races under their belts all have questions to answer, with a couple of obvious ones trying the main track for the first time. So we’ll take a bit of a swing with a first-timer in #10 Ocean Time (8-1). The Graham Motion trainee is a daughter of Mineshaft (who’s not particularly known for getting 2yo) out of an older Kingmambo mare, Madam Lagonza, whose offspring include multiple graded turf stake winner Woodlander and dirt stake winner Admiral Alex. The work tab is a bit nondescript, but this miss did fire a bullet half-mile move Nov. 26… The likely favorite is another Motion trainee, #3 Candy Light (9-5). A $200,000 auction purchase, she was a good second on debut on the turf but then finished fourth as the favorite in an AQU maiden event. This will be her first try on the main track, which is also true of #4 Qualy (4-1), who finished second in her debut on the turf Sept. 30 but has not raced since. She’s a half to dirt stakes winners Lucrezia and Ghalia…


RACE 7: ALLOWANCE (N/W2X)/OPTIONAL CLAIMING $35,000, Fillies and mares 3yo and up, 6 1/2 furlongs

  • 1-4-3-7
  • If you ignore the five stakes tries, #1 Juror Number Four (3-1) has a sporty record of 5:3-1-1, and there’s good reason to think she’ll augment that here. After a four-month break, she returned to trounce Maryland-bred allowance rivals Nov. 7, and while her follow-up, in the Safely Kept, wasn’t great, it wasn’t terrible either, and runner-up Fraudulent Charge returned to trounce allowance foes next out. This one makes her third start off the bench and could run big in here… Nothing wrong with the work that the Andy Simoff-trained #4 Alta Velocita (4-1) has done to date, and she certainly made good use of the Monmouth meet; the Jersey-bred won four of her five starts at Monmouth, including the Eleven North for state-breds. She also won nicely last out at Delaware… Impressive win last out for #3 Pretty Lori (5-2), who galloped against first allowance foes, winning by four. We’ll try to beat her, though; note that both of her wins came going 5 1/2 furlongs, and this 6 1/2 furlong try will be the longest she’s run…

    RACE 8: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3yo and up, 1 1/16 miles

    • 2-6-4-8
    • You have to figure that, off an 82 Beyer and having kept pretty good company of late, #6 Big Venezuela (5-2) will go off the favorite in this allowance contest. A total of four horses that finished ahed of him in his last four won their follow-ups, including Boss Logic, who bested this one for the second straight time last out in an alloance. But we’re inclined to take a swing against if only because, as well as he’s been running, he lost at this level four straight, and who wants short odds on a horse finally winning a condition in the fifth try? We’ll give it a shot with the comebacking #2 Ratify (7-2). This guy has been a different horse since entering the Russell barn, winning three of four while ascending the class ladder. HIs lone allowance try was not good, but we’ll give him a mulligan on that. He’s been away since June, which is an obvious concern, but Russell has won at a 31% clip with horses coming back off similar layoffs, including a 5-for-17 mark doing so in route races… Another in good form moving up the ladder is the Claudio Gonzalez-trained #4 Our Lucky Man (9-2)

    RACE 9: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W3L), Fillies and mares 3yo and up, 6 furlongs

    • 2-12-5-9
    • Top choice #2 R Averie Lynn (8-1) closes out the season in style with an upset win here. The Mike Gorham trainee didn’t run especially well two back, when he picked her up, then gave an improved account of herself against better, and now may be ready to cycle back to the form that gave her two straight wins in September and October at Delaware. It’s a bulky field and she’s down inside, so she’ll need a trip, but she has enough early zip that she might just find herself in front… #12 Danny Deep Cuts (4-1) ships in and finds his way to his lowest level… #5 Fyvie (8-1) has won two of her last three by a combined 16 lengths…




    About The Author

    Frank Vespe

    Frank Vespe, the founder and publisher of The Racing Biz, has owned, bought, sold, claimed, written, and talked about horses, in varying combinations, for a decade. Email him at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @TheRacingBiz.

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