LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: JAN. 30, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:10 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $2,308 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $16,000, 4 AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE
#1 Ninetynine Excuses (8/1) switched to the dirt for his second start last out, and showed speed before tiring. Not sure how he’ll handle the longer distance but the recent improvement is encouraging. #6 Secret Soulmate (6/1) has broken slowly in each of his first two starts, but closed well both times. Exits a fairly salty maiden claiming race at Penn National; both the second and third-place finishers in that race came back to win. #5 Callyourightback (8/5) ran a career-best brisnet figure of 75 last out with a sharp-closing seventh going shorter. Looks to keep moving forward second off a brief layoff.
RACE 2: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#1 Combat Queen (9/5) has Victor Carrasco in the saddle, who has been absolutely on fire this month. He won three stakes races yesterday, and has won 14 times from 35 mounts total. This mare won at this level three races back, and finished second against similar in her last two races. She’s going to show speed from the inside and will be in an ideal spot for a horse of her running style. #2 Awfully Foxy (2/1) lost a photo to Combat Queen last out and will be rolling late. A horse with as little early speed as she has is automatically at a disadvantage in my book, however. #3 Italian Dressing (6/1) got caught up in a speed duel going a mile last out and backed up badly. That race obscures her otherwise good recent form and will drive up her price, but it’s not a comparable circumstance as this race.
- Several local runners among Barbara Fritchie nomsThe nominations for the Barbara Fritchie Stakes upcoming at Laurel Park include several local runners, among them last year’s show horse Fille d’Esprit.
RACE 3: MAIDEN CLAIMING $10,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/16 MILES
#5 Dahtestes Hero (7/2) goes first off the claim from Churchill Downs for Daniel Velazquez. He made a mild rally in his first two-turn try on dirt last out but flattened out. He still ran a relatively strong figure of 66 and has room to improve. #7 High Rock (7/2) has gotten much better with every start. Last out, he made a promising move, and while he tired late, he ran a career-best number of 67. He’s carrying just 115 pounds; most of his rivals are carrying 124. That should help the cause. #2 Edens Glory (3/1) takes a career-low drop in class and ran on well last out after falling well behind.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $40,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 6 1/2 FURLONGS
#2 World of Fools (6/1) got up to break his maiden at Charles Town last out after rating off the pace. Anthony Farrior and Arnaldo Bocachica have been sharp here lately. #3 Al Loves Josie (2/1) has run in the mid-70s in each of his three most recent races and is the main speed threat in the race. His most serious competition on the front end will be #5 Lantau (5/1), who went gate-to-wire to break his maiden last out but have trouble getting to the rail from his post position.
RACE 5: MAIDEN CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#9 Winston’s Gold (8/1) made a bold rally two back and just missed, but struggled when fanned wide last out. Will try to save more ground this time and get a piece at a price. #4 Hampden Lane (8/1) has far and away the best last-out figure in the race, a 76, He’s getting better with every start and will also come from behind. #10 Remembering Wilbur (3/1) goes first out for Dale Capuano, who hits at an impressive 27% with his debuters. Watching the board with this one.
RACE 6: ALLOWNACE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
#1 Davidic Line (9/5) is the flagship half of the Jamie Ness entry. He went off as the slight favorite in the Kris Kringle Stakes last out, and battled well in the stretch to finish second behind rapidly rising Parx star Why Why Paul Why. He’ll break from post eight here, which isn’t ideal, but if he can get to the rail and the lead, he’s in great shape. #5 Up Against It (8/1) made an impressive rerally to beat a n/w1x field last out, after rushing up and dropping back. Usually, he’s more settled in midpack. #7 The Poser (8/1) consistently runs in the 80s, and had some traffic trouble in his last two starts and will hope for some smoother sailing here.
- Which horses had the best post-CT Classic careers?Art Collector’s win in Saturday’s Grade 1 Pegasus got us wondering: which winners of the Charles Town Classic had the best careers after their Classic win?
RACE 7: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
This looks like a two-horse race on paper, between Lacey Gaudet stablemates. I’ll give the edge to #5 Greystone (8/5) over #4 Striking a Pose (1/1), on account of him being a bit lighter-raced and making his third start off a long layoff. Striking a Pose has had many chances against winners, and while he has competitive figures, he also doesn’t have a lot of early speed. #1 Irishman (8/1) has great late pace figures and should close for a piece of the trifecta.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
#5 Jovis (9/2) battled gamely on the lead last out and just missed. He’s run at least an 85 in three of his last four dirt starts, the only one in the field to do so. #2 Forced (7/2) is very dangerous when he gets the lead. He’s won each of the last three times that he led at the opening quarter point. He’s faster early than He’s a Shooter, drawn to his direct inside, so he should be able to get to the front and the rail. #7 Mojovation (9/2) races third off the claim for Jamie Ness and comes back to Laurel after a disappointing race at Parx last out. He won at this level three starts back at Delaware Park, but hasn’t been the same since the Ness claim. However, he’s facing easier competition than he’s been seeing and still has strong middle and late pace figures, so he can’t be entirely discounted.
RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $16,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
#6 Monarch Beach (8/5) got bounced around on debut a bit but closed well for third. Wheels back in just seven day’s time for Farrior and Bocachica. #1 Heidi T (4/1) got caught up in a very destructive speed duel last out, in which everyone who was near the pace ended up buried. Should race better with a more honest pace. #5 Derby Julep (7/2) showed speed for the first time last out and got in a duel with Mama G’s Wish, who went on to win that race and two more subsequent ones. This should be an easier field to deal with.