LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: FEB. 12, 2022
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 — $623 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/16 MILES
It’s not unreasonable to be suspicious of #6 Heartness (5/2)‘s last race. He ran far and away a career-best brisnet figure, an 88, while chasing the pace and finishing second at Parx last out. He has never run better than a 71 prior to that race. However, it was still a more visually impressive performance than most of his prior races; he hung on well throughout and never looked to be in serious danger of missing the exacta. He also broke his maiden two starts back in gate-to-wire style. Adds lasix for the first time to boot. #4 Schoolyard Bully (5/1) sat the trip and drew off impressively to break his maiden last out. Kevin Dove claimed him out of that start. Should get a good setup just off the pace once again. #3 Gunhand (2/1) ran a big race on the lead against winners last out, showing speed for the first time and lasting on a fast pace. Anthony Farrior has been money at this meet so far.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE
#6 One Night Stand (5/2) shipped up from Florida and raced for Brittany Russell for the first time last out. He had a tough trip and recovered to get fourth. Should show lots of improvement here. #4 Love My Cat (10/1) was starting to round into form when grass season ended, now switches to dirt and makes her first start since November 19. This probably isn’t her best surface, but her closing style should play well at this distance. #5 Areema (5/1) closed sharply for third two back in her first local start but didn’t do much on the Charles Town bullring last out. That disguises her form a little bit.
- Delaware Park: Stakes-quality allowance featuredDelaware Park kicks off its 2022 meet with an interesting eight-race card that features a stakes-quality allowance and maiden event on the turf.
RACE 3: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#6 Sunshineandrainbows (2/1) ran a big race first off the layoff, setting an honest pace and battling gamely in the stretch to get second. She’ll be a tough customer on the lead once again. #5 Hufflepuff (5/2) runs in the 70s pretty consistently and stays against n/w2L types after some tries against Maryland-bred allowance company. She ran a game race while racing wide in her last start. #7 Spanikopita (4/1) broke her maiden impressively first off the layoff two back, but was disappointing against better last out. She’s a safe bet for a rebound.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $40,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 1 MILE
#2 Joe Mike Jim (3/1) broke through for a professional maiden-breaking. score, shaking off pace challenges and drawing off easily in her first start off the claim for Claudio Gonzalez. Interested to see how she stretches out from a mile. #7 Jackie the Joker (9/2) won two in a row at Charles Town then found herself overmatched in the Xtra Heat Stakes last out. Should find these a bit easier. #6 Sommer Velvet’s (6/1) form is a bit obscured, as she was cruising on the lead at Parx in her last race when she veered out and unseated the jockey. Had she won that race, and it looked like she was going to, she’d be a much lower price here. As things stand, she has a big chance again as long as she minds her manners.
RACE 5: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
Brittany Russell will saddle a pair in here. While I’m usually more inclined to go with horses with experience in these kind of races, #5 Zen Master (6/1) is an especially intriguing firster for her. He sold for $370,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2020, and has been working well over the past several weeks, including a bullet drill on February 2. He’s a son of the precocious Mastery, while his dam, Bendable, was a two-time stakes winner in southern California. I’m interested to see what kind of action this one takes. #7 Keeping the Edge (5/1) went up to Aqueduct for his debut, and raced wide throughout while running a figure of 89. That kind of number makes him tough. Adds blinkers and gets the hot-riding VIctor Carrasco aboard. #10 Rhumjar (9/2) ships down from New York for Tim Hills. He’s bene getting better with each start and adds lasix.
RACE 6: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE
#8 Away to Return (9/2) dueled with Hope Has a Name throughout in her last start. Although Hope Has a Name crossed the wire first, Away to Return battled gamely throughout and held on for second. We’ll see if she can carry her speed going a mile. #3 Mi Cleopatra and I (5/1) saw a four-race win streak snapped last out, when she could not get by Tweet Away Robin in the stretch. Although she just missed in that race, she ran a career-best figure of 84, and has run in the 80s in her last four races. Eligible for a bounce-back race here. #2 Maggie’s Bid (12/1) showed speed and went gate-to-wire to break her maiden last out in an impressive performance. This’ll be her first start beyond seven furlongs, so we’ll see how far she can take it.
- The (almost) fabulous fillies of the PreaknessBefore Rachel Alexandra and Swiss Skydiver won the Preakness, these four fillies made a major impact on the Middle Jewel without winning it.
RACE 7: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#3 Closertotheheart (2/1) has been close at this level recently, including a second-place finish last out where she ran on late. She cut back to six furlongs from a mile in that race; this distance looks better-suited for her style. #2 Kerics Beauty (8/1) was an impressive maiden winner at Penn National two starts back and should get a great trip rating off the pace. #4 Memphis Mafia (5/2) races second off the layoff for Jamie Ness. She’s shown speed and faded in her last two, but was in good form before that and can recapture it if she get a mild enough pace.
RACE 8: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMIN $25,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
#4 Algebraic (8/5) was impressive on the lead in his last start, winning at this level with a big figure of 96. He’s improved sharply in each of his last two starts. #1 D’Rapper (3/1) also competed at this level last out, and closed strongly up the inside for third. Looks likely to get a great ground-saving trip, which will give him a shot to get through up the inside again. #2 Seanow (5/1), a Ness trainee just like D’Rapper, has improved in his last few and has good closing speed. He ran figures as high as 97 last summer and is starting to get back into form since returning from a 2 1/2-month break.
RACE 9: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#5 Mending (4/1) comes out of the same race as the aforementioned Hope Has a Name and Away to Return. She rated off those dueling leaders and came up empty, but had won back-to-back starts prior to that race. We’ll see which version of her shows up. #2 Miner’s Gem (4/1) has won four in a row in front-running style against much weaker opposition, and gets her class test here. Her figures make her a serious contender, but she might have to work a bit harder to win this one. #3 Behind the Couch (7/2) just missed against Mending two starts back and will be the first to try and take advantage if the leaders falter.
RACE 10: CLAIMING $10,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
#2 Chica Rabiosa (7/5) cuts back from a mile and has dominant early speed. Looks like a serious threat to wire them. #3 I’m a Lil Bossy (8/1) rated off the pace and drew off to break her maiden at fourth asking last out. This’ll be her first start since October 29, and adds lasix for the first time. #4 Miz the Best (6/1) made a solid move to the front last out and flattened out. Goes second off the layoff here and has a chance to put it together with the race under her belt.