LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: FEB. 21, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $9,660.68 Super High 5 — $1,948.52 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
There’s nine races on the holiday Monday card. #5 Sax (6/1) ships to the mid-Atlantic for the first time after racing in the midwest and California. She stopped badly in two starts going two turns, but now gets to cut back to six furlongs. Her lone win to date came at five furlongs, a game head win at Churchill Downs last June. #4 Six o’Clock Sarah (3/1) goes first off the claim for Jamie Ness and races for the first time since September 16. She has lots of early speed and will be tough to catch if she isn’t rusty first off the break. #7 Middle Island (7/2) is also racing first off the claim, in this case for Kieron Magee. Unlike Six o’Clock Sarah, she comes from well out of it. She closed from twelve lengths out of it to beat a bottom-level maiden claiming group on New Year’s Day.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $16,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE
#6 Gunhand (9/2) dueled on the outside throughout in his last start, and while he outfinished his dueling partner, he was well-beaten by a rival who sat a perfect trip. He beat a similar field to this one two starts back in a determined front-running efforts. #7 Greylover (10/1) also ran a big race on the lead to break his maiden last out, running far and away a career-best brisnet figure of 76. We’ll see if he can keep moving forward second off the layoff. The price will be right if you think he can. Rob Atras doesn’t send too many down here, but he entered #3 Nostalgic Run (7/2) in his first start for the barn. He drew off impressively at Penn National two back, then got involved in a duel last out at Parx and faded. He doesn’t need the lead, so he might try to back off the pace and pounce late.
- Trainer Michael Pino reaches 2,000 winsTrainer Michael Pino went 2-for-2 today at Parx Racing to reach 2,000 wins in a career which has seen his runners earn over $43 million.
RACE 3: CLAIMING $5,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
#1 Rock and Fellers (2/1) has abundant early speed and the inside post, so he’ll get an ideal setup here. He set the pace from the rail last out in a similar race and managed to hold on for second. #6 Oxide (7/5) has improved dramatically in each of his last two starts and beat $8,000 types easily last out. He’s an impressive 3-for-4 at seven furlongs, but his best recent races have come going a mile or longer. #4 Chrisatude (9/2) showed a bit more punch than usual last out but could do no better than third after coming from last. Best case is he rallies for a piece.
RACE 4: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
Five of these competed in a race at this same condition on January 27 either last out or two races back. #2 Bakeneko (7/2) dueled on the lead throughout, and missed third by a neck after setting respectable fractions for the distance. Usually, he rates just off the pace; that might be a better move for him. #5 Lomaki Force (4/1) broke his maiden in gate-to-wire style at Woodbine last out and goes first off the claim for Justin Nixon. Will be tough if he’s allowed a relatively uncontested lead. #7 Reassured (5/2) takes a big drop in class from the n/w1x allowance level. The figures he’s run in those races are competitive for this level, but he wasn’t visually impressive in his recent races.
RACE 5: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#8 Bear Force Won (7/2) ran a giant race at this level last out, opening up a big lead in the stretch before getting caught late by Semper Fi, who returns later on the card. His figure of 104 is easily a lifetime-top. He should keep moving forward third off a long break. #4 Swing West (4/1) has won three in a row against softer and now gets his class test here. He’ll be a presence on the early pace. #1 Going to the Lead (3/1) should also show speed from the inside and always battles hard. He’s a few photo finishes away from having won three races in a row.
RACE 6: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE
#3 Hybrid Eclipse (8/5) ships down from New York for Linda Rice. She chased and finished third in a competitive n/w2x race last out at Aqueduct. The winner, Maiden Beauty, came back to win the Bay Ridge Stakes, while runner-up Battle Bling won the Ladies Stakes in her next start. #5 Sweet Home Dixie (5/1) sat the trip and got up to win against n/w1x horses last out. She’s shown a more effective late kick with every recent start. #2 Vino Y Queso (8/1) stretched out around two turns for the first time and handily beat an easier allowance field at Parx. Victor Carrasco gets the mount for the first time.
- 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: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
Both #2 Coastal Mission (5/2) and #3 Alottahope (8/5) were entered in the Miracle Wood Stakes last Saturday, but scratched to race here. Coastal Mission was a clear-cut second in the Spectacular Bid behind dominant winner Witty, and outfinished Local Motive, who came back to win the Miracle Wood. Alottahope ran a huge race two back in victory, but was flat in the Spectacular Bid and settled for fourth. Off that performance, I’d lean toward Coastal Mission, assuming both horses stay near their morning line. #5 Sunday Mischief (10/1) set the pace and drew off impressively to break his maiden last out with a decent figure of 81. He’s gotten much better with each race and looks like the value play in the field.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
#3 Semper Fi (2/1) chased down the aforementioned Bear Force Won to win last out with a game stretch run. He ran a lifetime-top mark of 105 in that race, up from a 92 earned in victory two starts back. If he wins, it’s sure to be in dramatic style. #4 Alpha Chi Ro (7/5) won at this level here two races back, then set the pace in the Say Florida Sandy Stakes before fading. Likely to try and go gate-to-wire here. #5 Karan’s Notion (6/1) has hit the exacta in nine of sixteen here at Laurel, but hasn’t won since November 2020. Look for him t sit just off the pace in his third start off the layoff.
RACE 9: CLAIMING $5,000 (N/W2L), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
After several defeats at low odds against maiden claimers, #6 El Bochinche (1/1) broke through for an impressive 8 1/4-length win last out, with a figure of 77. She looks fast enough to control the tempo. #7 Sudden Impact (7/2) gets class relief after facing better n/w2L types in New York and adds blinkers. Made decent ground last out to earn a career-top mark of 74. #2 Birthday Wish (3/1) also burned a lot of money before getting up at 1/2 last out. She has some of the best late pace figures in the field and will be closing strongly late.