LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: mar. 4, 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 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: CLAIMING $5,000 (N/W2L), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
We’ll start a new month of racing today. No carryovers in any pool. I don’t know if I quite believe #3 Bullets Lady’s (9/5) giant brisnet figure from her maiden win at Charles Town, where she ran off the screen and won by eighteen lengths. Still, it was an impressive performance, and her first race in several months. With a race under her belt, she should keep moving forward. #1 Alys Great Notion (8/1) has also never lost against winners, having run far and away a career-best race in victory at Charles Town last out. She couldn’t do anything against weak maiden claimers here in her prior races, but perhaps that last win will wake her up. Worth a shot at her likely price. #6 Flava’s Dream (6/1) ran some decent figures last fall but neve recovered after an awkward break last out. We’ll see if the drop in class helps.
RACE 2: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
#6 Our Lucky Man (5/2) made a nice move towards the lead in a tough n/w1x field last out, but flattened out while racing down the long one-turn mile stretch. He still ran a career-best mark of 94, and should be able to complete his closing rally at a more amenable distance. #3 No Burn (7/5) races for the first time for Daniel Velazquez and has loads of early speed. His early pace figures are better than those of Assembly Point, drawn directly to his inside, so if he can outrun that rival early, he should prove tough to catch. #4 Justinthenickotime (5/1) tried hard to catch pacesetting Jujumar at Penn National last out, but could not get by the loose leader and settled for second. Might find similar problems if someone get away but should at least hang around for an exotics spot.
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RACE 3: STARTER ALLOWANCE $5,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 7 FURLONGS
After some near-misses, #2 Sammie Sunshine (6/5) roared back in a big way last out with a dominant gate-to-wire win at this level. Cuts back from 1 1/16 miles to a sprint, which she’s a bit more comfortable with anyway. #1 Tweet Away Robin (8/5) looks like the stronger half of the Hugh McMahon entry. She’s won two of her last three starts at this level and should sit the trip rating off the leader on the outside. #4 Gallinella (5/1) improved dramatically in her second start off a very long layoff last out, drawing off to win against conditioned claiming company. Her recent speed and pace figures already make her a contender, and she should run better third off the break.
RACE 4: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $16,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#5 Devilish Affair (7/2) has good middle and late speed and was an impressive winner after a rail-riding trip last out. She’s improved her figure in her last four starts, peaking at an 83 in her most recent try. #2 Tequila Fog (7/2) races for the dangerous trainer/jockey combo of Anthony Farrior and Arnaldo Bocachica. She’s finished second in her last two starts at this level. She made mild ground in both starts but might need to be closer to the pace to have a serious chance. #6 Escape Fund (8/5) goes first off the claim for Michael Gorham, who hits at 24% with that angle. She was impressive on this track last out after dull tries in the midwest and not gets a stiffer class test.
RACE 5: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $16,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
#6 Swing West (5/2) saw his winning streak get snapped last out when he stepped up to a first-level allowance field and closed sharply for third. Should bounce back with a drop back to this level. #1 Hair of the Dog (12/1) gets a class test here but consistently runs figures in the low 80s and has finished with interest in most of his recent races. At the least, he can get a piece of the exotics at good odds. #3 Eastern Bay (3/1) makes his first start since September 24. He was a nose away from winning the 2020 DeFrancis Dash, and while this 8-ear-old gelding has seen better days, he can still reel off figures in the mid-80s and should race well first off the bench for Claudio Gonzalez.
RACE 6: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES
Juan Guerrero makes a rare appearance at Laurel, as he ships #5 Tonal Vision (7/2) for this race from Parx. She ran a career-best figure of 88 with an impressive going-away win last out. She does her best running around two turns. Xavier Perez persumably had his choice of the two Jerry Robb entrants, and he went with #8 Award Wanted (9/5), who has just missed in her last few starts against similar and has good tactical speed. She’ll likely press #3 R Averie Lynn (8/1), who is stretching out from six furlongs but has the most early speed in the field, from one path off the inside.
- BackTracks: The kingly Henry of NavarreIn today’s BackTracks, New Jersey-bred Henry of Navarre found Hall of Fame success on the racetrack and later played a more martial role.
RACE 7: MAIDEN CLAIMING $40,000, 4 AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 7 FURLONGS
#1 Startwithabang (8/5) goes first off the claim for Anthony Farrior and made a game rally to just miss in her last start. Should keep moving forward here. #2 I Can Do It (5/2) also raced well from the back of the pack last out, in her first start off a three-month layoff. Turned in a bullet workout last Thursday at Pimlico, going three furlongs in a sharp 35 4/5 seconds. #4 Gwynedd (9/2) was well-backed at this level on debut, but had a tough trip and backed up, The price will be better this time if you still believe.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
Jerry Robb has a pair in here, including Anna’s Bandit’s little half-sister, #2 Bandits Warrior (3/1). She broke her maiden impressively at Pimlico in late May, but hasn’t been to the races since then. While she has lots of upside, I’ll give the edge to her stablemate, #5 Fuhgeddaboutit (5/2). She went off as the favorite in her debut last out, and rebounded from a slow break to win going away. Although Perez did not take the call on her, opting instead for Bandit’s Warrior, the recent races help her out in my book. #6 Beneath the Stars (4/1) has already won twice at this level and should enjoy the class relief after facing stakes company numerous times.
RACE 9: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W3X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
A nice allowance field wraps up today’s card. #4 Treasure Trove (4/1) closed strongly to beat a n/w2x field two starts back, then picked up the pieces and got fourth in the John Campbell Stakes last out. His complete lack of early speed will put him at a disadvantage, but he has enough of a closing kick that should compensate. On the other end of the spectrum, #3 Bustoff (5/2) has loads of early speed and went gate-to-wire against a similar field two races back. He stopped badly in the Jennings Stakes last out and will try to bounce back here. #5 Borracho (5/2) cruised on the lead to win a six-furlong contest at this level last out. He now stretches out but should have enough left in the tank if he’s allowed to set a reasonable pace. Bustoff may have something to say about that, however.