LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: mar. 19, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:40 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $2,008.15 Super High 5 — $6,200.60 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
We’ve got a very exciting card on tap today: 11 races, including five stakes races. Plenty of good-sized fields to boot. Let’s get the party started. #7 Who Knows What (4/1) goes third off the layoff following a solid last-out performance against first-level allowance types. She has the best late pace figures in the race, so she’d be better off rating right near the early pace. #5 Honor Your Mother (6/1) ran far and away a career-best race last out when she rated off the lead and soundly beat a field at this level at 19/1. You won’t get those odds again, but her previous lackluster form might make bettors a bit wary. Still, she’s going second off the layoff and will contend even if she regresses a few brisnet points. #8 Kashan (3/1) went off as the favorite in her first start off the layoff at Charles Town, but raced wide throughout and showed little. She ran in the 80s consistently last year at Delaware Park; those numbers make her a contender.
RACE 2: MAIDEN CLAIMING $25,000, 4 AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 7 FURLONGS
Despite not having raced for more than a year, #9 Flat Cat (5/2) was the odds-on choice in his last start. He was a very vulnerable favorite for sure, but he raced well, beaten just a half-length despite a very wide trip. He might get hung wide again here, but he should also benefit from having that race under his belt. #7 Bourbon On the Bay (5/1) ran a big figure of 84 on debut, but regressed last out with only a mild move. We’ll see if he can bounce back. #3 Mosler Safe (7/2) chased the pace and ran decent figures in two starts at Pimlico last year, but hasn’t been seen since May. He drops to this level for the first time and has had some decent workouts for Mike Trombetta.
- 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: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
#3 Flat Out Flying (3/1) has run in the 90s in each of his last five starts. He usually lives up to his name, rating well off the pace and making a big late move. He was second behind Exit Right last out, who came back to win a starter handicap at Parx by eight lengths as the 1/2 favorite. #2 Dust Devil (9/5) ships down from New York for Bill Mott. Interestingly, Mott does not have an entrant in a stakes race; he’s sending just this one down. He’s lost many times in a row at this level up there, and persumably comes here in search of some class relief. He consistently runs in the upper 80s and low 90s, but is likely to get overbet due to his trainer. #7 Visual Artist (6/1) had to fight on the lead last out and backed up. He has a tough post, but the best early pace figures in the race. If he’s able to get to the rail and the lead, he’ll have the trip he wants.
RACE 4: CONNIVER STAKES, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, MD-BRED/SIRED, 7 FURLONGS
The stakes action gets started here, in this stakes race named after the 1948 champion older mare. The betting in this race will be dominated by two horses; #3 Fille d’Esprit (7/5) and #5 Kiss the GIrl (9/5). The former ran a gutsy race in the Barbara Fritchie Stakes last out, getting third after battling int he stretch. The latter has won two Maryland-bred stakes in a row by open lengths, both at longer distances than what she’ll see today. Both are in great form and have an affinity for Laurel, but I’ll lean towards Fille d’Esprit, as I think she’s more of a pure sprinter. That being said, both have a great chance, and you might be better off just betting whichever one goes off at higher odds. #2 Artful Splatter (3/1) loves finishing second. She’s done so three times in a row, including twice in a row behind Artful Splatter. She’s lost fifteen straight races and hasn’t really shown the punch needed to win any of them, so you’re better of using her underneath.
RACE 5: MAIDEN CLAIMING $40,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#7 Must Be Love (4/1) raced gamely in each of his two starts. Last out, he recovered from a bad break and made a big middle move, but flattened out late. If he can time it out better, he’ll be a serious contender. #4 Whenigetoheaven (9/2) has blazing early speed and will certainly be out there winging it in the first quarter. We’ll see if he can finish the deal this time. #1 Backnthewoods (7/2) makes his first start since mid-November and just missed twice last fall against straight maidens. Jose Corrales isn’t great with his starters first off the layoff, so this one might need a race.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $12,500, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
A fun field of claimers will line up here. #9 No More Talk (6/1) cut back to a sprint after a disappointing try going a mile last out. He closed well and finished second behind the impressive Nashvegas, who also won at this level last fall. He’s run in the 80s in his last four sprint starts. #6 Swing West (5/2) won three in a row earlier in the meet. He went off as the favorite against better last out, and flattened out after a promising move on the turn. Will try to rebound here. #5 Maythehorsebwithu (5/1) looked like one of the more promising 3-year-olds on the circuit at this time last year, but hasn’t won since taking the Miracle Wood Stakes last year. Goes third off the claim for Jamie Ness and continues to search for his best self. We’ll see if a drop from starter optional claiming races helps the cause.
- 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: NOT FOR LOVE STAKES, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, MD-BRED/SIRED, 6 FURLONGS
This race is named after one of the top stallions in Maryland breeding history. In fact, my top pick, #1 Big Engine (5/2), is a son of Not For Love. He stepped up dramatically in his second start off the layoff last out, pulling clear late to win a n/w3x allowance optional claiming field at Aqueduct with a figure of 104. He has good tactical speed and will get the trip rating off the leaders. #6 Air Token (5/1) was flat after a wide trip in the General George Stakes last out, but was impressive against allowance optional claiming company two back. This looks like the perfect type of spot for him. #3 Whereshetoldmetogo (3/1) is the defending champion of this race, and held his own against mid-Atlantic sprinters all year, including three more stakes wins. He’s making his first start since December 26, when he lost a stretch battle in the Dave’s Friend Stakes. He won this race off a similar break last year.
RACE 8: HARRISON JOHNSON MEMORIAL STAKES, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
Harrison Johnson was a Maryland-based trainer who died in a plane crash in 1985. This race is a virtual rematch of the February 20 John Campbell Stakes. Five of the seven entrants last competed in that race. #2 Galerio (7/5) showed his usual heart and courage in that race, overcoming a wide trip to win by a nose with a career-best figure of 106. He shouldn’t have much trouble beating these once again. #1 Gentleman Joe (3/1) was third in the Campbell after setting the early pace. He’s usually on the lead and has every chance to get the front end once again. #3 Torch of Truth (5/1) was a flat fifth in the Campbell, but generally has a good closing kick and got up to beat Gentleman Joe two races back.
RACE 9: BEYOND THE WIRE STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 1 MILE
It’s nearly impossible to see past #7 Luna Belle (1/1) in this race. She’s handily won three stakes in a row, defeating tougher horses than the kind she’ll see here. As long as she turns in even a decent performance by her standards, she should have her way with them. #1 She is Wisky (6/1) races third off the layoff and closed for second in the Wide Country Stakes last out behind Luna Belle. She ran a lifetime top of 87, and has run in the mid-80s in two of her last three starts. It looks like she’s rounding into career-best form. #3 Ha’ Penny (8/1) ships up from Florida after two even efforts at Tampa Bay Downs. She should grind along for a piece.
RACE 10: PRIVATE TERMS STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/16 MILES
This one is named after the top mid-Atlantic based 3-year-old of 1988. #4 Eagle in Love (3/1) ships down here for Rob Atras off an impressive maiden win. He rated just off the pace and drew off to win impressively, with a figure of 86. It’s an interesting move by Atras to send him down here; perhaps he does not want to go into deep waters in the Wood Memorial. He fits right in here, though. #7 Joe (5/2) has been impressive in his last two starts, including a first-level allowance optional claiming win last out in his two-turn debut. His recent workouts have been very sharp. Trombetta has said that he’s thinking about him as a Preakness contender. This race will prove whether he’d have any shot against the big boys. #8 Shake Em Loose (6/1) made a big move from behind to win going away last out, with a lifetime top of 91. Outside of a poor effort in the Spectacular Bid Stakes where he broke poorly, he’s been improving with every race lately.
RACE 11: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#5 Loaded Sniper (6/1) makes his third start since shipping from Woodbine, and handled the step up in class well with a solid fifth last out. earning a figure of 75 in the process. #4 Silent Service (8/5) ran better than that consistently last year, but hasn’t raced since May 11. Workouts are good but still might need a race. #7 Rahmer (5/2) made a strong move in his first start against winners last out but flattened out late. Will try to build off that race.