LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: APR. 7, 2022

In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…

Post time: 12:40 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 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE

5-1-3-4

Thursday racing is back! We’re also just one week away from the scheduled return of grass racing. #5 Congress Hall (9/5) made a serious move int he stretch last out, but ended up flattening out and finishing third. She’s dropping from open claimers and is one of two in the field with brisnet figures in the 70s in three of her last four races. The other one is #1 Ravenel (3/1), who was visually unimpressive in her two starts since returning from a layoff. However, her low-70s figures are competitive with these. #3 Simmard Shenanigan (9/2) essentially won by default at Penn National last out, and returns to a track where she’s enjoyed more success.

RACE 2: MAIDEN CLAIMING $10,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS

6-2-5-7

#6 DIxieland Dancer (2/1) has improved sharply with every start, and ran on well for second in her first start at this level. Her kryptonite might be her jockey; Joseph Trejos went 1-for-24 at the recently completed winter meet. #2 Bestla (5/1) drops from the $40,000 maiden claiming level, which are not unlike maiden special weight races around here. She couldn’t get to the lead last out and showed little, but should race well if she can get the lead and the rail in this six-furlong race. #5 Amaretto Star (12/1) ran on well last out at Charles Town despite a wide trip. She’ll make her first start since December 10, and could get into the exotics at a decent number.

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RACE 3: CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 7 FURLONGS

2-3-6-5

Anthony Farrior claimed a few recently from various midwest tracks; #2 Simply Valid (4/1) is one of those claims. He turned in an impressive front-running effort to break his maiden at Fair Grounds last out and should be tough on the lead here as well. #3 Ridiculous (7/2) sat the trip and got up to beat a similar field here last out, with a career-best figure of 84. He’ll be the first to take advantage if Simply Valid tires. #6 Five Star Phil (4/1) has led late and flattened in his last two, and looks for improvement in his first start for Rodolfo Sanchez-Solomon.

RACE 4: MAIDEN CLAIMING $25,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE

1-5-7-3

#1 Solomon’s Choice (8/1) has run between a 68 and a 72 in each of his four starts. He ran well for third going 1 1/16 miles last out and should benefit from a cutback in distance. #5 Contented Now (4/1) exits the same race as Solomon’s Choice, and finished second in his first dirt start and first race off a long break. Has shown good tactical speed. #7 Spritzer (9/2) has gotten caught late in his last few but should get a very easy trip here, as he’s the only one who likes to go to the front.

RACE 5: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS

4-8-2-7

#4 W W Springtime (3/1) dropped back to this level last time and held on for third, beaten for second by a nose, behind Eastern Bay, who came back to win a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race on Sunday. He’s almost certainly going to set the early pace here. #8 The Walk (5/2) saw his five-race winning streak snapped last after a rough trip. He may have gotten a bit banged up in that race, as he hasn’t competed since February 10, but he’s back now and should be primed for a big effort. #2 Lost in Manhattan (3/1) is another recent midwestern claim by Farrior. He closed well for second after a bad break last out at Turfway Park.

RACE 6: MAIDEN CLAIMING $40,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS

3-2-6-1

There’s two firsters in here who figure to attract a lot of money. I lean towards Cal Lynch’s #3 Union Fleet (9/2), who has had a steady, sharp worktab at Fair Hill for a barn that has a decent winning percentage with first-time starters. As usual, watch the board. #2 That’s Right (7/2) attracted a lot of money in his first start off the bench, but stopped badly after trying to press the pace. He’ll be on the lead one again and should improve. He just missed after leading in his final two races last year. #6 Our Freedom (8/1) closed well on debut despite a tough trip and looks like a potential value play.

RACE 7: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE

8-1-5-7

There’s lots of ways to go in a competitive featured event. #8 Spitball (5/1) packs a big middle punch and always runs on well in the stretch. He’s in the 80s in each of his last five starts, including a 94 two starts back, and should be able to handle the added distance. #1 Big Venezuela (5/1) looks fast enough to outrun the rest of them early on and should at least hang around for a share of the exotics. #5 Excellerator (3/1) crossed the wire first in his last start, the Tesio Stakes, was disqualified and placed second. This’ll be his first race in almost a year. He showed lots of promise as a 3-year-old last year but may need a race first off the bench.

RACE 8: MAIDEN CLAIMING $10,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS

4-6-3-7

#4 Kobe’s Girl (9/2) stopped badly after a wide trip last out, but now cuts back from seven furlongs and has been competitive at this level as of late. #6 Market of Stocks (7/5) drops to this level for the first time for Brittany Russell, and looks for an improved effort after fading late in her last few starts. #3 Heidi T (5/1) showed a new dimension last out, when she showed speed and held well until the last eighth. She’ll try to build on that race.

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