LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: APR. 21, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:40 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $3,678 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $16,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/16 MILES
Only eight races today, but plenty of fun races in the mix. #8 Lightning Lad (5/1) improved sharply second time out last out, with a strong rally from way out of it to get fourth. Should improve with more distance. #7 Biscotto d’Oro (5/2) races first off the claim by Claudio Gonzalez and has run his best brisnet figures at today’s distance. He’ll try to work out a trip stalking the pace on the outside. #4 Phra Phrom (5/1) almost wired a similar field last out and should not have trouble getting to the early lead once again.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $40,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#6 Lantau (5/2) has won three of his last five and looks fast enough to control the early pace. #5 Kenner (2/1) drops in class and goes second off the layoff for Jamie Ness. He’s run figures as high as 85 in his recent races but is prone to throwing in clunkers. Will press the pace and try to wear down Lantau. #7 Free Square (7/2) has hit the board in his last two starts at this level, with rapidly improving figures. He also figures to be a part of the early pace, but runs the risk of getting hung wide.
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RACE 3: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 1/2 FURLONGS
#2 Point Driven (5/2) drops from the open $12,500 level and has the best late pace figures in the race. He’s closed sharply to hit the board in his last four races; we’ll see if his punch is enough to overhaul weaker foes. #3 Amen Corner (9/2) finished a solid second at this level two races back, but was flat against starter allowance foes in his last start. Should find these more to his liking. #4 Spotted Bull (5/1) sat the trip last out going a mile but showed little. He closed well against better two starts back at big odds.
RACE 4: MAIDEN CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 7 FURLONGS
#5 Shinelikeadiamond (5/2) improved sharply second time out, showing speed for the first time and fighting gamely in the stretch. Will likely prove a tough customer on the lead again. #4 Miss Corey (3/1) was well-bet against straight maidens last out, but faded after a wide trip. Drops in class for her second start for Brittany Russell and looks to work out a better journey. #9 Looking for Water (8/1) closed well in the last eighth in her first start and gets hot-riding Jeiron Barbosa for the first time.
RACE 5: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
It’s another race where it comes down to which half of the Jamie Ness coupled entry you prefer. Here, I’ll side with #1 Brilliant Chase (2/1), who has consistently run in the 90s recently and got up to beat a similar field at Parx last out. Should be right at home against this bunch. #2 Spitball (6/1) isn’t too big on winning but has a steady, grinding style that has earned him plenty of checks lately. Could round out the exacta or the trifecta at a decent number. #3 Nashvegas (5/1), usually a speedster, broke awkwardly last time and lost all chance from there. That line might deter some of his backers, but he proves tough to catch if he can be on or near the pace.
RACE 6: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
#8 Justinthenickoftime (5/2) has been close in his last few starts at this level. He found himself four-wide in a five-horse race last time and ended up second. He has good tactical speed and should give himself every chance. #1 What Does It Take (2/1) impressively won his first start off the claim by Kieron Magee. He’s been sharp at seven furlongs lately but now gets a class test around two turns. #5 Ink (6/1) has made decent ground in his last few and looks to move forward off his last start, when he was third after making what looked like a promising move.
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RACE 7: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W3X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/8 MILES
#5 Gentleman Joe (10/1) ran triple digit figures in back-to-back starts to begin his 2022 season, but tailed off a bit in the Harrison Johnson Stakes last out. He has lots of early speed and could wire them at a big number. #3 Galerio (2/1) won the John Campbell Stakes in an exciting finish two starts back. The horse he nosed out, Forewarned, came back to win the Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct next out. This one was dull next out and looks for a rebound. If he wins this, the Pimlico Special will likely be considered. #6 Money Ride (3/1) has been tough against these types at the meet and could get to the lead if Gentleman Joe doesn’t.
RACE 8: MAIDEN CLAIMING $10,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE
Sara Hess is looking for her first career riding win, and she almost got it last out when #5 Tasfeeq (3/1) opened up a long early lead and held on for second. She might try to run away and hide from this field again. #8 Tiktoknaway (8/1) ran a career-best dirt mark of 61 last out when she chased for second. She showed some willingness in the stretch, a marked improvement from her prior races. #4 Hudson Canyon (7/2) was bet on debut against New York-bred maidens at Aqueduct, but stopped badly after showing brief speed. She’s had some time off since then and has worked well for new trainer Claudio Gonzalez.