LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: APR. 23, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:40 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $6,035 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, 7 FURLONGS
We’ve got a great card on tap today: ten races, including five stakes races. #6 Let Us Make Gold (7/2) finished a strong-closing third at Charles Town last out and now returns to the big track. He consistently runs brisnet figures in the 70s, which should be good enough to get the job done here. #7 Camp Pendleton (8/5) cleared his n/w2L condition easily last out and looks to improve off his career-best figure of 79. #1 Hands Down (10/1) is like a mixture of the previous two mentioned: he’s coming from Charles Town and passed his n/w2L condition last out. As the odds-on favorite, he set the pace and held on despite consistent pressure. Marshall Mendez, who has been riding very well at Charles Town, is named on this horse, and no one else on the card. Intriguing.
RACE 2: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE
#1 Rebel Faith (7/2) faded after showing brief speed in his debut, but rebounded after dropping back to third. He’s had a sharp workout at Fair Hill since that race and should improve second time out for Graham Motion. #3 Writeitontheice (5/2) has been slowly improving at this level in New York and now ships down here for Rudy Rodriguez. He showed more early speed than usual last out; always a positive sign. #4 Happyize (10/1) made good ground in the stretch last out and races first off the claim by Steve Klesaris.
- 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: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
In races like this, anyone who’s raced on grass at some point this year has an advantage. #6 Tops the Chart (6/1) ran an 80 and a 79 in his two starts at Gulfstream Park over the winter, with some decent closing rallies against better allowance foes. He’s worked consistently at Colts Neck Farm for Jorge Duarte since coming back here and should be primed for a big effort. #12 After Five (5/2) makes his 2022 debut for Wesley Ward, who has been having a great meet at Keeneland. This one ran in the 80s pretty consistently last year, He struggled after a wide trip in his 2021 finale, and is susceptible to another overland journey here. #2 Holiday House (6/1) broke his maiden on grass towards the end of last year at Fair Grounds and recently returned to the worktab with some sharp drills. Could fall through the cracks in the betting.
RACE 4: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
I’ll take a shot against #3 Tate (1/1), who has great figures, but has looked like a standout in other spots like this one and has burned a lot of money. #6 B B Bad (7/2) ships from Parx for the dangerous Jamie Ness/Ruben Silvera combo. He’s improved with every race and made a strong rally and just missed in his last start. He should enjoy the long stretch run. #1 Contented Now (9/2) broke his maiden impressively last out and should be able to control the pace from the inside. This’ll also be his third start off a long layoff.
RACE 5: MAIDEN CLAIMING $25,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#2 Howard’s Rock (7/5) got tangled up in a speed duel last out and stopped badly. He now faces an easier $25,000 bunch third time out and shouldn’t have as difficult a time on the lead. #6 Chauffeur (5/2) has an unsightly 0-for-22 record, but has run some big races lately and can at least close for a piece. #1A Bowie Two Step (6/1) is the experienced half of the Kenny Cox entry, having shown speed and faded in his last few. He consistently runs in the 60s and may try to press the pace.
RACE 6: KING LEATHERBURY STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
The first of five stakes races on today’s card is named after the legendary mid-Atlantic based trainer. Only three of the ten horses have raced in the past 100 days, and the only one to race on the lawn this year, Rad Paisley, is up against it to say the least. I’ll take a horse with good grass form and at least one start this year. #9 Battle Station (4/1) was second in two major mid-Atlantic grass sprint stakes last year, and ran a game race in the Say Florida Sandy Stakes at Aqueduct on January 8. He hasn’t raced since then, but it’s at least more current form than most of his rivals. He could use this race as a springboard to a big year, which may include the Jim McKay Turf Sprint on Preakness weekend. #2 Grateful Bred (5/2) capped off his year with an impressive victory in the Maryland Million Turf Sprint on this track. However, he hasn’t raced since then. Last year, he won his first race off a long break, but earned a figure of 86, a few steps down from his usual performance. That kind of race might not be good enough to win this one. Treading lightly. #4 Fair Catch (8/1) is also coming off a long layoff but improved dramatically in the final two starts of his 2021 campaign. Should press Grateful Bred from the outside.
- BackTracks: Star de Naskra “really something”In a new BackTracks: Maryland-bred Star de Naskra gave owner-breeder Jiggs Lancaster his first stakes winner in a long career — and then a whole lot more.
RACE 7: PRIMONETTA STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
This race is named after the 1962 champion older mare. We’ll get to see #6 Street Lute (3/1) make her 2022 debut, after a campaign last year that saw her earn four stakes wins. She’ll have plenty of competition in here, including her stablemate #4 Princess Kokachin (9/5), who finally gets back in stakes competition after some impressive allowance wins. She loves to set the pace and take them as fast as she can for as far as she can. Her main competition will come from #7 Kaylasaurus (2/1), who outfinished her in the Willa On the Move Stakes and the What a Summer Stakes. However, Princess Kokachin got her revenge last out when she held Kaylasaurus at bay in an allowance race. We’ll see if Kaylasaurus can get by here. Interesting that she was entered here, rather than in the Unique Bella Stakes against fellow Pennsylvania-breds on Monday.
RACE 8: DAHLIA STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE (GRASS)
Dahila was a champion mare on grass in multiple countries in the early 1970s. She defeated the boys to win the Washington DC International at Laurel in 1973. #6 In a Hurry (2/1) was last seen in the Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf, where she was an uninspiring ninth after briefly pressing the pace. She ran in the 90s in four consecutive races prior to that effort, and looks primed for a big race first off the bench for Shug McGaughey. #10 Deciding Vote (5/1) closed off a very slow pace to win on this track in her last start, back on October 17. She has good closing speed but might need a race first off the bench. #3 Out of Sorts (6/1) had a nice streak of races last spring, including a win in the Christiana Stakes, but was not a serious threat all winter long at Fair Grounds. Perhaps coming back home will help the cause.
RACE 9: NATIVE DANCER STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/8 MILES
Native Dancer needs no introduction. #2 Forewarned (2/1) has pulled off three stakes wins in the last few months, including a gutsy win in the Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct last out He has good tactical speed and a lot of heart. #5 Bird King (3/1) handily won the Washington Crossing Stakes at Parx in his last start, with a career-best brisnet figure of 99. He had run competitive figures in his prior races, but never looked like a serious win threat. We’ll see if he can keep it up here. #4 Workin On a Dream (7/2) has showed speed and flattened out in his last few races, but looks like the main speed in this one. He has it in him to take them all the way around.
RACE 10: HENRY S. CLARK STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE (GRASS)
The final stakes on today’s card is named for the longtime mid-Atlantic-based trainer. All eyes will be on #6 Field Pass (1/1), the Maryland-based multiple graded stakes winner. He capped his 2021 season with a win in the Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar, then was beaten less than four lengths in the Pegasus Turf Cup. He’s looking for a reset with this race, and shouldn’t have much trouble with this group as long as he’s 100%. #7 Chez Pierre (2/1) made his American debut a winning one last out at Tampa Bay Downs, He defeated Dream Chorus in that race, who came back to win the Grey Goose Turf Classic Stakes next out. He’s lightly-raced with lots of upside. #1 Mandate (8/1) returns to the Rob Johnston barn and looks for a rebound after struggling earlier in the year. He won the Artie Schiller Stakes in a 44/1 upset last fall.