LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: May 5, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:40 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $1,154 Super High 5 — $2,340 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: CLAIMING $16,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 7 FURLONGS
We’ve reached the final week of the Laurel Park spring meet. After this week, we’ll head to Pimlico for the Preakness stand. But in the meantime…#6 Cabra Chica (5/2) crushed the field at this level when left alone on the lead last out. In her last start against a bit better, she dueled on the outside and hung in there till late, flattening out in the end to get fourth. Her only serious threat on the lead comes from her direct inside, in the form of #5 Chica Rabiosa (2/1). That rival has crossed the wire first two times in a row, both times rating just off the pace and pouncing to the front. She used to be a confirmed frontrunner, but since Jean Alvelo started riding her, he’s been using her a bit more conservatively. We’ll see which strategy he decides to employ. #1 Jacrodra’s Devil (9/2) races for the Rob Atras barn for the first time and cuts back to a sprint for the first time in a while. She should get a great trip just off the pace on the rail.
RACE 2: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
4-5-2-1 (DIRT: 2-3-7-8)
#4 Color Crush (4/1) won at this level four races back, coming from off the pace with a four-wide sweep. She ran brisnet figures in the 80s steadily last year. This will be her first start since November 20. Jean Alvelo has the mount for the first time. #5 Mosalah (9/2) is also coming off a long layoff, with this being her first race since July 16. She should be forwardly placed in a race without much early speed on paper. #2 Funwhileitlasted (9/5) consistently ran figures in the upper 70s and low 80s towards the end of last year. In her first start of the year, she crushed an off-the-grass field by 9 1/4 lengths, suggesting that she’s in top shape and will be even sharper second time off the bench. She’ll be a serious threat regardless of surface.
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RACE 3: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 7 FURLONGS
#4 Sugar Gray Leonard (5/2) was odds-on against a soft maiden field second time out, but didn’t make much headway in the stretch and was second behind a sharp gate-to-wire first-timer. He still improved five points from his debut to an 82. If you liked him last time you should like him now, and he’ll be a much better price. #1 Law of the Jungle (8/1) has broken awkwardly in both his career races. On debut, he lingered towards the back of the pack, but last time, he showed speed and held on to fourth, improving his figure to a 78. Would’ve liked to have seen a gate work since then, but he has a chance if he breaks cleanly. #7 Heaven’s Got Fire (3/1) consistently runs in the 80s but has established himself as a chronic maiden as of late, Usually, he opens up a long early lead and gets caught in the last eighth or so. I won’t get fooled again.
RACE 4: STARTER ALLOWANCE $5,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES,
All three of my top picks in this race have lots of early speed. #4 It’s Game Time (3/1) has been in front at first call in some of his recent races, but usually he stalks the pace and pounces. That’s what he did last time, handily beating a similar field going a mile with a figure of 92. #2 Krackenwagen (8/5) has the advantage of a good draw and a very sharp last race, where he wired the field and drew off by the length of the stretch. He ran a 95 in that race, which is a significant outlier from the rest of his figures, and he’s prone to turning in a clunker every few races. What’s more, that last race will drive down his odds, as indicated by that low morning line. He has a shot, but I don’t know if he’s worth a win bet at his likely odds. #7 Titan’s Will (4/1) won twice in a row at this level earlier in the year, including a victory where he won by two lengths despite getting hung wide on both turns. That’s likely to be what happens here. He finished second to It’s Game Time last out after getting caught up in a fast pace; will hope for a slower tempo here.
RACE 5: MAIDEN CLAIMING $40,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
6-13-12-8 (DIRT: 9-6-14-13)
#6 Senson (7/5) also loves showing speed and stopping, but at least there’s no one who can run with her early, as far as we know, and she’s facing a field without much proven grass experience. Looks like a now-or-never spot for her. #13 Twelveo’clockrock (5/2) hasn’t run worse than a 65 in three grass appearances lifetime, and even got to race on the surface earlier in the year at Tampa Bay Downs. She led and faded going two turns, but has run her best grass races as a closer. #12 Flimsy (3/1) is one of two firsters in here for Graham Motion. The other one is entered as a main-track-only, so I imagine Motion thinks of this one as a grass horse more so than the other one. He’s not great with first-time starters, but she’s shown some promise at Fair Hill and doesn’t need to be a world-beater to defeat this bunch.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $10,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
#3 Pepe and Heywood (7/2) made his first start this level last out, and made mild ground to get third. He crushed a n/w2L field impressively two races back. He’s settled into a steady rhythm in his last few races and will be on or near the pace. #8 The Cairo Kid (5/2) set the pace last out and outran Pepe and Heywood the whole way, but got chased down in the last eighth and could only hold second. It was still a sharp effort second off the layoff, and it looks as if he’s rounding back into the form that saw him run in the 80s consistently in the fall of 2020. #4 Rapid Response (9/2) drops from the starter optional claiming level and will try to close for a piece.
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RACE 7: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
What a fun race! #9 Uncle Buddy (9/2) shipped from his Penn National base and won at this level in sharp gate-to-wire style last out, with a career-top figure of 91. The runner-up in that race, Goldenize, won at this level next out. Uncle Buddy will have to deal with speed from his inside, but he overcame a wide trip to win last out and should be able to do it again. One of the speed horses he has to deal with is #4 Super Love (5/1), who broke his maiden in gate-to-wire style on debut with a figure of 85. He tired a little bit late, but he should show a little more second time out. Will be interesting to see how he handles pace pressure. #10 Alottahope (7/2) looked like a possible stakes horse early in the year, before going to the sidelines after a dull fourth-place performance in the Spectacular Bid Stakes in late January. This is his first start since then. He has good tactical speed and has been working strongly for his return. Could set himself up for a nice year with a good performance in this spot.
RACE 8: STARTER ALLOWANCE $5,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES
This is essentially a three-horse race, featuring a trio of mares who have excelled in this condition all year long. #4 Breviary (2/1) won the aforementioned March 26 race by five lengths after stalking the pace. She’s run at least an 85 in her last two starts and consistently runs great late pace figures. She’ll be right there if Sammie Sunshine tires. #5 Acadian Girl (8/5) couldn’t clear from Sammie Sunshine to the lead two races back, She tired that rival out, but couldn’t withstand Breviary’s challenge. She’ll try to clear again and set the pace on her own terms. #2 Sammie Sunshine (3/1) won twice at this level in front-running efforts before tiring after facing pace pressure last out. She’s had a few weeks off since that March 26 race, and once again looks like the main speed in a similar field. You’ll get the right price on her if you still believe.
RACE 9: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
6-8-5-1 (DIRT: 6-8-1-5)
#6 Brion (7/5) sharply improved over the winter at Fair Grounds, peaking at an 84 in his most recent try. He’s been a speed-and-fade type, but shouldn’t have trouble holding these off if he stays sharp. Mike Stidham has had grass in mind with him for a while; his last two races were washed away to dirt. #8 Pickin Sea Glass (8/1) is the only one in the field with experience on the lawn, having finished a troubled third on debut last fall. This’ll be his first start on any surface since December. He has potential at a price. #5 Declaration Time (9/2) goes first-time out for Kathleen Demasi and has been working well at Parx. Watch the board.