LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: JUNE 3, 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: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 4 1/2 FURLONGS
Welcome back to Laurel Park! #1 Pompous Prince (5/2) is one of two horses in the race with experience. He flashed blazing speed on debut and opened up a big early lead, only to flatten out late and finish third. He nonetheless ran an impressive brisnet figure of 78, and will be tough to beat if he can manage his speed a bit better. #5 Smart and Fast (3/1) has a recent bullet workout for Claudio Gonzalez in anticipation for his debut. Jeiron Barbosa was tough to beat during the Laurel spring meet but wasn’t quite as sharp at Pimlico, with a 14% win rate. We’ll see if returning here wakes him up a bit. #6 California Ghost (6/1) was well-bet on debut at Parx but got bumped around at the start and lost all chance. With a clean break, he’ll be in much better shape. That line might also distract bettors a little bit.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $16,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
2-5-9-1 (DIRT: 8-6-7-1)
#2 So Gracious (4/1) has been dismal in two starts since getting claimed by Jamie Ness, but both of those races were on dirt. She showed promise on grass last year, consistently running figures in the upper-70s/low-80s, but hasn’t raced on that surface since last October. Returning to the grass should help the cause. #5 Fast Lani (5/2) has tons of early speed. She’s taking a big drop in class from the n/w2x allowance level. The last time she faced a field this easy on grass, she went gate-to-wire at Pimlico. #9 Oil On Canvas (6/1) makes her first start since last fall and showed a decent late kick on grass last year. Jevian Toledo, coming off winning a riding title at Pimlico, gets the mount for the first time.
- Jockey Sheldon Russell “really close” to return to racesJockey Sheldon Russell, out with injuries for the last nine months, is “really close” to returning to the races, his agent said.
RACE 3: CLAIMING $5,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#4 Some is Nine (3/1) broke her maiden in gate-to-wire fashion two starts back, finally earning a spot in the winner’s circle in her 11th career try. She battled gamely on the lead in her first start against winners and held on to secure third. She’s in career-best form and will be tough to catch on the lead. #6 Watch Your Tone (2/1) has had trouble handling the turns in her last few starts, but she did break her maiden impressively last out and will assuredly show early speed. #2 Salty Saul (10/1) drops to this level for the first time after two flat races against 3-year-old claimers. She’ll press the pace and can hang around for a piece at a price.
RACE 4: MAIDEN CLAIMING $10,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#5 Big Daddy D R (9/5) has encountered traffic in each of his three career starts against better, but has held his own each time, never running a figure lower than a 62. He shouldn’t have much trouble with these as long as he gets a clean trip. #7 Brother Conway (6/1) ran a decent figure of 63 in his first career start against $16,000 horses, showing brief speed but dropping out of it after getting bumped. Looks like the value play of the field. #3 Forever the Boss (6/1) improved seven points in his second start and will almost certainly be on the early lead.
RACE 5: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
4-8-11-12 (DIRT: 11-3-1-7)
#4 Prayer Hope (5/2) competed in steeplechase races for most of last year, but returned to the flats for his first start of the year last out. He ran on well in the stretch and won a photo for second, with a figure of 75. He’ll show early speed and should improve second off the layoff. #8 Lightning Rod (7/2) exits the same race as Prayer Hope, and lost a photo for second to him. He ran some great late pace figures over the winter at Gulfstream Park and should close well again here. #11 Nautilus (4/1) goes first off the claim for Jamie Ness, races second off the layoff, and will be forwardly placed.
RACE 6: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#3 Noble Bid (1/1) battled gamely with Moody Woman in her last start, but faded late and finished second with a career-best mark of 84. She’s lightly-raced, coming in here with just two starts, and faces a soft field. #5 Tweet Away Robin (9/2), in contrast, faced a much better first-level allowance field last out, a race won by runaway winner Another Woman. This one got out in the stretch and faded badly, but ran in the 80s consistently prior to that performance. Should improve here. #7 R Averie Lynn (7/2) has one of the most severe cases of seconditis we’ve ever seen, having finished as the runner-up in six consecutive races. She’ll show speed again from the outside post; we’ll see if she can hang on.
- BackTracks: Challedon, dominant in Maryland & beyondIn today’s BackTracks, Maryland-bred Challedon became the first two-time horse of the year after dominating 1939 and 1940.
RACE 7: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $16,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
1-3-8-6 (DIRT: 10-4-7-8)
#1 Mohkeef (5/2) won going away at this level two races back. He was a well-beaten fourth at Great Meadow last out, but had some excuses that day. It was against a better field than he’s used to, and it was on a track that was officially labeled “soft”, but in reality was actually an unholy swamp. In spite of that, he still ran a solid figure of 88. Racing on a grass course that will be much, much firmer will help his cause. #3 Torres del Paine (4/1) has lots of early speed in a largely paceless contest and should be able to coast on the front end. #8 Brevard Place (10/1) handily won a steeplechase race at Malvern last out. He was more forwardly placed in two jump starts this year than he was in flat races last year. If he can keep up his early speed here, that will play to his favor.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#2 Wicked Hot (8/5) was very impressive in winning two straight races at Pimlico last spring, but hasn’t raced since mid-June of last year. If she bounces back first off the layoff she’s going to be tough. #6 Senson (6/1) finally broke her maiden in her tenth career start after a series of near-misses. She’s going to be on the early lead. #4 Away to Return (3/1) came from off the pace last out, in a change of pace from her prior starts, and rallied for third. She’s run at least an 80 in five of her last six starts.
RACE 9: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
7-9-1-4 (DIRT: 6-10-7-8)
#7 Winter Princess (5/2) closed stoutly to win her last grass start going away at Gulfstream Park. She was flat on the Tapeta last out but getting back to grass will help. #9 Beckon (5/1) makes her first start of the year here, and just missed in a game effort against better to cap her 2021 season last out. She’ll likely set the early pace. #1 In a Spin (4/1) got up to win at this level last out in just her fourth career start, and has improved with every grass race.