LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: JUNE 19, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:40 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $6,800 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $16,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
Lots of great racing action on this Father’s Day at Laurel Park. Ten races, including three stakes races, with lots of decent-sized fields. There’s not much recent grass experience in this race. #6 Afandi (9/2) is one of the rare exceptions. She returned off a long layoff to win on the lawn at Delaware Park last out, and also won on the lawn at Penn National last July before going on the sidelines. That gives her an edge over most of these. #4 Ma De Taw (5/1) got a race under her belt last out at Presque Isle Downs, finishing third after a wide move stalled out. She held her own against slightly better last year at Penn National and will show early speed. #2 Bath and Tennis (6/1) gets back to the grass after a few starts were rained out. She has decent closing speed and will rally for a piece.
RACE 2: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 5 FURLONGS
#4 O Shaughesey (2/1) ships down from Belmont Park for Rudy Rodriguez for her first start. Her recent workouts have been impressive, most recently going four furlongs in 48 2/5 seconds on June 13. #5 Cocktail Dreaming (5/2) has hit the board in her first two races, going off at 3/1 or less both times. She got off to awkward starts both times and hopes for a clean break here. #7 Meat Sweats (8/1) has also been working well for her debut for John Salzman and should go off at a good price.
- Jock Sheldon Russell wins first start in nine monthsHeldish, trained by Brittany Russell, won at first asking to give jockey (and her husband) Sheldon Russell a victory in his first ride in over nine months.
RACE 3: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE (GRASS)
#1 Evangeline Allons (8/5) drops from the starter optional claiming level off two sharp performances at that level. She’s run brisnet figures of 75 and 76 in her two grass starts this year, hanging in there and getting fifth in her last start. Should find these waters easier. #11 Zola B (5/1) made a sharp closing rally to break her maiden five weeks ago. She’s stretching out around two turns and looks to build off her last-out victory. #4 She’srunninghappy (12/1) showed speed and faded in her grass debut last out but will have a better chance if allowed to set a more moderate pace.
RACE 4: STARTER ALLOWANCE $5,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
#2 It’s Game Time (2/1) has won his last two starts at this level, including a game effort in his last start to get up over Titan’s Will, a three-time winner this year. This one will stalk and pounce. #6 Bahama Channel (6/1) also crossed the wire first against these three races back, but was disqualified. Interestingly, the 78 he earned in that race was his lowest figure within his last eight starts. He just missed after a wide trip at Pimlico last out. #5 Krachenwagen (4/1) couldn’t make it to the early lead in his last start and backed up badly. He’s at his best when he gets to set the early pace. Without any pure speed horses drawn to his inside, he should make it.
RACE 5: FIND STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, MD-BRED, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
The first stakes race of the day is named after the star Maryland-bred gelding of the 1950s. Many of these have not raced since last year’s Maryland Million Turf. One who has is #6 Johng (8/1), who finished second by a nose to Somekindofmagician in that race, then came back and finished seventh in his first start of the year on Black-Eyed Susan day. He ran a respectable figure of 88 in that race, not far off from where he had been running last year. He has great closing speed and should put in a great late kick at a decent price. #11 B Determined (8/1) exits the same race, where he rallied late for third with a career-best figure of 91. He’s won three of his six starts on this grass course. #3 Somekindofmagician (9/2) won this race last year, when it was held at Pimlico. As noted above, he won the Maryland Million Turf last year, making a dramatic rally between horses for the victory. He may well be the most talented horse in the group, but he hasn’t raced since that big win, and Gary Contessa isn’t great with horses first off the bench. Will wait and see.
RACE 6: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, MD-BRED, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#5 Super Love (2/1) was scheduled to stretch out last week, but was scratched. He’ll stay sprinting in this spot, something he’s proven to be very good at over his first two career starts. He went gate-to-wire on debut against a heavily bet Brittany Russell firster, who came back to win his next start. Next out, this one prompted the pace and drew off to win with an impressive figure of 89. He’s getting his biggest class test so far, with this being his first start against older horses. However, he’s going to be very tough if he keeps moving forward. His biggest test on the lead will come from #1 Jeobologist (5/2), the more recently raced half of the Jamie Ness entry. He was pressed on the pace at Parx last out, but held sway and drew off for an impressive win. He ran well over this track earlier in the year. #4 Goldenize (7/2) stopped badly in the Sir Barton Stakes last out, but cuts back to a sprint, which will do him a lot of good. He’s run figures in the 90s twice this year and will take advantage if the leaders tire.
- 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: STORMY BLUES STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
The lone stakes for non-Marylanders today is named after the 1994 Selima Stakes winner. Some shippers from high-profile barns are likely to command most of the wagering action, including #8 Artos (9/2) for Rusty Arnold. She had a bad break in her first start of her 3-year-old season and showed little, but improved sharply in the Manzelle Stakes at Churchill Downs last out. She rated off the pace and battled to finish third, with a career-best figure of 85.She adds lasix for the first time here. #4 Derrynane (8/5) was the favorite in the Soaring Softly Stakes at Belmont Park last out, but ended up fifth. She won the Woodbine Cares Stakes last year and was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. She also gets first-time lasix for Christophe Clement and has been working well. It wouldn’t surprise me if she went off as the odds-on favorite. #9 Fly Me Home (10/1) has been trying to get on the grass for a while, but she keeps getting washed off. Nonetheless, she’s raced on dirt three times, and has improved with every start while showing blazing speed. She looks well-meant for this surface and is intriguing at a decent price.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W3X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
What a field! Lots of great allowance sprinters will do battle here. Jamie Ness has once again entered a pair. #1A Mojovation (9/2) won a n/w2x allowance race on this track in late January, and has run at least a 97 in his last three sprint races. He didn’t do much going a mile last out, but now he cuts back to his preferred type of race, and that bad line might obscure his form somewhat. #6 Eastern Bay (9/2) sat the trip and beat a stakes-quality allowance field last out. This hard-knocking veteran has won three of his last four with similar stalking trips each time, and will be heard from in the stretch run. #4 Alwaysinahurry (6/1) just missed in a thrilling photo finish at Delaware Park last out, an impressive effort in his first start off a long break. He showed a lot of promise in winning the Concern Stakes last year, but he’s had trouble staying healthy. He could be very good if he can put it all together.
RACE 9: ALL BRANDY STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
The final stakes race of the day is named after the star Maryland-bred filly of the early 1960s. #4 Can the Queen (4/1) will get her distance test here. She went gate-to-wire to win The Very One Stakes on Black-Eyed Susan day, and is a three-time winner on this track. However, her best work has been in sprints, and this is a route. She’s going to have to carry her speed further than she’s used to, but she has the back-class to pull it off. #9 Coconut Cake (6/1) closed well for third in the Dahlia Stakes around two turns two races back. She’s looked to be on the verge of a breakthrough for a while now, and has a chance to put it all together here. #6 Dendrobia (12/1) has good closing speed and consistently runs in the mid-80s. She competed in this race last year and was well-beaten, but now gets to race over a firm track and is worth a look at a price.
RACE 10: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
#6 Fully Connected (4/1) is coming off two straight wins at Charles Town, including an impressive gate-to-wire win against first-level allowance company. Anthony Farrior and Arnaldo Bocachica are always a tough combo. #5 Boss Man J J (7/2) has improved his figure in his last three starts and will be a factor on the early pace. He won at this level two starts back and just missed last out. #7 Pelota (4/1) has won two in a row for the Jamie Ness/Jamie Rodriguez combo and makes his third start off the layoff.