LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: JULY 23, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 1:50 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $9,031 Super High 5 — $6,623 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
Ten races are on the slate for today’s card. Note the later post time than usual. #8 Ghostly Night (3-1) drops to a career-low level off an effort at Charles Town, where she showed speed for the first time and backed up. In her lone grass race, which came two starts back, she was forced to check in the stretch but nonetheless rallied on for fourth, with a solid brisnet figure of 67. #7 Made My Wish (5-2) chased the pace at this level last out and held on for third. There’s not much other speed in the race, so she has the potential to take the early lead and keep on going. #6 Gift of Gab (6-1) has raced just one time, a visually unimpressive race where she nonetheless ran a 67. She’ll look to show a little more punch from the back of the pack.
RACE 2: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $20,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#1 Stroll Smokin (7-5) will make his first start since May 8 here, and just his second start in the past 4 1/2 months. He beat tougher fields in each of his last two races and should be able to protect inside position on the lead. He’ll likely encounter some challenges on the lead from #6 Free Dancer (3-1) who has won his last three starts in gate-to-wire style and might’ve been the morning line favorite if he was drawn to the inside of Stroll Smokin. If those two burn themselves out, look for #2 Yes Sir Robert (5-2) to pick up the pieces. He’s going first off the claim for Anthony Farrior, and although he went gate-to-wire at Churchill Downs last out, he’s far from a need-the-lead type. Generally, he sit right off the pace and pounces on the leaders. Arnaldo Bocachica might be well-advised to be patient with him.
- Howgreatisnate cruises in Future StarsHowgreatisnate took his show on the road for the first time to win the Future Stars at Parx Racing and run his record to 4-for-4.
RACE 3: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#1 Devious (9-5) makes her first local start for Claudio Gonzalez. She showed speed and faded going two turns at Indianapolis last out, but looked better suited for one turn. #5 Little Miss Minion (3-1) is also cutting back to a sprint. She made what looked like a promising move going two turns in her last start, but flattened out in the stretch and held on for fourth. She matched her career-best figure in that race, with a 63. #7 Music Queen (9-2) has run respectable figures in her two grass starts this year and adds blinkers.
RACE 4: MAIDEN CLAIMING $30,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
Jerry Robb dropped a pair in this race. I’ll try #1 Don’t Tell Deren (3-1), considering Robb’s top jockey, Xavier Perez, opted to ride her, and she has slightly better recent works than her stablemate, Grass Cutter. I’m interested to see how the betting action goes. #4 Miss Fussy Pants (3-1) is one of two in this race with experience. She was well-backed in her July 2 debut, but got into some traffic trouble and ended up losing a photo for third. Should improve here. #3 Cami Rachelle (4-1) turned in a sharp bullet drill on Sunday and has a very sharp overall worktab.
RACE 5: CLAIMING $10,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
#4 Drive by Layover (8-5) won two straight at Charles Town earlier in the year and has run a 79 in three of his last four races. He’s dropping to a career-low level. #7 Five Star Phil (6-1) had an excuse in his last start, as he was squeezed at the start and lost his usual forward early position. He also ran a mediocre figure two races prior, but that was going a mile, and he got caught in an early pace tussle. He outfinished his dueling partner by almost three lengths. #3 Captain Cardo (7-2) cruised to a n/w2L win two races back, but was flat against better horses going two turns last out. Should benefit from a class drop and a reduction in distance.
RACE 6: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
#2 Pensively (3-1) switched to grass for the first time at Colonial Downs, and held on for third after chasing a loose leader. It was a much-improved performance, running a 69 after two figures in the low-50s on dirt. #8 Like n’ Eagle (5-2) is the closest thing to a pace-setter this field has. She showed speed three races back and backed up, but ran better figures in her two most recent races where she came from off the pace. She rallied well in those two races and looks like a threat no matter where she comes from. #6 Blame the Irish (9-2) has run consistently decent figures and drops to this level for the first time.
- High flyer: Tuskegee Airmen’s meaningful connectionWhen owner Chuck Zacney began looking for a name for his Street Sense colt, he remembered a late friend who had been one of the WWII era Tuskegee Airmen.
RACE 7: STARTER ALLOWANCE $5,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 7 FURLONGS
A rather small but competitive field lines up here. #3 Betcha by Golly (5-2) improved sharply to a season’s-best figure of 85 last out, coming from off the pace to get second behind Acadian Girl, a four-time winner on the year. She has great closing speed and won’t have to face anyone here as tough as that rival. #1 Mi Cleopatra and I (6-1) ships from Charles Town and will be on or near the pace towards the inside. She was a back-to-back winner over this track a few months back and has been getting acclimated to the Farrior barn. #7 Breviary (2-1) benefited from a cutback around one turn to win going away last out, and enjoys racing over this track. She’s hit the board eleven times from sixteen starts over this surface.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#3 Royal Engagement (2-1) didn’t show any signs of rust in her first start of the year last out. Despite racing erratically, she made up ground in the lane and lost by just a head, narrowly missing her career-top figure with an 85. She looked promising last year on the Woodbine grass and will try to keep it up in the second start of her sophomore campaign. #5 Tritone Gal (8-1) exits the same race as Royal Engagement. She made her grass debut that day, and took an instant liking to the surface, rolling from way downtown to get third, beaten a length. She was 32-1 in that race, and while you won’t get that price again, she nonetheless looms as an interesting value proposition. #4 Fast Lani (3-1) has lived up to her name in her last few starts, setting blazing fast early paces. She won without a serious challenges against softer last out, and will try to run away and hide once again.
RACE 9: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
As noted earlier in the column, #2 Acadian Girl (9-5) has won four times this year from seven starts. She was impressive in victory in her last two races, and now cuts back to six furlongs while taking a slight jump in class. If she runs her usual upper-80s figures, she’s going to be tough to beat. #4 Noble Bid (2-1) set the pace and just missed against 3-year-olds last out, with a career-top figure of 86. In her prior start against her elders, she went off as the odds-on choice, but was forced to check severely and was well-beaten. We’ll see how she handles pace pressure from Acadian Girl. #3 Canoodle (3-1) has good tactical speed and will take advantage if the aforementioned two burn each other out on the lead.
RACE 10: CLAIMING $10,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
#6 Krug (2-1) got away with a very loose lead two races back, then tried to rate off the pace last out, and it didn’t work so well. He’s dropping from the starter optional claiming level here and is more likely to get the trip he wants. #4 Knowhowiknow (9-5) is in improving form, but it’s a fair question to ask how much of that improvement is due to him cutting back around one turn over his last few starts. He’s stretching back out here, so we’ll see. #7 Dr. Ferber (6-1) switches back to dirt after three straight grass tries and is carrying as many as eleven pounds fewer than some of his rivals. He consistently ran in the mid/upper-70s earlier in the year.