LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: JULY 30, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:40 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $14,528 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 7 FURLONGS
We’ll get a red, yellow, and black-themed party started with a field of youngsters. As usual, I’ll lean towards a contender with experience in here. #3 Spencerian (2-1) had a slow break in her debut and was well behind early, but kicked it into gear late and closed well to get fourth. She should improve second time out with a clean beginning. Most eyes will likely be on #5 My Forever Friend (7-5), a Maryland-bred $110,000 purchase for Brittany Russell who has been working well since mid-May. She’s out of Quant, a half-sister to graded stakes winner New Normal and graded stakes-placed Distorted Economy. However, Russell has not had a great meet, and this one is sure to be overbet. I figure Spencerian is likely to provide better value. #1 Fivecommatwo (3-1) exits the same race as Spencerian. She got a bit of a jump on that rival on the turn and closed well to get third.
RACE 2: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $30,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
6-4-3-1 (DIRT: 7-6-5-8)
#6 Pie Killer (2-1) is a perfect 2-for-2 at the Laurel summer meet, including a sharp win against first-level allowance company last out. She improved ten points in that race to an 86, a career-high figure. Look for her to sit the trip just off the pace and kick away. #4 I Love You (9-2) capped off her 2021 season with a going-away victory in a first-level race in September. Last out, she made her first start of this season, in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint, and chased the leaders home to get fourth. It looks as if that race was designed to be a prep for a spot like this one, as her best races have come around two turns. She has lots of room to improve here. #3 My Candy Girl (8-1) showed some signs of promise last year, including a win at this level last October, and should also improve in her third start off the layoff for Brittany Russell. She’s a better value compared to her stablemate, Out of Sorts.
- 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: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS, 7 FURLONGS
A pair of Maryland-breds headline this six-horse field. #5 Blue Collar Boom (9-5) sat the trip just off the pace and crushed a maiden field on debut, running an impressive figure of 81. He’s getting a class test here, especially from #4 Goldenize (3-1), who ran figures in the 90s earlier in the year and was second in back-to-back starts against Maryland-bred allowance company last out. However, Blue Collar Boom’s debut can’t be ignored, and if he runs like he did in that race he’s going to be tough. #6 One Ten (6-1) closed well for third in his last start and cuts back around one turn for the first time since April. He’s quietly run figures that are competitive with these
RACE 4: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS (GRASS)
8-4-6-2 (DIRT: 7-4-1-2)
There’s seven horses in the main body of this race, but only three loom as serious contenders. #8 Catchthiswinner (3-1) improved dramatically when he switched to grass for the first time. He was badgered on the pace throughout at Colonial Downs, but hung in there and finished third. The two horses who were closest to him on the pace both lost by double-digit lengths. #4 Doctor Davis (9-5) races for the first time since October and gets first-time lasix for Arnaud Delacour. He was well-bet in two starts against maidens at Saratoga last summer, but faded after showing brief foot both times. He’s been working steadily since early June for his return. I’m intrigued by him. #6 Lunar Dash (8-5) has gone off as the favorite in three straight races, and has finished a close second every time. He’s not facing an easy field here, and is likely to attract money based on those superficially good lines. Still, he’s run a 77 twice this year, which is right around where he needs to be to win. If either of the top two falter a bit, Lunar Dash could be there to pick up the pieces.
RACE 5: MISS DISCO STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, MD-BRED/SIRED, 7 FURLONGS
Let’s get the stakes party started! The first of five paid-in events on today’s program is named for the Sagamore-owned mare who is best known as the mother of Bold Ruler and the grandmother of Secretariat. The top two locally-based horses in the race are exiting the same race on June 18. #4 Royal Whisper (3-1) improved sharply off her debut to run a game second despite a wide trip, with a figure of 92. However, #6 Petition Prayer (4-1), who was making her first start of the year, got a good trip from just off the pace and held off that rival, also running a career-top with a 93. Petition Prayer gets the edge in my book, as Royal Whisper is likely to be overbet due to her connections, Petition Prayer just beat her, and she should improve second off the bench. #7 Divine Huntress (7-5) is also going to attract a lot of attention, based on her connections and her class lines. She looked like a possible Kentucky Oaks contender earlier in the year for Graham Motion off back-to-back impressive wins at Parx, but then missed the board in her next three races in graded stakes company. She earned a grade 1 placing last out in the Acorn Stakes, but that was a four-horse field in which only the winner, Matareya, was highly decorated going in. She has a lot of upside but I can’t take a low price on her. I can’t discount her being simply too classy for these, however.
RACE 6: JAMEELA STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, MD-BRED/SIRED, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
7-3-2-5 (DIRT: 8-2-1-5)
A field of nine will do battle in this race named for the first Maryland-bred millionaire. #7 Can the Queen (5-2) was one of three Maryland-breds to win a stakes race on Preakness weekend, taking The Very One Stakes in gate-to-wire fashion. She tried to stretch out in the All Brandy Stakes next out, and led most of the way before getting caught by Why Not Tonight and finishing second. The cutback around one turn should fit this speedy mare well. #3 Spun Glass (3-1), by contrast, does her best running from off the pace. She came from out of it to win her most recent start over the track, followed by a fifth-place effort against a tough field in the Goldwood Stakes at Monmouth Park. She doesn’t always fire, but when she does, she’s hard to hold off. #2 Mattitude (5-1) hasn’t run worse than an 87 in her first two starts on grass and battled gamely in the stretch last out before fading.
- 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: STAR DE NASKRA STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS, MD-BRED/MD-SIRED, 7 FURLONGS
Another fun field lines up for this one, named after the winner of the 1979 Whitney. #5 Uncle Irish (7-2) has found his best self in his last three dirt starts, running at least a 92 in all of them while winning his last two races by a combined 11 1/2 lengths. He showed speed and faded on grass at Delaware Park last out, but now gets back toone turn on dirt. While he might prefer longer distances, he’s won around one turn at Laurel before. #2 Super Love (2-1) has been flawless so far, with three wins from three starts, all over this track and all by open lengths. He’s shown he can while while on the pace or just off it. Looking forward to a big performance from him. #4 Alottahope (3-1) has faced better in his last two dirt starts, but has figures that are competitive with these. He made a lot of ground to get fourth in the Chick Lang Stakes, on a Pimlico track that was not favorable to closers.
RACE 8: BEN’S CAT STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, MD-BRED/SIRED, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
5-8-3-7 (DIRT: 5-7-4-2)
The four-time Maryland-bred Horse of the Year is honored with this grass sprint stakes. #5 Jaxon Traveler (5-2) is the classiest member of the bunch, having most recently won the Maryland Sprint Stakes in impressive style. In fact, one might have expected that he would’ve shown up in the Vanderbilt Stakes at Saratoga today, but Steve Asmussen has elected to send him back to his home state. He’s not as well-known for his grass exploits, but does have some aptitude over the surface. In his most recent start on the lawn, he just missed in the Allied Forces Stakes at Belmont Park, stalking the pace and leading late. His figures on grass that year were not far off from what he was running on dirt at the time, and he’s taken a step forward this year, consistently running in the upper-90s. He should run somewhere in the mid-90s on the grass, which would best these. #8 Grateful Bred (2-1) and #3 Matta (5-2) are both coming out of the Van Clief Stakes at Colonial Downs on July 18. Grateful Bred sat the trip and led late, before getting caught by favored Front Run the Fed and ending up second. Matta chased the leaders evenly down the stretch and got up for third. Grateful Bred has great tactical speed and should get the jump on his rival once again.
RACE 9: DEPUTED TESTAMONY STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
The only race not for Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired horses is named for the 1983 Preakness Stakes winners. There are two Maryland-breds in here: Tappin Cat and Plot the Dots. #7 Magic Michael (3-1) was solid in his return to dirt last out, finishing third after falling behind a slow pace. He was the only one in that race who made up any ground late, as the horses who were 1-2 early on stayed that way throughout. The second-place finisher, #1 Ridin With Biden (7-2), is back here. He has lots of early speed, but wasn’t able to clear Tax early on in his last race. This time, he should be able to get to the front. #3 Armando R (7-2) likes this track and came from off the pace to win going away last out. If the pace isn’t too slow, he’ll be a factor.
RACE 10: CLAIMING $16,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
6-8-9-4 (DIRT: 3-4-9-6)
#6 Bourbon and Ice (5-2) made good ground in the last eighth last out to get third, with a career-best figure of 90. He drops back to a more comfortable level here after trying n/w1x types in his most recent. #8 Flank Speed (9-5) goes first off the claim for Anthony Farrior. She chased the pace last out and got up for second. She’s likely to be forwardly placed again. #9 Scotty Brown (5-1) has chased the pace in his last few and will likely churn on for a piece.