LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: AUGUST 6, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:40 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $21,934 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $30,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
There’s ten races, including two stakes races, on today’s program. #2 Soaring Bird (9-5) has won two races in a row for trainer Will Walden, both of them with great stalking trips. He had to rally four-wide in his last stat and managed to do so without any trouble. Should work out a more ground-saving trip here. #1 Ghost Game (6-1) has showed a new dimension in his last few races, coming from off the pace after previously being a front-runner. Last out, he made a well-timed rally to beat a n/w3L field. He consistently runs brisnet figures in the low-80s. #6 Jimmy the Kid (3-1) is also coming off a victory and has the most early speed of anyone in the race.
RACE 2: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE
Following a line of thunderstorms which scuttled the last two races yesterday, on top of thunderstorms that passed through on Thursday night, all the grass races today, including the two stakes races, were moved to dirt. Not ideal, of course, but at least they made the call last night. It saves everyone a lot of trouble. #7 Calipari (7-2) was claimed out of his last start at Churchill Downs by Lacey Gaudet, and was entered as a main-track-only in this race. He made a move and flattened out in his last start, but nonetheless earned a 72, his second straight figure in the low 70s. #10 Wonder Water (10-1) has been the runner-up in his last three dirt starts and has good closing speed. He’ll like the long stretch run of the one-turn mile. #14 Twice Gold (5-1) overcame a poor start to rally for third with a career-best figure last out. He has room for improvement.
- Gordian Knot, Ninetyprcentmaddie face off in PA NurseryTuesday’s Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes features a showdown between undefeated stakes winners Gordian Knot and Ninetyprcentmaddie.
RACE 3: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#3 Box N Ben (9-5) was no match for the impressive Heldish last out, but raced well clear of the others and finished second by almost eight lengths. In fact, if you take out Heldish from that field, it looks like Box N Ben ran a dominant race. He’s going to be very tough if he runs back to his debut. #8 Landon Jack (10-1) showed speed and faded on debut, but at least he showed some signs of life in that race. He should be worth a bet at his likely price. #2 Noah Chance (7-2), one of two in here for Jerry Robb, has worked well for his debut, including back-to-back five-furlong works, and should be ready for a big race first time out.
RACE 4: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE
#4 Breviary (10-1) has won two in a row on dirt, with a much-improved performance each time out. On paper, it’s a step up in class, having previously competed against starter allowance types, but it’s not a usual second-level allowance field, with it being washed away. The primary challenger to her is #5 Fool Yourself (6-1), who ran in the mid-80s in her first two starts of the year and narrowly missed at this level at Monmouth Park. She has the class advantage. #1 Stir Crazy (10-1) is coming off a n/w1x win at Delaware Park last out and has great closing speed. She’ll sit the trip on the rail.
RACE 5: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
#2 Dolice Vita (5-2) ran a career-best figure of 75 in his first start against winners, although it was not as visually impressive a race as his maiden-breaking score. He couldn’t get to the lead and ended up making a middle move, only to flatten out in the stretch. We’ll see how he does cutting back in distance. #4 I’m Not Slow (7-2) set the pace in that same race, and held on to finish second, also earning a lifetime-top mark with a 76. He’s also cutting back after a string of two-turn efforts; we’ll see if the reduced distance helps. #7 Amicalola Falls (6-1) has run in the low-70s in three straight races and should rally for a slice.
RACE 6: MAIDEN CLAIMING $12,500, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#8 Bliss This (8-5) was well-backed when he dropped to this level last out, and looked like he was home free in the stretch. However, he got tired and was caught late. He drops back into a similar race and once again looks like he’s going to be a big favorite. He once again has the speed figure and pace advantage over these. I’m willing to give him another chance, but I acknowledge that I could be wading into dangerous waters. #2 Drum and Bass (9-2) closed well for third in his last Maryland start at Pimlico two races back, but never quite recovered from a bad start at Charles Town last out. Getting back to the big track should help. #1 Notion to Tapit (12-1) closed well for third in his first start of the year last out, just missing his lifetime-best with a 63. He should improve second off the long layoff.
- Nick Sanna’s long journey to the winner’s circleLong before he owned horses, Nick Sanna had a job sweeping up after the races at Delaware Park. It’s been quite a journey.
RACE 7: SEARCHING STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 1 1/16 MILES
The first of two stakes races on today’s card is named for a top mare of the late 1950s. Her best year was 1958, when she won four major stakes races. She went on to become the dam of champion filly Affectionately. No one in this race has much in the way of dirt form, so it’s kind of a guessing game. #8 Sparkle Blue (6-1) does have a win on dirt, having broken her maiden in impressive style at Colonial Downs last August. She ran a big race in the Christiana Stakes on grass in her first start of the year last out, and now adds lasix for the first time for Graham Motion. #11 Cupid’s Strike (12-1) ran in the 70s on dirt last year and should improve in her first start as a 3-year-old on the surface. #10 Quality Control (15-1) broke her maiden on the synthetic earlier in the year at Gulfstream Park and has had some sharp workouts in preparation for her first race since late May.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#4 Moody Woman (5-2) has a great affinity for this track, hitting the board in seven of her eight starts on the surface. She made a good rally from off the pace to finish second at this level last out, outfinishing odds-on favorite and impressive last-out winner Another Woman in the process. She should have a solid pace to close into, which will be set in part by the likely favorite, #3 Swayin To and Fro (2-1). This South Carolina-bred filly has found herself over the past 2 1/2 months, rattling off four consecutive wins, starting her streak with a victory in a $16,000 maiden claiming race. She’s coming off a career-top figure of 87 last out and will get a class test here. She’s good enough to pass it if she runs her race. #2 Response Time (9-2) rattled off three in a row here over the winter but has been below par in her last few starts. She’s had some time off since her last race on June 4 and has worked well since then. Worth a look as a value play.
RACE 9: BALD EAGLE DERBY, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 1 3/16 MILES
Bald Eagle was one of this country’s first great grass horses, winning the Washington D.C. International in 1959 and 1960. Two of these are likely to take almost all the money. #7 Undercover Kitty (6-1) looked like an interesting longshot on paper when the race was on grass, but on dirt, he looks unstoppable. He went gate-to-wire in back-to-back dirt starts, including a 6 1/2-length win in the Crowd Pleaser Stakes, running huge figures both times. He can beat this field by however much he wants. #6 Vance Scholars (15-1) showed some promise as a 2-year-old last year, including two impressive wins at a one-turn mile, but hasn’t raced as a 3-year-old. He has upside but it’ll be a tall task to beat Undercover Kitty first off the layoff. #2 Majestic Frontier (12-1) ran in the mid-80s consistently earlier in the year and looks for a rebound off a dull race at Delaware Park last out.
RACE 10: CLAIMING $25,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
#1 B B Brad (9-5) is the stronger half of the Jamie Ness entry in my eyes, consistently running in the 80s and the upper-70s. He has great late speed and should kick on powerfully late as long as he stays somewhat close to the pace. #3 Crownedcountcristo (6-1) improved eight points in his second start off a three-month layoff last out. He ran in the 80s consistently earlier in the year, and will contend if he can find that form again. #5 Uncle Jerome (3-1) cuts back around one turn and is the main speed threat. The last time he raced around a one-turn mile, he went gate-to-wire and ran an 87.
- Laurel Park picks and ponderings: November 27, 2022
- Laurel Park picks and ponderings: November 26, 2022
- Charles Town picks and horses to watch: November 25
- Laurel Park picks and ponderings: November 25, 2022
- Laurel Park picks and ponderings: November 24, 2022
- Laurel Park picks and ponderings: November 21, 2022