LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: AUGUst 19, 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 — $1,083 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
The final week of the Laurel Park summer meet begins with a 10-race card today. Remember, this is the last day of racing there until late September. We’ll go to Pimlico for a few weeks after Timonium wraps up. #2 Skeptical (8-1) made his first start of the year last out, and closed strongly in the last eighth after an awkward break. He’s lightly-raced and has a great chance to pull off the upset if he breaks cleanly. #9 Solar Shield (10-1) improved sharply in his second grass start two races back, rallying for fourth at 63-1 while earning a career-best brisnet figure of 63. He showed little in washed-off race against better last out, but enjoys class relief here. #12 Front Dancer (8-1) was in the midst of a winning move at Delaware Park last out when he suddenly lost racing room towards the rail and could not move through. He also doesn’t have much experience, making just his third career start and second appearance on grass. He’ll try to work out a better trip than last time.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
This race features the first of five Claudio Gonzalez starters on today’s card. He’s tied for the training lead with Rudy Sanchez-Solomon, who has three starters today, but only one in the main body of a race, going into the final weekend of the season. #2 Jettin Out (3-1) makes his first start for Kieron Magee after spending 2022 in Florida, where he bounced around from stable to stable. He consistently ran in the low/mid-80s earlier in the year before a very flat effort last out. I would’ve liked to see a workout in Maryland, considering his last published drill was on August 5 at Palm Meadows, but he nonetheless is a serious threat if he bounces back. #8 Here Wego (5-2) has speed from the outside and has just missed in his last two dirt races after battling on the lead. He’ll blast out of the gate and try to establish a clear lead. #6 Confusion Baby Boy (12-1) has improved in his last three starts and has some of the best late pace figures in the race. He can round out the trifecta or the superfecta at a big number.
- Whereshetoldmetogo prevails in New CastleVeteran Whereshetoldmetogo scored in Friday’s New Castle Stakes, while Philadelphia Belle upset the Tax Free Shopping Distaff at Delaware Park.
RACE 3: MAIDEN CLAIMING $40,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
#8 Giantsbane (4-1) looked to be on his way to victory here two races back, when he lugged in with a clear lead and almost crashed into the temporary rail. He stayed upright and finished third. He made a big move and flattened out after a wide trip last out at Colonial Downs, but at least kept a straight path. Looks tough to beat dropping back in class. #6 Ripken (7-2) has developed a streak of his own: he’s hit the superfecta in his last five races without a win. He’s made strong rallies and just missed a few times this season, and ran a career-best mark of 82 in his last grass race. He has a shot but buyer beware at low odds. #7 C C Goldrush (8-1) ships from Parx off just two career starts and will likely show early speed.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#1 Uncommon Valor (7-2) overcame a rough start and a track playing in favor of inside speed to close for fourth in his last start. He’s had trouble at the start in his last few, in fact, but will be tough in here if he can overcome it. #6 Johnny Swish (7-2) improved sharply to a 71 in his second start against winners last out. In contrast to Uncommon Valor, look for this one on the early pace. #7 Panna Mine (12-1) has raced just once this year, in a race at this condition at Pimlico. He got knocked around at the break but closed well late and got fifth in what has proven to be a very productive n/w2L race. Three of the top four finishers came back to win their next race.
RACE 5: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, MD-BRED/SIRED, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#6 Island Philo (4-1) almost pulled off a shocker in the Jameela Stakes last out, closing to finish third, beaten just a half-length, at 38-1. She’s already won twice on this track last year, winning a pair of starter optional claiming races, and will be flying late. #9 Gals Gal (6-1) sat a great stalking trip and rolled by to break her maiden last out. She’s getting a class test here but has shown a strong closing punch in each of her two starts. #10 Claire’s Darling (9-2) has also won on this track twice at the meet and will be sent to the lead from the outside. She reeled in a free-wheeling leader last out but is usually in front when they pass the opening quarter point.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 7 FURLONGS
The late pick 5 starts here. Great sequence. #9 Miss Foxann (5-2) goes first off the claim for Claudio Gonzalez. Last out, she tracked the pace and lost a stretch duel by just a half-length. Her recent workouts have been sharp, as she goes out for the first time since July 2. #10 Caged Pixie (10-1) ran a big race to break her maiden last out, rallying wide to score in the last jump. She ran a 73 in that race, far and away a career-best figure. If she can run the same kind of race, she has a chance to pull the upset. #7 Candy Corner (8-1) has closed well to fit the board in her last two races against similar. She’ll try to save ground and avoid too much trouble, which she has not done in her last few starts.
- BackTracks: The kingly Henry of NavarreIn today’s BackTracks, New Jersey-bred Henry of Navarre found Hall of Fame success on the racetrack and later played a more martial role.
RACE 7: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE (GRASS)
#8 American d’Oro (10-1) has run only one bad race on the year, when he had a rough break going 5 1/2 furlongs, which is a bit shorter than he likes. He narrowly missed after a wide trip on this track two races ago behind Samui Sunset, who hasn’t missed the exacta in his last five starts. Last out, he overcame a wide trip to win by a nose over promising 3-year-old Xy Time, who finished sixth in the Kent Stakes. This one should be a great price. #7 Somekindofmagician (4-1) has put in game rallies in his two starts this year. Last out, he lost to Summer to Remember, who got a pretty easy trip cruising on the lead but still almost lost. #9 Soulmate (4-1) has run at least an 86 in six of his last seven races but doesn’t have much of a closing kick. He looks like more of an exotics candidate.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, MD-BRED/SIRED, 1 MILE
#5 Sweet Gracie (7-2) almost pulled off the shocker in her last start, losing by just a nose to Divine Huntress in the Miss Disco Stakes. She’s shown signs of promise all year long and has rebounded nicely off a dull race three starts back. #1 R B’s Star (9-2) has gone gate-to-wire in her last two starts and gets a class test here. She shook off pace pressure two races ago, but this is a whole new ballgame. We’ll see how fast she can go early on. #6 Bandits Warrior (3-1), the half-sister to Anna’s Bandit, makes her first start since a third-place finish in the Lewes Stakes at Delaware, where she set the pace and got caught late by stablemate Mama G’s Wish. She’s been working very well and will try to press R B’s Star on the lead.
RACE 9: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
#7 Armando R (2-1) makes his first appearance since June 12 after an impressive 3 1/2-length win at this level. He beat Ain’t Da Beer Cold soundly that day, and that rival won a n/w3x race impressively next out. This one has run at least a 94 in three of his last four races. #4 Caribbean (7-2) cruised on the lead and won easily last out, for his third victory in his last five starts. He held on despite setting very honest fractions. I don’t think anyone in here is fast enough to press him; it’s just a matter of how far he can take his speed. #2 Maximum Impact (12-1) has great closing speed and rode the rail to eke out a n/w1x win last out. He’ll try to work out a similar trip here.
RACE 10: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
#9 My Candy Girl (5-1) had to wait a bit for some running room last out, but once she found it, she shot through to win a starter optional claiming race at a generous 10-1 with a figure of 91. She had some trouble in her two prior starts this year, but it looks like it’s all coming together for her. #13 Fire in the Hole (9-2) closed well last out and just missed second going 1 3/8 miles. This’ll be her first race since June 25, at a distance that is probably more her speed. #8 Cupid’s Strike (5-1) held on for second over Fire in the Hole that day, and is likely to set the pace in this spot.