LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: AUGUST 21, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:40 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $2,691 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE (GRASS)
We’re bringing it home with an 8-race program. #4 Please Marry Me (5-2) and #10 Karen’s Catita (8-1) are the only two coming in here off maiden-breaking wins. The former ran a game race in victory, setting the pace, falling back, and re-rallying for the score. She’s likely to set the pace once again. The latter improved dramatically in her second grass start at Delaware Park with an off-the-pace victory at 25-1. If Please Marry Me falters, Karen’s Catita will be one of the first to engage. #8 Love My Cat (6-1) makes her first start since June 19 and has shown promise on grass. She ran a decent brisnet figure of 67 in her last race, but it was a visually unimpressive performance where she was ninth, albeit against a strong n/w2L field. Still, she has it in her to close for a piece.
RACE 2: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 7 FURLONGS
#3 Ladra de Fichi (2-1) has hit the board in all six of her starts without a win, rarely a great sign. However, she has improved noticeably in her last few starts, with back-to-back figures of 78 and 79. This daughter of multiple stakes winner Sweet On Smokey had to face Hoodooland last time, an odds-on choice who ran the field off their feet, but it doesn’t look like there’s anyone nearly that menacing in here. #2 M’Lady Thatcher (7-2) exits the same race as Ladra de Fichi and faded to third after showing brief speed. She’s run in the 70s in all five of her starts and is likely to fade behind Ladra de Fichi but hang on to complete the exacta. #5 Smart Eulee (7-2) chased the pace and finished second in a determined effort last time. Her figure of 72 was her best mark in months. Jevian Toledo gets the ride for the first time.
- WVBC: The Sky Is Falling pointing to CavadaThree-year-old The Sky Is Falling bested her elders last out in the Sadie Hawkins Stakes and now is pointing to the Oct. 8 WV Cavada Breeders’ Classic.
RACE 3: CLAIMING $25,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#10 Ghostly Night (12-1) comes in off a maiden-breaking score last out, where she dispatched Gift of Gab in a stretch duel then held off the late challenge of favored Made My Wish. Claudio Gonzalez claimed her out of that race. #9 Senson (5-1) gets back to grass after a few dirt starts, and has run a 77 and a 78 in her last two starts on this surface. She might be able to clear to the front and set the pace. #1 Loving Cup (9-2) drops from the $40,000 n/w2L level and hasn’t run worse than a 68 in three career outings.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $16,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
#1 Justinthenickoftime (8-5) has declined a bit in form, running an 81 in his last dirt start after grazing the low-90s earlier in the year, and turning in a very dull effort on grass last out. However, he’s switching back to his preferred surface and dropping in class. #5 Dolce Vita (9-2) took advantage of a rail-favoring track in his last start, battling on the pace towards the inside and drawing off to victory. However, there’s not much speed in this race, with his only serious front-end threat coming from a horse who hasn’t raced since April. As such, he could work out a similar trip here. #3 Aftermath (6-1) was pace-compromised in his last start but gets a rider switch to Jeiron Barbosa and races first off the claim by Gerald Brooks. When he got an honest pace to close into two races back, he won going away with an impressive 79.
RACE 5: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE (GRASS)
#1 Night Boss (5-1) ran a career-best figure of 77 last out, when he closed for second in an oddly run race. A loose leader opened up a big margin and came back to the field, and while Night Boss closed well, he was outkicked by Lukie Dookie, who ran away and hid from them. Nonetheless, Night Boss is in improving form and should run on well here. #3 Grand Manner (6-1) gets back to grass and takes a career-low drop in class after previously racing at the $40,000-$45,000 level. He’s likely to set the early pace and can take them gate-to-wire if allowed to set modest fractions. #4 Solomon’s Choice (3-1) faded late after striking the front last out, but now cuts back from 1 1/16 miles and looks primed for a winning performance.
RACE 6: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 5 FURLONGS
#6 Johnyz From Albany (3-1) is a first-time starter for trainer Dale Capuano, and an offspring of Monster Sleeping, a two-time Maryland Million Ladies champion. This gray gelding has had a string of sharp four-furlong workouts, with his most recent drill in 48 1/5 seconds. #1 Post Time (2-1) was purchased for $85,000 this spring by Hillwood Stable and now debuts for Brittany Russell. His dam, Vielsalm, won the 2014 All Brandy Stakes and has produced What Does It Take, who earned more than $100,000. Another gray, he’s worked very well recently, including a bullet five-furlong workout on August 7. #5 Johnnyfrenchfri (6-1) showed speed and held on for second in his debut at Penn National and has worked well since. He’ll try to build on that performance here.
- 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 (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS (GRASS)
Three of the top four finishers from a Maryland-bred allowance race on August 7 are back here. #8 Tauber (5-2) got the job done that day, in his second start off the layoff. He had to check in the stretch but found a path between horses and got up for the victory. Of the horses, who finished behind him, I was most impressed with #1 Sue Loves Barbados (7-2), who came extremely wide from last and finished in a dead heat for third. He’s run at least an 83 in three of his four races this year. #10 Balistico (5-1) has improved his figure in each of his last three starts, including a sharp win against open claimers at Colonial Downs last out.
RACE 8: MAIDEN CLAIMING $30,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 7 FURLONGS
One more to go, then it’s off to Timonium. #7 Foul Balls (3-1) was parked wide in her last start at this level but held on for second, matching the 67 that she earned in her debut. Has room to improve second off the layoff. #2 Tilted Tiara (2-1) adds blinkers for Claudio Gonzalez and has improved dramatically in each start, including a career-best 69 last out. #4 Lucky Lorraine (4-1) has consistent figures and good late speed but has raced just once since late February, a non-descript race on grass. She might need a start.