LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: October 1, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:40 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $308 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: CLAIMING $16,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
With the weather forecast, I have a hard time imagining the grass races will stay on, so I handicapped them all for dirt. #9 Senson (5-2) cleared her n/w2L condition last out in gate-to-wire style. She has early speed and will be tough to catch. #5 Rock Rose (6-1) is also coming off a n/w2L win, having stalked the pace and drawn off to win easily in her first start off a long layoff. If Senson fades, she’ll be right there to take advantage. #4 A Girl Named Jac (8-5) has been in close-but-no-cigar mode against better in her last few races and should fare better against these.
RACE 2: MAIDEN CLAIMING $12,500, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#1 Grass Cutter (6-1) showed little on debut, but improved sharply to a 58 in a fourth-place finish second time out. This No Guts No Glory homebred couldn’t track down the leaders at Timonium last out, but could prove tough to catch herself if she continues to improve. #7 Ober Dare (8-1) ran two promising races at Timonium to start her career, outfinishing Grass Cutter two starts back. However, she stopped badly on the front end last out at Pimlico. She’ll try to outrun Grass Cutter for the lead and looks interesting at a price. #8 Cami Rachelle (9-2) raced wide at Timonium in each of her last two starts and will try to work out a better trip here.
- Armando R over the top to win Small StakesOnetime claimer Armando R rallied outside to prevail in Saturday’s Richard W. Small Stakes at Laurel Park for his second straight stakes win.
RACE 3: CLAIMING $25,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE
The only time #4 Unadulterated (6-5) ran lower than an 81 on dirt, she was racing in the Delaware Oaks and was in way over her head. She beat a first-level field handily at Delaware Park earlier in the year and held her own against n/w2x types before two disappointing grass tries. She’ll be very tough if she runs her race. #6 Watch Your Tone (5-1) improved sharply second off a brief break last out, closing for second while running at least a 76 for the third time in her last four starts. This’ll be her first start beyond six furlongs. #3 Miss Chamita (5-1) showed little in her last start on this track in July, but closed well to win going away at Charles Town last out. Her best form at least contends for an exotics spot, but she’s a bit spotty.
RACE 4: MAIDEN CLAIMING $30,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
After two dull tries on grass, #1 Trophy Room (3-1) switched to dirt last out at Monmouth Park. He got entangled in a three-way speed duel, but battled on all the way and ended up second, outrunning the early leader but losing to the rival who sat just off the early lead. #7 Bo’s Bourbon (5-2) was well-backed on debut at Timonium but drifted in and didn’t show much. Adds blinkers second time out for Jerry Robb, which should help. #3 Barb’s Pride (3-1) goes first out for Dale Capuano and has worked steadily since mid-July for a spot like this.
RACE 5: LAUREL FUTURITY, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE
Lots of famous horses have won the Laurel Futurity over the years. The 2005 winner, Barbaro, is the most recent horse to pull off the Laurel Futurity/Kentucky Derby double. Will that happen with any of these? Probably not, but I can dream. Claudio Gonzalez trains each of my top two picks. #5 Fun Lovin Criminal (8-1) relished two turns last out at Monmouth, easily moving to the lead and winning going away. Granted, he didn’t beat much that day, but he ran a much-improved figure of 78. He’s proven at the distance and looks enticing. #11 Splendor Beauty (7-2) also broke his maiden going a mile at Monmouth last out. He raced wide throughout and held on late despite a challenge in the final sixteenth. He ran an 80 that day, a little bit higher than his stablemate. I think Fun Lovin Criminal will be the better value but this one also merits respect. #13 Roan Burgundy (4-1) was pounded to 1-2 in his debut, and won a stretch battle with Landon Jack to win with a 79. Looks to improve second time out for Brittany Russell.
RACE 6: CHALLEDON STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
Outside of Cigar, Challedon is arguably the greatest Maryland-bred of all time. He was named Horse of the Year in 1939 and 1940. #2 Yodel E.A. Who (2-1) soundly beat a borderline-stakes quality field last out at Delaware, drawing off by more than five lengths to earn a 95. He’s won three times in his last five starts, and just missed to multiple stakes winner Fortheluvofbourbon in one of his defeats. He should get a great trip here just off the pace. #1 Factor It In (3-1) improved to a 95 in a roughly run Chesapeake Stakes at Colonial Downs, his second start off a ten-month layoff. Goes third off the bench and will try to steer clear of trouble. #4 Famished (8-1) has run his two best dirt figures in his last two dirt races. He was impressive in victory against allowance types at Monmouth two starts back, and now gets his class test.
- 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: SELIMA STAKES, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 1 MILE
Selima was imported to Maryland in the early 1750s and went on to become one of the foundation mares in the thoroughbred breed. This race has also produced its share of great winners, most recently 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Sharing. #9 Majesty’s Freedom (15-1) chased down a loose leader to break her maiden with a 78 in July. She didn’t do much last out in her first start against winners, but faces a field without much dirt experience and has room to bounce back. #2 The Classy One (6-1) raced wide throughout on debut, but it didn’t slow her down, as she won going away with a figure of 74. This Jersey-bred filly will likely be near the pace once again as she makes her first start beyond six furlongs. #5 Born Dapper (9-2) broke her maiden with a great stalking trip last out and should also be an early pace factor.
RACE 8: TWIXT STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES
When Twixt retired in 1975, she was the highest-earning Maryland-bred of all time, having earned $619,143 while winning 18 stakes races. #7 Jilted Bride (3-1) is my pick in a contentious field. She’s hit the board in her last four starts against stakes company, including a win in the Iowa Distaff at Prairie Meadows a few races back. and ran a 100 next out at Ellis Park when coming from the clouds to finish second in the Groupie Doll Stakes. The post draw isn’t great with the short run into the first turn, but she’s overcome wide trips to run good races before. #6 Battle Bling (5-2) ran a pair of triple-digit figures earlier in the year at Aqueduct and has started rounding back into form after two low figures at Delaware this summer. Last out, she outkicked Jilted Bride to win impressively at Colonial. #5 Coach (2-1) ran a big race to win the Pippin Stakes at Oaklawn Park in January, then lasted through a duel in the Bayakoa Stakes before wilting in the last sixteenth. She hasn’t raced since that February effort but has worked consistently since late August. Brad Cox is 3-for-7 with his Maryland starters this year, including a win in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.
RACE 9: JAPAN TURF CUP, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/4 MILES
#11 Vance Scholars (20-1) has made his bones in off-the-grass stakes this year. He won the Bald Eagle Derby in his sophomore bow, then finished second in the Cape Henlopen Stakes (off a two-day layoff). Whether they intended to try him on grass or hoped for wet weather when they entered him, it looks like they’ll catch another off-the-grass stakes field. He ran a 93 and a 95 in his two dirt starts this year, numbers that make him a serious contender here. If he wins, he could be the favorite in the Maryland Million Classic. #2 Burning Bright (9-5) raced first off a year-plus layoff last out, and battled gamely on the pace to hold second with a figure of 87. He ran figures as high as 96 earlier in his career and could splash away to a loose lead. #5 Armando R (5-2) likes this track and has great late pace figures, but will need a pace to close into.
RACE 10: MAIDEN CLAIMING $12,500, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 7 FURLONGS
#3 Inkosi (7-2) went off as the favorite against these types in his season debut at Churchill Downs. He didn’t show much late after a wide trip but did improve to a 71. Lacey Gaudet claimed him after that late June contest and now has him ready to roll. #4 Connecting (5-2) has run in the 70s twice since getting claimed by Anthony Pecoraro, including an impressive 78 in a runner-up performance last out. He hasn’t shown much of a winning punch despite the big figures, so he might be a better underneath candidate. #7 Bliss This (2-1) has lost four straight starts at 6-5 or less, which is pretty amazing. You can key him underneath in exactas or trifectas, as he’s very likely to set the pace and then get caught.
- 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