LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: October 15, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:40 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $7,336 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, 1 MILE
Nine races on a beautiful fall Saturday. #4 On the Engine (4-1) broke his maiden on dirt earlier in the year, and ran a career-best brisnet figure of 78 two starts back, when he was third at this level. He’s cutting back from two turns here. #7 Kid Bourbon (8-1) broke slowly and was no match in his last dirt start at Parx, but held his own against better earlier in the year. The 1-for-24 career record does not inspire optimism, but he’s facing a softer field than usual. #8 Lukie Dookie (7-2) makes his second start against winners for Brittany Russell and stalked the pace and earned a 70 in his lone dirt start three races back.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
#4 Mystified (7-2) made his dirt debut last out at Parx, and closed well to get third at big odds after saving ground against similar. He likes to come from off the pace and will hope to take advantage of fast fractions. #6 Mugsy Malone (7-2) was in much-improved form over the summer at Monmouth Park but was flat last out in his first start off the claim by Jose d’Angelo. He has great early pace figures and could try to sneak away on the front end. #7 Its Over (5-2) chased a loose leader going six furlongs last Saturday and proved no match, although he did hold on for second. Outside of a dull race on grass a few starts back, he’s run figures in the mid-70s pretty consistently as of late, which is good enough to contend in this spot.
- 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: MAIDEN CLAIMING $30,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#2 Recluse (8-1) has run in the mid/upper-60s consistently in his three-race career. He was flat going seven furlongs two races ago but has closed well at this distance. #10 Crimson Rocket (5-1) goes second off the claim for Kieron Magee and has lots of early speed. He almost wired the field on grass to races back and has been in improved form since arriving in mid-summer. #3 Junglherly Love (15-1) is lightly-raced, with this being his third career start, and showed speed in his debut going two turns before fading. He should enjoy the cutback in distance.
RACE 4: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $20,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
#7 Ghost Game (7-2) won at this level last out, a race where he came from well behind and flew late to win a photo over He Hate Me, who won a starter optional claiming race at Parx on Wednesday. He’s run career-best figures in his last two starts and will likely be rolling from behind again. #1 Nottoway (6-1) raced wide on the pace against much better rivals last out, and stopped badly. In his only other start of the year, which came here in April, he led most of the way and was beaten late by Going to the Lead, who was on a run of seven consecutive in-the-money finishes. This one will show speed on the rail and is making a start without having previously been on the bench for the first time in a while. #2 Zaevion (5-1) won going away at Belmont Park three starts back and might have won two starts back as well if he didn’t get into traffic trouble. He’s racing second off the claim by Ernesto Padilla-Preciado.
RACE 5: CLAIMING $5,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
Ever since a disastrous 2022 debut, #2 Mojac Kat (2-1) has been in excellent form. He’s hit the board in his last five races, including a game win against starter allowance types at Delaware Park last out. He’s consistently faster than these and should roll away after sitting the trip. #6 Drive by Layover (9-2) got involved in a speed duel at Delaware in his most recent and faded, but did earn an 80, one of his best recent figures. He also has good tactical speed and gets Barbosa aboard for the first time. #4 Wall (8-1) cuts back around one turn. He tried to close against better at Pimlico last out and couldn’t pull it off, but did win two in a row against conditioned types prior to that race.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $25,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
#13 Down Cold (4-1) goes first off the claim for Hugh McMahon and makes his second start since early June. He ran an 80 twice in the spring at Indianapolis and has worked well as he gets ready for his return. #8 Speak Unity (5-2) closed mildly for fourth last out at Delaware and should sit near the pace. #9 Burgee (5-1) earned an 88 two starts back when clearing his n/w2L condition easily. The only bad races he’s run this year came in April at Aqueduct, when he faced his elders as a 3-year-old, and a few starts back here when he raced wide throughout.
- 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: MAIDEN CLAIMING $30,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 7 FURLONGS
#1 Strategic (2-1) improved with every start at Monmouth Park this year, including a second-place finish last out where he led most of the way and held on for second. He’s making his first start since being transferred to the Damon Dilodovico barn. #6 Imagine it All (7-2) ran a 67 and a 70 in his first two career dirt starts, including a second place finish in his debut at five furlongs on Preakness week. This looks like an ideal type of spot for him. #5 Wonder Water (5-2) is better than these at his peak and returns here after a try against straight maidens at Charles Town, a race probably equivalent in quality to this one.
RACE 8: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $20,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#3 Quick Tempo (9-2) has faced much better over the course of the year, and went gate-to-wire a few starts back to win at Colonial Downs in an impressive showing. He should be able to set the pace and leave them reeling. #10 Charge to Victory (9-2) also has lots of speed, but flattened out late last out when he got caught in a duel. Two starts back, however, he lasted on the lead and ran an impressive 92. Regardless of how much pace pressure he gets, he should be able to at least hang around for a piece. #2 Etched in Stone (6-1) will make his first dirt start since June 17 at Hawthorne, but has hit the superfecta in his last few on the surface. He should get a good trip rating off the leaders.
RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 7 FURLONGS
#6 Over the Border (5-1) showed little in his debut, but improved sharply second time out and closed for second. Further improvement could mean victory. #1 Hope He’s Fast (2-1) was well-bet on debut at Timonium but had little chance from post position six. He gets a much better draw second time out for Jerry Robb. #5 World Factor (3-1) makes his first start for Brittany Russell after a steady string of workouts since early September and should be a contender as long as he can run at all.
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