LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: OCTOBER 21, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:40 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $1,305 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $30,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
‘Twas the day before Maryland Million, and all through the track, there was a 9-race card, in competition it did not lack. After getting washed off twice last week, it looks like #5 Drakon (5-2) will finally get a shot to race on grass. He ran big brisnet figures against much better maiden claimers in New York, running a 78 and an 81 in his two starts on this surface over the summer. He raced near the pace both times and should be a major factor on the front end. #1 Honky Player (9-5) has consistently run in the 70s and lower-80s this year, but hasn’t quite shown the closing punch needed to win. He likes to draft in mid-pack and battle on in the stretch, but hasn’t been especially close late except for a race two back at Monmouth Park where he lost by a nose. He’ll have to call on that form to win this one but profiles as a strong exotics candidate nonetheless. #2 Photo Copy (10-1) has run his best two figures in his last two starts and races with lasix for the first time. He benefited from a fast pace two starts back at Delaware Park and will hope for another one here.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $16,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
#7 Raise a Speights (6-1) dueled with the favorite last out, but pulled clear and cleared his n/w2L condition by three lengths. He was claimed out of that race by Anthony Farrior. He ran figures in the 80s consistently earlier this year and will try to round back into that form after some subpar performances. #6 Heads Or Tails (3-1) made his first start at this condition last out, and closed ground late on early leader #3 Gerrys Gem (5-2). Ultimately, Heads Or Tails got second by less than a length, running an 83 for the second straight race. Gerrys Gem goes third off the layoff and has lots of early speed, with his form somewhat obscured by a dull race at Timonium last out. If Gerrys Gem and Raise a Speights burn each other out, Heads Or Tails will be waiting in the catbird seat.
- 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 $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#3 Gallant George (9-2) has run no worse than a 74 in his last three starts. He ran a big race against slightly better types on this track three starts back. Last out, he stepped up to the starter optional claiming level and chased the pace; two starts back, he raced at Pimlico, and he prefers this track in general. #5 Board Certified (3-1) has also run in the mid-70s consistently as of late and cuts back around one turn. He has a good closing punch and might prefer extra distance, but is at least worth a look in this spot. #6 Worthy of Gold (4-1) has improved with every start, running a career-best 75 last out despite a wide trip. This will be his second start against winners and first at this condition.
RACE 4: MAIDEN CLAIMING $30,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 7 FURLONGS
#4 Lunar Falls (9-5) ran a gutsy race going a mile last out. She battled for the lead on the outside the whole way and ultimately lost by a neck to second choice Nibbles. They dueled the favorite, Holy Berries, into a 15 3/4-length defeat. #1 That’s Some Kiss (4-1) overcame a poor start to close for second at Pimlico last out. She’s making just her fourth career start, which is an advantage in a field where many of the contenders have piled up losses. #7 Block Party (15-1) cuts back from a mile for Kieron Magee and gets Jeiron Barbosa aboard for the first time. She showed some promise on grass but faded after a wide trip in her first start on dirt.
RACE 5: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
A wide-open sprint begins today’s late pick 5. #16 Tetragrammaton (10-1) doesn’t have as much class as his rivals, but he has lots and lots of speed. He won in gate-to-wire style twice at the Monmouth meet, running a 91 last out. That’s the best last-out figure in the field by five points. The post draw does not do him any favors, but his early pace figures are the best in the race. If he breaks well, and Angel Suarez is aggressive enough, he can clear to the front and cruise to a win from there. #4 Doctor Davis (5-1) makes his third start of the year for Arnaud Delacour. He shipped to Kentucky Downs last out and held fourth after saving ground, with a career-top figure of 85. He won on this course easily in July and should keep moving forward. #8 Awesome Jazz (12-1) has pretty severe gate problems, but has a strong late kick and can close for a piece at decent odds.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#1 Camelia Rod (7-2) dropped to the $10,000 n/w2L level for the first time last out, and overcame a bad start to finish a solid-closing third. She’s taking a slight jump in class here but has consistent figures as of late and should contend if she runs her usual race. #2 Meraviglioso (8-1) makes her first start on dirt for Claudio Gonzalez. She ran a respectable 69 in her first dirt start off the layoff last out and ran figures in the 70s earlier this year. #4 Tam Char (3-1) goes second off a long layoff. She closed well in her races towards the end of last year but didn’t do much in her return to the races on grass last out. Getting back to dirt should help her.
- 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, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#1 Divine Romance (9-2) was a solid second in her debut at Monmouth, then acted up in the gate next out at Pimlico and showed little. If she’s better-behaved this time, she should run back to her first start. #4 Never Done (2-1) has run in the mid/upper-60s in her last two starts and adds blinkers in her first start off the claim by Dale Capuano. She couldn’t chase down the speedy Need a Marker last out but outran the others and won a photo for second. #5 Blame Catalaya (4-1) closed to win a photo for second in her debut and makes her first start since August 12.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, MD-BRED/SIRED, 6 FURLONGS
Last summer at Saratoga, #7 Jester Calls Nojoy (8-5) made waves when she broke her maiden by ten lengths. She was well-beaten in her next two starts, including the Frizette Stakes, then finished second behind Luna Belle in the Maryland Juvenile Fillies Championship. Following that race, she did not return to the worktab until September 3, and now makes her long-awaited 3-year-old debut. She’s also making her first start for Brittany Russell, after spending her 2-year-old season in the Todd Pletcher barn. She’s likely to attract a ton of money and will be an untakeable price for a horse who hasn’t raced in so long. I’ll try #8 Bandits Warrior (2-1), She broke from post 12 last out at Pimlico, but made her way to the front and set honest fractions before getting caught late. She ran an 89 that day, a career-best figure and a marked improvement from her recent races. Jester Calls Nojoy will be tough if she runs back to her usual form first off the bench, but Bandits Warrior has a shot to pull the upset. #2 No More Mask (6-1) was flat last out and overmatched in the Shine Again Stakes, but did turn in a solid second-place performance behind stakes-placed Sweet Gracie three starts back. I don’t think she’s a threat to the top two but she can round out the exotics at a good price.
RACE 9: CLAIMING $16,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
One more to go, then we can fully shift into Million mode. Take out a poor start around two turns from #10 Standup (5-1)‘s lines, and he suddenly looks a lot better. He consistently runs in the 80s and has great closing speed. He hasn’t won in a while but the long stretch should help. #8 Boss is a Pal (7-2) has hit the board in his last three grass starts, including lost photo finishes in two of those races. He’ll be on the pace and should hang around late. #1 Password Protected (4-1) will come from off the pace and has never missed the board in his four grass races. He won on this track in a photo finish three starts back and was a solid-closing third in his first start at this condition next out.
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