LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: NOVEMBER 4, 2022

In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…

Post time: 12:15 p.m.

Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $16,775 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0

Check out our other handicapping here!

RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)

4-1-3-6

Nine races are on the docket today as we kick off a new racing week, and the racing month of November. #4 Commander Buzzkill (6-1) will make her American debut here for Tom Morley. She’s raced once this year, finishing fourth in her grass debut at St. Cloud in France. Since coming to these shores in September, she’s worked steadily at Belmont Park and looks ready to turn in a solid race. She was entered to run a few weeks ago at Aqueduct but the race was washed off the grass. #1 Birthday Time (3-1) raced first off the claim by Joe Sharp in her last grass start and held on for third after chasing a hot pace. She’s run a brisnet figure no worse than 74 in her last four races and peaked at an 82 in the most recent contest. #3 Call Me Vivian (6-1), my top-ranked local contender, has put in strong late rallies in her last few starts but might not have enough early speed to seriously contend for the win in this one.

RACE 2: CLAIMING $10,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS

9-4-8-2

There’s lots of speed in this one. In a race like this, the big question is always: among the front-runners, who’s most likely to get away on the lead? He’s going to have to clear from the outside post, but #9 Golden Avieator (4-1) looks fast enough to do it. He blew the doors off the field last out at Delaware Park with an impressive gate-to-wire showing. His early pace figures are the best in the field, so if he breaks cleanly, he can outkick the others early. If he can’t clear and the pace falls apart, #4 Highland Dream (8-1) should sit just off the leaders and make a winning move on the turn. He got engaged in a tussle at Timonium two starts back, a race he won, but isn’t a need-the-lead type. He’s racing first off the claim by Kieron Magee. #8 Free Square (6-1) got a pace to run into at this condition last out and was a solid third with an improved figure of 74. He’ll try to avoid getting caught too wide after sitting in mid-pack early on.

  • Winning Time scores in PA Nursery
    Debut winner Winning Time handled the step up to stakes company with aplomb, winning Tuesday’s $200,000 Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes at Parx.

RACE 3: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, MD-BRED/SIRED, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)

6-5-3-1

#6 Etched in Stone (6-1) was a hard-charging second in his last grass start at Colonial Downs, and now gets back to the lawn after getting washed off last out. He’s never raced on this grass course before but should enjoy the long stretch run. #5 Monster Mason (6-1) drops back in against Maryland-breds after several tries at this condition against open types. He was close in two tries at this level over the summer but fell short in his last three races versus better. He might not have enough early speed to win it but nonetheless looks like a contender. #3 Prince Pere (9-2) finally broke through for his first win in a while after sitting near the pace. His late pace figures aren’t great so we’ll see if he maintains the strategy of staying close to the lead.

RACE 4: CLAIMING $40,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE

4-1-3-2

#4 Federal Offense (3-1) has run in the 80s twice in his last three starts and lost photos in both of those races after setting the pace. He’ll likely try to wire them once again. #1 Wonder Water (4-1) finally broke his maiden in his sixteenth try last out, getting up in the last few jumps for a half-length win. He struggled in his prior two races but usually runs in the upper-70s and low-80s. That kind of race probably wins this one. #3 Under the Radar (2-1) has quite the streak going: he’s finished third in his last seven dirt races. With his strong closing kick but total lack of late speed, he looks like a good bet to finish third once again.

RACE 5: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)

10-9-4-6

#10 Cash Rocket (7-2) looked sharp in his first race off a long layoff two starts back, when he came from off the pace to break his maiden going away at Pimlico. He improved his figure next out when washed off to dirt and should run a good one in his third start off the layoff. #9 Fredisaten (6-1) broke his maiden in his first start of the Colonial Downs season on July 13 and improved his figure with every start at the track this year. He made good ground on dirt last out and is likely to put in a strong closing bid. #4 Star Shopping (6-1) lost a photo two starts back at Colonial, outfinishing Fredisaten in the process. Next out, he went off as the favorite at Delaware, but was third after closing decent ground late. He’ll be tough if he can make a well-timed move.

RACE 6: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 7 FURLONGS

7-1-11-12

#7 B West (4-1) debuted last out in what proved to be a very productive maiden race. The winner, Post Time, and the third-place finisher, Prince of Jericho, came back to win their next two races in very impressive fashion. He showed speed after a bad start and faded but should improve second time out. #1 Shackinthebox (6-1) is one of the most experienced horses in the field, having already raced three times. He’s closed well for a minor share in his last two starts, although he did decline to a 65 last out after a poor start and a wide trip. He ran a 77 two races ago; a race like that likely wins this one. #11 Energy Efficient (9-2) cuts back to seven furlongs after a promising two-turn race. This distance should suit him well.

RACE 7: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)

10-14-11-6

#10 Crisper (3-1) closed off a slow pace and almost chased down Wicked Prankster in his last race, losing to him by a neck. Of course, Wicked Prankster came back to win the Maryland Million Turf in his next start. Crisper’s run an 87 and a 91 in back-to-back races, by contrast, only one horse in the field has run an 87 at any point in their last three grass races. #14 Call Curt (5-2), after being on the losing end of some recent photo finishes, got up to win by a neck at Delaware last out after sitting a good stalking trip. He has good tactical speed, but in his recent races he has not really shown a winning punch. He likes to merely grind on and eke out a close win or a narrow defeat. #11 Beltway Bob (10-1) rallied for a surprise win in the Maryland Million Turf Starter Handicap for his first win of the year. His figures in the late summer and fall have been consistent, with three of his last four races in the low-80s. He should contend for an exotics spot.

RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE

5-1-6-3

An excellent field with some of the top local male routers will contest today’s feature race. #5 American d’Oro (5-1) handled an off-the-grass field with ease last out, coming from off the pace and driving away to a 9 1/4-length win with an impressive figure of 98. It was his first victory on dirt. This is a much tougher field than the one he saw last time, but a repeat of that effort will beat these. He’ll rate towards the back early on and motor home in the stretch. #1 Benandjoe (10-1) looks like the stronger half of the Larry Rabold/Hugh McMahon entry. Usually a front-runner, he showed a new dimension in his last start when he came from off the pace and won a second-level allowance at Pimlico. Outside of a poor race in June that sent him to the sidelines, he’s run in the 90s all year and looks interesting at a price. All eyes will be on #6 Cordmaker (7-5) in here. This lovable Maryland-bred veteran is making his first start since a win in the General George Stakes in February, for his fourth consecutive stakes win. A top-two finish here pushes him past the $1 million mark in career earnings. He generally runs in the upper 90s, occasionally cracking triple digits. That means if he’s even slightly off his game first off the layoff, he’s very vulnerable. He might win this race on pure class, but at a low price I’d be inclined to take a shot against.

RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS

2-7-3-8

#2 Ice Cube Baby (2-1) gets the nod in a lukewarm field to wrap up the day. She went out on a free-wheeling lead last out going seven furlongs and held on for third. If she can manage her speed a bit better, she has a chance to wire this group. #7 Bubba Chrome (8-1) got some action in his debut on grass at Colonial, going off at 13-1 against straight maidens. However, he stumbled at the start and was eased. He’s worked well since and now makes his first start for Kenny Cox. #3 Wesright (8-1) goes first out for Kieron Magee. While the barn is not great with debuters, it’s also not a great field, so he can surprise if shows even some ability on debut.

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