LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: november 5, 2022

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

Post time: 11:25 a.m.

Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $17,567 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0

Check out our other handicapping here!

RACE 1: CLAIMING $10,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES

5-4-1-6

It’s Breeders’ Cup Saturday, but there’s plenty of money to be made here as well. Note the early post time. Claudio Gonzalez didn’t have anyone in yesterday, but he has two in today’s opener. One of them, #5 Along the Way (9-5), has been competitive at this level since handily clearing her n/w2L condition at Monmouth Park in July. She’s run brisnet figures in the 70s in her last four starts and battled gamely for third in her most recent two-turn effort. #4 Backstreet Gal (3-1) ran a career-best 75 last out when she rallied to win in a photo finish. She’s improved with every start and has not lost at this condition. #1 Please Marry Me (20-1) has early speed in a race without much of it and will try to sneak away on the front end.

RACE 2: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)

5-3-2-10

#5 Nibbles (5-1) got caught wide against better last out and stopped, but ran in the 80s in her two prior grass races. She has good tactical speed and will likely get first run at #3 Bourbon Gypsy (6-1), who profiles as the lone speed. She broke her maiden in gate-to-wire style last out at Colonial Downs and has opened up long, lonely leads in each of her last three starts. In that last race, she fought back when challenged in the stretch, and if allowed to set an easy enough pace, she should have enough left in the tank to fend them off. #2 Chelichna (5-1) has run in the 70s in her two starts since returning from an eight-month layoff and should keep moving forward third off the bench.

  • 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: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS

6-3-1-4

#6 Nomo Ron (1-1) is winless on the year but is dropping from the starter optional claiming level and has lost to some tough horses after setting the pace in recent starts. This should be a lot easier for him. #3 Dialing Dixie (7-2) was flat when he raced on the pace while wide a few starts back, but otherwise has consistently run in the upper-70s and low-80s in the last few months and will also be forwardly-placed. Although it’s a reduction in claiming price, this is a step up from his last race, which he won after pressing the leader. #1 Hard Fought (4-1) goes out for the first time since August 19 and was a sharp second in his last start at this condition.

RACE 4: MAIDEN CLAIMING $30,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)

7-4-2-5

#7 Blame B B (3-1) continues to drop down the class ladder. He cut back around one turn against better maiden claimers at Colonial last out and was a hard-charging third. The winner, Maya Prince, came back to win next out, while runner-up Covert Kat finished second against $45,000 types. #4 Bourbon On the Bay (7-2) has hit the board in each of his six career starts without a victory to show for it. He lost a photo for second in his lone grass race after a wide trip. This will be his first start since June 10, but he’s worked consistently since late September. #2 Cheval Dore (12-1) won a place photo last out at the Meadowlands against similar, in just his second start in the past 11 1/2 months. He was in improving form in Florida when he went to the sidelines last summer and will be a threat if he can put it all together.

RACE 5: CLAIMING $10,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES

5-7-1-2

#5 Dolice Vita (3-1) is the only one in the field who can consistently run in the 70s. He peaked at a 79 last out against slightly better. He has decent tactical speed so if he can work out a good early position, he’ll be involved late. #7 Vinny (6-1) didn’t get an ideal draw, but he handily won at this condition over the summer and has a high ceiling that has been overshadowed a bit by two straight lackluster races. If he can clear to the front he has a chance to improve. #1 Mr. Mosley (15-1) started his career 0-for-11, then pulled off two straight wins between here and Timonium. He was flat as a board last out and has gotten a bit of time off since then. He put in a solid workout on October 29 and if he’s back in form, he’ll likely show speed from the rail.

RACE 6: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)

5-7-2-8

A wide-open field starts today’s late pick 5. #5 Oro Gris (3-1) made mild ground and lost a photo for third in his most recent grass outing, which came at Pimlico in mid-September. He didn’t do much on dirt last out but is in improving form on this surface. #7 Bushwick Bruiser (4-1) matched his career-top two races back, when he crossed the wire first but was disqualified for coming in on his rivals. His last race at the Meadowlands looks terrible, but that was over a very boggy track. In fact, they cancelled the card after that race. As such, I’m willing to toss it out. This’ll be a much firmer course. #2 Cup Match (15-1) has a recent bullet workout on the dirt here and could prove tough to catch on the front end.

RACE 7: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $30,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES

1-4-5-2

#1 The King Cheek (8-5) looks like the stronger half of the coupled Jamie Ness entry. He has early speed from the rail and is dropping in class from second-level allowance optional claiming races at Delaware Park. He’ll try to get to the lead from the inside and keep on going. #4 Walk Away Joe (5-2) turned in a game performance at this level last out. He closed wide and lost to Kershaw, who got the jump on him by about two lengths, by a nose. If the pace isn’t too slow, he’ll make an impact late. #5 Forloveofcountry (6-1) dueled his pace-setting rival into submission last out and held on for third, with a season’s-best figure of 91. He doesn’t have to be on the early lead, however, and could work out a nice trip stalking the pace. Not long after this race goes off, Maryland-bred Aloha West will try to win the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland for the second straight year.

RACE 8: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)

2-5-8-9

This isn’t the strongest first-level allowance field we’ve seen around here. A lot of these either haven’t shown good grass form in a while or haven’t ever shown it. I’ll lean towards #2 Biz Biz Buzz (5-2) for Mike Trombetta. At this time last year, this son of Fed Biz looked promising, having broken his maiden on grass here followed by a third-place effort in the Futurity Stakes. In his two starts on grass this year in New York, he was well-beaten, but showed some life on the synthetic at Presque Isle Downs in his last two, with back-to-back figures in the 80s. This looks like the perfect storm of circumstances for him to clear this condition. #5 Boss Man J J (10-1) made his grass debut in the Maryland Million Turf Sprint last out and made a mild move on the turn, ending up with a figure of 77. He’s going second off a brief break and will race on or near the pace. #8 Airspeed Velocity (8-1) broke his maiden in gate-to-wire style at Pimlico on Preakness day and gets a much-needed cutback around one turn. He could prove dangerous on the lead.

RACE 9: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS

3-1-2-4

Two weeks ago, #3 Elusive Agent (2-1) looked like an interesting longshot in the Maryland Million Sprint. He came into the race off a dramatic come-from-behind win in a Maryland-bred n/w1x race, in which he beat Al Loves Josie, who came back to win last week in impressive fashion. However, Elusive Agent was scratched from his scheduled stakes bow, and now makes his return here. This son of up-and-coming Maryland stallion Blofeld has been in ascending form and will be tough to beat. #1 Askin for a Baskin (5-2) wired a starter optional claiming field last out and is the main speed threat in the race. Three of his best races this year have come in his last three starts. #2 Chocolate Shake (6-1) broke his maiden going away at Pimlico on debut and adds lasix.

RACE 10: MAIDEN CLAIMING $30,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)

1-7-3-12

One more to go, then it’s time to completely zone in on the Breeders’ Cup. #1 Midnight Choir (7-2) went off as the odds-on choice last out when shipping in from Presque Isle, but chased the pace while wide and ended up second. She has the best last-out grass figure in the field and should work out a better trip if you still believe. After two wide trips in a row when on the lead, #7 The Sweaty Fox (5-1) cuts back around one turn and adds lasix for Keri Brion. She loomed large most of the way last out then flattened out, and will try to build on that race third off the bench. #3 Categoryninetynine (9-2) turned in a big effort on the lead in her debut, setting the pace and holding on for third at 34-1. You won’t get those odds again but she should be fleet-footed from the gate under Jeiron Barbosa.

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