LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: november 19, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:15 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $42,222 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
7-10-14-11 (DIRT: 12-14-9-2)
Nine races on the slate for a chilly fall Saturday. #7 Mashua (7-2)‘s brisnet figure declined a little in her last start, but it was a more visually impressive effort. She chased the pace and held on for second, running a 62, in contrast to the 64 she earned in her grass debut. Nonetheless, most of these struggle to get into the 60s, and she’s done it every time she’s been on this surface. It’s also nice that she’s lightly-raced, with this being her fourth career start. #10 Categoryninetynine (8-1) held on for third in a game front-running effort on debut, but flattened our after showing speed last time. It’s an open question as to which version of her shows up today, but she’s going to be a factor on the early pace regardless and is especially interesting if she can sneak away early. #14 Midnight Choir (8-5) dueled down the lane and just missed in each of her last two starts, both times going off as the favorite. She’s taking a bit of a drop in class here but will need to show more down the lane.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $8,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
#5 Giocare (7-2) ships down from New York and continues to drop in class; he was in for $20,000 two races ago. That might be a red flag to some, but it’s likely Rudy Rodriguez just wanted a two-turn spot against a softer field than what he could find up there, and that’s exactly what he’s encountered. He ran in the 80s earlier in the year, and those figures will contend in this race. #3 Alberto (4-1) doesn’t have much early speed, but he did grind his way to victory at this level last out, overcoming a slow pace to do so. Most of his five wins this year have come when close to the early tempo. #1 Angelus Warrior (7-2) comes in off a win at Delaware Park and will show speed from the rail. He held well despite honest fractions both times, but if he slows things down on the lead here, he’s especially dangerous.
- Winning Time scores in PA NurseryDebut 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 $25,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES
#6 Unadulterated (5-2) has thrown in two clunkers this year, including one two starts back on a wet track, but otherwise runs in the 80s every time out. She overcame a bad start last out to close for third in her first start off the claim by Jerry Robb. #2 Startwithabang (4-1) came from way out of it to get second in the Maryland Million Distaff Starter Handicap last out, her third consecutive runner-up finish. She has great late pace figures but will need a pace to close into. #1 Grace’s Secret (6-1) didn’t do much in her local bow last out, her first start off the claim by Anthony Farrior, but won two of her prior three in Kentucky and makes just her second start against n/w3L claiming types.
RACE 4: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
#5 Levisa (7-2) is one of two interesting fillies in here trained by Brittany Russell; I’ll lean towards this one considering she has experience. She’s already bounced around from barn to barn quite a bit, with this being her third different trainer in three starts. After making mild ground in her debut at Colonial Downs, she had an awkward start as the favorite at Presque Isle Downs last out and faded after showing speed. She’s cutting back from a mile, which should help the cause. #8 La Traviesa (9-2) improved sharply second time out for Michael Matz, when she rated off the pace and closed for third at Delaware. She should work out another good trip near the pace. #6 Creole (4-1), the other Russell entrant, has been working since mid-August for this spot and should be ready to fire, although she may end up wanting more distance.
RACE 5: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
All three of my top picks in here are relatively lightly-raced. #4 Raise Your Game (6-1) drops in class a bit after trying $16,000 n/w2L types in her first race against winners last out. Her two best figures have come in her last two races. #2 Boss Angel (6-1) broke her maiden going away in July on this track, but then missed the board in three straight races against better. She’s run in the mid-60s in all those races; that kind of form probably wins this race. #6 Hot Lookin Royal (8-1) closed well late in her last dirt start, which came first off the layoff at Pimlico in September. She went gate-to-wire to win on debut in April but has not shown that kind of early speed since.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $25,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#3 Lexinator (6-1) makes her Laurel Park debut and her first outing of any sort since June. She held her own against better at Presque Isle earlier this year, running no worse than a 75 in three starts over that track. This will be her first start on conventional dirt, with most of her starts having taken place on Tapeta at Presque Isle and Gulfstream Park, but she’s worked well on this surface over the last few weeks. #2 Senson (8-1) has slowly ascended the class ladder with three consecutive victories. She ran a career-best 83 two starts back and almost always runs in the mid-70s. Look for her to rate near the pace towards the rail. #1 Tam Char (12-1) fought hard and got up to win a n/w2L race last out, in her second start off a long layoff. The runner-up, Icy Reply, won a n/w2L race next out and was most recently second against conditioned claiming foes. Third-place finisher Megaviglioso also came back to win a $16,000 n/w2L race in her next start.
- 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: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
7-13-12-10 (DIRT: 3-14-1-4)
#7 Full Count Felicia (7-2) broke her maiden in impressive fashion over the summer at Colonial. She roared from off the pace to win going away with an impressive figure of 88, then stepped up to an 89 in the Virginia Oaks, a race where she finished sixth but was well-supported at the windows. She’s had some time off since that race and now drops in class. #13 Ampilo Esquema (8-1) closed strongly for third in the Maryland Million Ladies last out, matching her career-best figure with an 83. She’s taken a step forward in her last two starts against stakes company and should do her best running late. #12 Lisheen (3-1) ships down from New York, where she’s held her own against first-level foes with consistent figures in the 80s. She won going away in her last start on this track in July, in her first start off a long layoff. She defeated My Thoughts that day, who came back to win the Fort Indiantown Gap Stakes at Penn National next out.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 2-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#5 Valenzan Day (9-5) was no match behind the very impressive Post Time last out, but he raced clear of the others and secured second with a figure of 86, the fourth time he’s hit that mark or surpassed it. The only one who’s come close to that in his career is #8 Prince of Jericho (8-5), who broke his maiden impressively second time out for Brittany Russell with an 89. He was no match for his stablemate Post Time at first asking, but last out he rated off the leaders and kicked away emphatically. He’s getting a class test here, but he can be Valenzan Day if he runs back to that last performance. #7 Bo’s Bourbon (12-1) checked out of contention in the Maryland Million Nursery last out and was well-beaten. He was also dull on debut, but he crushed the field to win going away in the race in between. This isn’t an easy spot by any stretch but the kind of move he made in his maiden win could win this.
RACE 9: CLAIMING $12,500, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
#1 Cocktail Dreaming (5-2) gets some class relief after a wide trip did her in in the Maryland Million Lassie. She won impressively on this track in June but has not hit the board in three stakes tries since then, even though her figures compared to these are very competitive. #4 One Las Olas (6-1) sat the trip and got up to break her maiden last out, and with lots of speed in here, she could get a similar setup. #3 Bayliss Street (5-1) cruised on the lead to break her maiden at Delaware last out, but has run good figures without the lead in the past.
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