LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: NOVEMBER 24, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 11:25 a.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $3,822 Super High 5 — $1,611 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: CLAIMING $40,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
There’s nine races on the Thanksgiving card, which begins 50 minutes earlier than usual. #7 Oro de Moro Moro (5-2) improved drastically first off the claim by Anthony Farrior, taking advantage of a great trip to win going away with a brisnet figure of 85. He handled a stretchout to a mile pretty easily; we’ll see how he does going two turns for the first time. It shouldn’t be a problem with the right trip. #5 Ghostlighter (9-2) was no match for the swooping move of One Ten, who won that day going away that day and came back to win a Maryland-bred allowance race in similarly impressive style next out. This one has run 85s in back-to-back starts but may be better suited for a one-turn mile. #2 Rustys Gfivefifty (2-1) chased the pace and tired against better in his most recent start, but runs in the 80s very consistently and has won three times at this distance.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $40,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
#4 Late Night Larry (3-1) made his first start off a three-month layoff last out, and held on to win after battling for the lead throughout. His figure of 82 is his best career mark by 15 points. He’s making his first start for Brittany Russell here. #8 Awesome Man (7-2) showed little after a wide trip at Pimlico last out, but ran an 81 three consecutive times prior to that race. #6 Baton (6-1) hasn’t raced on dirt since last December, but ran a much-improved race that day. He lost a photo that day and ran a 67, in contrast from his first two starts where he ran no better than a 64 and was never seriously involved. He’s raced well on grass this year and will be interesting if he can transfer his form to this surface.
- Jaime Rodriguez named Guild’s Jockey of the WeekPowered by a seven-win Friday at Laurel Park, jockey Jaime Rodriguez was named the Jockeys’ Guild’s Jockey of the Week.
RACE 3: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 1 MILE
#7 Big Ambition (5-1) was well-supported on debut at Delaware and held third after a wide trip. She ran a 67 that day, a mark none of the others with experienced have touched. She’ll be tough if she runs back to that race. #5 Cover the Spread (5-2) is one of two debuting in here for Brittany Russell. I’ll give this one the edge, as her works are slightly better than those of her stablemate. She’s been working just about every week since mid-August, recently shipping here after spending the summer and fall at Delaware. #3 Determined Lilly (6-1) debuted on grass in late October and showed speed on the inside before tiring. She keeps Jeiron Barbosa in the saddle and will try to build on that race in her first dirt start.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $8,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#4 Stay Out (4-1) won gate-to-wire at this level in August and doesn’t have a lot of speed drawn to her inside. She should be able to cross to the rail and the lead and get the trip she wants. #2 Devilish Affair (3-1) was no match for the top two last out, including Maryland Million Distaff Starter Handicap winner Mavilus, but made decent ground late and finished third. She narrowly missed at this level three races ago and outkicked Stay Out in that spot. Races second off the claim by Rudy Sanchez-Solomon. #1 Dulce Kiara (6-1) takes a drop after facing better in her last few and has great closing speed.
RACE 5: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
#4 Mystified (7-2) ran a 76 and a 79 in his last two dirt starts, and goes first off the claim for Anthony Farrior. He didn’t seriously contend in his first start at this condition, but he did run a figure competitive with these, and is one of the lighter-raced horses in the field, having lost “only” four times against winners. #3 Pursuing Pace (8-1) also has some upside, with just three losses against winners in his career and none of them at this low a level. He likes to rally for a share late, so expect him to linger towards the back early and close to shake up the exotics. #8 Icy Minister (6-1) has run in the 70s consistently in his last few starts, but didn’t pack much of a punch late in his last few. He closed to win here in April and still has some of the best late pace figures in the race.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $25,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 7 FURLONGS
#9 Dotada (5-2) has faced better in her last few on dirt, and now faces a very soft n/w2L field. She’s run at least a 75 in each of her last three dirt starts, while most of these have struggled to crack that mark even once. #3 Helluva Lady (7-2) is the only one who can consistently come close, running a 78 in each of her two dirt races (although they were spaced out). She chased the pace and held third last out; now she cuts back from a mile and goes first off the claim by Anthony Farrior. #6 Johnnyslittlegirl (10-1) broke her maiden first off a long layoff last out and will try to improve off that race. Jaime Rodriguez gets in the saddle for the first time.
- BackTracks: Missy’s Mirage “got the job done”In a new BackTracks: NJ-bred Missy’s Mirage became one of trainer Allen Jerkens’ favorites, a gray filly who “got the job done.”
RACE 7: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $30,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/8 MILES
This race is a rematch between the top three finishers at this condition on November 5. I’m taking #1 Nautilus (2-1) to turn the tables on #7 Forloveofcountry (3-1). Forloveofcountry managed to clear to the lead from the outside and got a relatively easy trip on the front end. That kind of trip will be tougher (though not impossible) to work out here, with the speedy Goodluckchuck drawn to his inside. Nautilus raced wide on both turns in that race, but even so narrowly missed by a neck. Unless he gets another bad trip and Forloveofcountry gets another good one, Nautilus is likely extract his revenge. #4 Walk Away Joe (3-1) was third in that November 5 race, and has run just about the same race in each of his five starts since returning off a long layoff in July.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W3X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
Based on his runner-up performance in the Maryland Million Classic last out, one might have expected #6 Vance Scholars (2-1) to resurface in the Richard Small Stakes on Saturday, or perhaps in New York for the Discovery Stakes on Sunday. Instead, he’s in action here. Since his gate-to-wire win in the Bald Eagle Derby to kick off his 3-year-old season, he’s been in great form on dirt, hitting the board in three stakes races while battling back gamely on the inside in his last two starts. In his last two races on this surface, it looked like he was well-beaten on the turn, but he fought back and secured third in the Japan Turf Cup and, as noted above, second in the Maryland Million Classic. There’s speed to his inside but he should be able to work out a good trip either on the lead or just off it while not racing too wide. #8 The Poser (5-1) made mild ground late and got up for third in the Classic, running at least an 89 for the third time in his last four starts in the process. The draw isn’t great for a horse with his mid-pack running style, but if he can work out a trip he’ll be heard from late. #3 Armando R (5-2) came from off a very fast pace to win the Japan Turf Cup last out. His only bad recent figure came at Delaware two races ago, when he made his first start in almost three months and was flat. He likely won’t get as good a setup as he did last out, but he should be right there at the end.
RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/8 MILES
#7 Good Knight Nile (3-1) did nothing in his career debut on dirt, but improved dramatically when switched to grass last out. He raced near the pace and engaged in a long duel before tiring late and holding second. Does he prefer grass that much, or was that race an indicator of improved form regardless of the surface? We’ll find out. #5 Ken Loves Kitten (2-1) has run between a 70 and a 74 in all four of his grass starts, and now makes his dirt debut. He’s almost gotten there in a few two-turn starts and will be tough if he takes to dirt. #1 Perfect Peace (8-1) improved more than 20 points second time on dirt last out, closing for fifth to earn a 63 on wet track. He’ll try to pick up the pieces late.
- Laurel Park picks and ponderings: March 19, 2023
- Charles Town picks and analysis: March 18, 2023
- Laurel Park picks and ponderings: March 18, 2023
- Laurel Park: Which jockeys and trainers are hot Mar. 17?
- Charles Town picks and horses to watch: March 17, 2023
- Laurel Park picks and ponderings: March 17, 2023