LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: NOVEMBER 25, 2022

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

Post time: 12:15 p.m.

Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $5,341 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0

Check out our other handicapping here!

RACE 1: CLAIMING $20,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS

2-3-4-6

It’s Bender/Politely day! Those two showcases of Maryland-bred/sired sprinters will come up later in the day, but in the meantime, we’ll start the program with some 2-year-olds. #2 Need a Marker (2-1) ran a big race to break her maiden second time out at Pimlico in September. She battled in the two-path for the lead in a hot duel. The horse she was battling with on the lead lost by 21 3/4 lengths. However, Need a Marker stood strong and pulled clear to win. That proved to be an especially strong maiden claiming race, as the second, third, and fourth-place finishers have all won between then and now. She’s had some time off since that last race but has plenty of good workouts in between. #3 O Shaughesey (9-5) broke her maiden in determined fashion two starts back on this track in August, then showed little against better in her first start off a two-month break. Need a Marker will be a tough rival, but the rest of these are softer than what she’s been facing and she has lots of upside. #4 Alas and Alack (7-2) stepped up to run far and and away a career-best brisnet figure last out, earning a 74 in a second-place performance. She’s going second off the layoff and stays at this condition.

RACE 2: CLAIMING $40,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 7 FURLONGS

6-1-2-3

More 2-year-old winners complete the early double. #6 Coal Mine (7-5) has run no worse than a 73 in three career starts and has made very similar moves each time. She’s one of two in here with a victory against winners, having stalked the pace and won under a drive at Delaware Park last out. #1 Fancee Grace C (4-1) broke her maiden in front-running fashion last out and looks to control the pace from the rail. She has a brand new trainer and jockey, as Hugh McMahon and Jeiron Barbosa replace Dale Bennett and Aubrie Green, respectively. #2 Laramore (2-1) is the other horse in the field with a victory against winners, having won at this condition last out after a long duel for the lead. She might get caught up in one with Fancee Grace C here, from which she’d have to do battle on the outside, but she’s also show tactical speed in the past.

  • 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: MAIDEN CLAIMING $30,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS

3-1-7-4

#3 Bourbon On the Bay (7-2) closed ground late on grass last out in his first start off a 4 1/2-month layoff. He’s never missed the board in five starts on dirt and has run no worse than a 68 in those races. He could simply be a seconditis type, but his figures are better than those of his rivals and he has room to improve second off the layoff. #1 Take Charge Too (9-5) has speed from the rail and looks fast enough to escape to a clear early lead. He got nailed late two starts back when he had a clear early advantage, but perhaps the shorter distance here will play to his favor. #7 Supreme Law (8-1) goes first time out for Richard Sillaman, who is sneakily good with firsters. This one has some good recent workouts and is a sibling to three winners, including multiple stakes-placed Don’t Blame Judy.

RACE 4: STARTER ALLOWANCE $5,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES

2-1-6-7

After building up an impressive streak, primarily at Penn National, #2 Curlington (8-5) makes just his second start on this track. He’s won five of his last six races, all but one of which have come at the oval near the Blue Mountains, and is a nose away from six straight wins. He likes to sit near the pace, and while there’s other speed horses in this race, he has an advantageous draw, especially with the short run to the first turn. #1 Sicilia Mike (3-1) crushed the field at this level two starts back, then took a slight step up in class last out and ended up finishing third with an 84. He’s rounded back into form in his last few starts after some disappointing races over the summer and will be heard from late. #6 Shoot Themessenger (3-1) also has great late speed and is coming off a first-level allowance win at Delaware. He’s run in the mid-80s in four of his last five starts.

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

8-2-5-9

#8 Red Wine Time (9-2) has been sailing on some rough seas since breaking her maiden at first asking in March. She competed in the Beyond the Wire Stakes second time out, and was no match. After going to the sidelines for a while, she came back to the worktab in late July and resurfaced in the Maryland Million Turf Distaff Starter Handicap. She faced much more experienced horses that day in her grass debut and was not a factor. Now, she’s trying n/w2L claiming company for the first time, and although it’s her first two-turn start, she was an impressive winner in a one-turn mile at first asking. #2 Torre Branca (6-1) takes a slight drop in class form her last dirt race and has slowly improved with every performance on this surface this year. Her best recent dirt race came when she was somewhat close to the lead, in contrast to her usual races, where she’s far out of it early on. #5 Shaolin (9-2) returns to the flats after a steeplechase try last out for Keri Brion. She broke her maiden in sharp fashion at Churchill Downs in July with a career-best 75.

RACE 6: CLAIMING $25,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES

7-9-8-11

#7 Burgee (5-2) has run in the 80s in each of his last three starts, the only one in the main body of the field to do so, and is going first off the claim by Anthony Farrior. He overcame a wide trip and lost by a nose against a similar field last out. #9 Shady Munni (10-1) races for the first time since August 4. He struggled chasing a slow pace most recently, but ran a very solid figure of 81 and had worked steadily since late October for Ferris Allen. #8 Down Cold (6-1) gets back to dirt after missing the board twice on the lawn and should get a good trip rating near the pace not too far off the rail.

RACE 7: HOWARD AND SONDRA BENDER MEMORIAL STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, MD-BRED/SIRED, 7 FURLONGS

3-4-2-1

The first of two stakes races on the card is named after longtime breeders Howard and Sondra Bender, who were the Maryland Breeders of the Year three times and bred the winners of six Maryland Million races, with La Reine’s Terms accounting for two of them. All eyes will be on #3 Whereshetoldmetogo (2-1), as a win will make him the newest Maryland-bred millionaire. He’s the exact type of horse racing’s all about: he’s a 13-time stakes winner, including last year’s Bender, and has won stakes races at ages 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7. He made mild ground late and lost an open allowance behind No Cents last out, but won three stakes races earlier in the year. That was about a month ago; usually he does better when racing off a longer break. That being said, he has a ton of class and usually works out a great trip near the pace. #4 One Ten (8-1) has won two in a row with big, swooping moves on the final turn. Although this is a tougher field than what he’s used to, if he makes that kind of move again, he’ll be hard to hold off. #2 Alwaysinahurry (3-1) closed well in the last eighth to get third in the Maryland Million Sprint last out and beat Wondrwherecraigis in an allowance race at Pimlico two starts ago.

RACE 8: POLITELY STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, MD-BRED/SIRED, 6 FURLONGS

6-1-5-2

Politely was one of the top fillies and mares of the late 1960s, and was voted Maryland-bred Horse of the Year in 1967 and 1968. #6 Fille d’Esprit (3-5) will get all the attention here, and deservedly so. She’s a four-time stakes winner on the year, having most recently taken the Maryland Million Distaff. All her bad recent races came with excuses: she didn’t ship well over the unusual Parx track in the Roamin Rachel Stakes, then acted up in the gate before the Alma North Stakes. If she behaves herself over her home track, she’ll go a long way to clinching a Maryland-bred Horse of the Year title of her own. #1 Juror Number Four (7-2) came from off the pace and got up to win a tough allowance optional claiming race last out, defeating promising Maryland-bred Intrepid Daydream in the process. She’ll get another good trip stalking the pace on the rail. #5 Paisley Singing (6-1) went gate-to-wire to win on this track last out and looks fast enough to cross over and get the trip she wants.

RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 1 MILE

2-3-4-5

More 2-year-olds wrap up the card. #2 Luv U Mary Jane (5-2) has run in the 70s in back-to-back races and cuts back after a game two-turn try last out. She gets a rider upgrade to Jevian Toledo. #3 Itsy Bitsy Izzie (3-1) chased the pace and flattened out going two turns last out. This race is somewhat in the middle: it’s around one turn, where she’s done her best work, but it’s going a mile. She should have a chance with an honest pace in front of her. #4 Sister Spirit (8-1) improved five points to a 58 second time out and adds blinkers.

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