LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: december 9, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $1,450 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: CLAIMING $16,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/8 MILES
After a week with a 12:05 p.m. first post time, we’re moving things back 20 minutes, at least for the time being. #7 Red Queen (9-5) sat a golden trip to win going away two starts back, then got a similar setup next time out and finished a solid second. The last time she raced around two turns on a bigger track, she was well-beaten in the Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park (behind Secret Oath), but did break her maiden going 1 1/16 miles in the prior outing. As such, even though she hasn’t gone this far before, she’s proven at similar distances and the extra ground shouldn’t be her undoing. #6 Startwithabang (8-5) has finished second four times in a row. She’s been very lethargic early on in her last few races and has left herself with too much to do in the end. In her last win, which came on this track in July, she rated close to the pace. She’ll have to do that here to give herself a serious chance at victory. #4 Miss Chamita (9-2) just missed at this level two starts back at Delaware Park, making up ground in the last eighth after working out a similar trip to the winner, albeit one path further off the rail. Her brisnet ceiling is below that of the top two, but she can definitely close for a piece.
RACE 2: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#7 Celtic Cousen (4-5) was well-bet on debut, going off at 5-1 despite being the lone first-time starter in the field. He couldn’t catch the front-running upset winner, but ran well to get second, running an 89 while finishing 6 1/2 lengths clear of the rest. He’s facing a pretty flawed bunch here and should have them at his mercy if he runs anything like he did first time out. #6 Take Charge Too (4-1) has early speed, but hasn’t shown the necessary stamina to hold on late. His early pace figures indicate that he *might* be able to sneak away on the lead, but more likely than not he’ll get entangled on the lead, or decide to sit just off it, and hang on for a slice. #1 Phra Phrom (6-1) has run in the 70s consistently lately. While his 0-for-19 record makes him hard to endorse, he has good closing speed and will be running on late, especially with a fast pace in front of him.
- Laurel: Weekend stakes speed figuresWondering what the winning speed figures were for the six Laurel Park stakes this past weekend? Answers inside…
RACE 3: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
#1 Girls Love Me (7-2) improved a bit second off a long layoff last out, running an 88 when closing for fourth into a fast pace. When he ran career-best races here in the winter of 2021, he was close to the pace, but has been slow early on in his last two races. If he’s near the pace early on, he’s especially dangerous. #2 Yes Sir Robert (2-1) won at this level going 1 1/16 miles last out and will try to duplicate the magic at a shorter distance. He has done well at this distance in the past, including a sharp gate-to-wire win going six panels at Churchill Downs in June. #8 Bigmancan (5-1) ran a game race in a stretch duel last out, outfinishing Yes Sir Robert but losing by a neck to The Cairo Kid, who makes his first start since then in here. Bigmancan, by contrast, has raced twice since then, with a pair of respectable efforts against similar on grass. He should work out a stalking trip in his return to dirt.
RACE 4: MAIDEN CLAIMING $12,500, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE
After flattening out late in his first three dirt starts, #2 Slingshot Boy (3-1) took a step forward last out. He moved up to duel for the lead and eventually wore his sparring partner down, but was outfinished by a rival who sat well off the pace. Nonetheless, he earned a career-top figure of 64 and proved he can withstand going a mile. #4 Bullout (5-1) exits the same race as Slingshot Boy. He broke slowly and was way out of it early on, but finished with mild interest and got fifth. He’s improved his figure with every start, most recently running a 57. We’ll see if he can keep it going. #6 Whiskey Mischief (9-2) ran a much-improved figure second time out at Delaware, although he was still well-beaten. He’s racing for Hugh McMahon for the first time and adds blinkers.
RACE 5: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE
#4 Hov Lane (5-1) crushed the field two starts back to break her maiden impressively, then was a solid fourth against better n/w2L foes, including next-out winner Meraviglioso, last out. She’s stretching out to a mile for the first time. #1 Sweet Sensation (3-1) dueled on the lead off the rail last out, and although she was well-beaten, she outfinished her dueling partner by nine lengths. She’s bounced around between different kinds of spots on different surfaces but looks at home against this group. She ran a 76 in a race with a tough pace scenario, and with an easier trip should perform even better. #9 Lucky Lorraine (12-1) ran in the 70s in each of her first two starts against winners, but stopped badly in her most recent start when favored. She could surprise at a decent price if she bounces back.
RACE 6: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 7 FURLONGS
#1 Moses Water (6-1) set the pace in his dirt debut last out and hung in there until the last eighth after setting honest fractions. He should be able to get another front-running trip from the inside here. #2 Imagine It All (5-1) exits the same race as Moses Water. That day, the pacesetters finished 1-2, but Imagine It All closed well from last and got up for third after rallying wide. It was the first time he’s made a sustained late bid on dirt in a while. #8 Notimelikepresent (7-2) takes a career-low drop in class and cuts back from a mile, after flattening out on the lead at that distance last out. He ran a career-best 74 at this distance two races back.
- BackTracks: Star de Naskra “really something”In a new BackTracks: Maryland-bred Star de Naskra gave owner-breeder Jiggs Lancaster his first stakes winner in a long career — and then a whole lot more.
RACE 7: CLAIMING $40,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#6 Runup (3-1), last year’s Sorority Stakes winner, continues her search for her first win of her 3-ear-old season here. After a disappointing 3-year-old debut on this track in April, this Maryland-bred homebred for Mattress Mack has run respectably well in two starts against n/w2x types at Indianapolis, with figures of 77 and 81 in her first two races since returning from a four-month layoff. She has the back-class to handle this field easily. #7 I’m Gittin There (8-1) was well-beaten in her last two starts on grass, but ran a career-best 88 in her most recent dirt start, where she sat the trip and won going away. Those recent lines on the lawn might obscure her promising dirt form and drive him her price. #5 She is Wisky (3-1) has run in the 80s in four of her last five dirt starts and has some good recent workouts for her first start since June 19.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#4 Winked (5-2) ran far and away a career-best figure last out, earning an 86 while defeating Targe, a four-time this winner this year who beat starter allowance company last Saturday. This filly looks fast enough to outrun the rest early on. #3 Wicked Hot (9-5) flattened out after a wide trip in the Maryland Million Distaff last out, following a terrible trip in a first-level allowance race at Saratoga. She ran figures as high as 94 over the summer, and with a more normal setup here, getting back to that level wouldn’t be a surprise. #6 Icy Stare Down (2-1) makes her first start for Brittany Russell and makes her third start off the layoff. She ran an 87 to break her maiden about a year ago at Oaklawn Park, but hasn’t been on dirt in a while, most recently finishing unplaced in two grass tries at Aqueduct. She should enjoy getting back to this surface.
RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/16 MILES
#5 Home School (6-1) has taken big steps forward with every start since joining the Norman Cash barn earlier in the fall. He fought hard in the stretch last out and just missed. He’s also the only one in the field with two-turn experience. #1 Circling the Drain (4-5) ran an 80 on debut when second behind Feeling Woozy, which is the best last-out figure in the field by seven points. He could handle two turns easily, but you’ll have to take a low price on that proposition. #2 Gaming Soul (5-1) is out of Mariisima, a successful broodmare in her native Panama. This one’s had some good five-furlong works getting ready for his debut for Claudio Gonzalez.