LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: december 10, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $0 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
#7 La Tache (3-1) ran a career-best dirt race last out when she rallied wide and ended up losing by just a half-length. It was a much different performance than in her prior races, where she flattened out before the turn, and is an encouraging sign going forward. #6 Willful Desire (2-1) made her first start for the Ned Allard barn last out at Aqueduct, and flattened out after a wide trip. She’ll look to rebound as she returns to the Mid-Atlantic and will hopefully show her usual early speed. #4 Ojitos Bellos (9-2) was an even third on debut for Jamie Ness, and will try to work out a similar trip near the pace.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $25,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
#3 Divine Law (6-1) chased the favorite on the lead last out, but held off the others and got up for second in a blanket finish. He ran a brisnet figure of 78 that day, far and away a career-best. #6 Votethemallout (7-2) had mixed results on grass all year, but was a solid third in his lone dirt start, which came at this level in October. He gets Johan Rosado aboard for the first time. #2 Practical Sense (2-1) got up to break his maiden at Delaware Park last out with a career-best 77. In fact, he’s run in the 70s four times in five career starts. He’s making his first start for Brittany Russell and has some recent good workouts.
- Several local runners among Barbara Fritchie nomsThe nominations for the Barbara Fritchie Stakes upcoming at Laurel Park include several local runners, among them last year’s show horse Fille d’Esprit.
RACE 3: MAIDEN CLAIMING $30,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE
#3 Chelonian (4-1) was well-beaten in three starts against better maidens in Kentucky, but now makes local debut first off the claim for Jamie Ness. He was once highly-regarded, selling for $300,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale last year as a son of Gun Runner. In his debut at Indianapolis, he was the 6-5 favorite. He’s run figures in the low-60s earlier in his career, which should be good enough to win this. #10 Hop and Scotch (6-1) was no match for Collection Day, who went off as the odds-on favorite and won easily last out, but this one overcame a wide journey and finished well-clear of the others for second. He’s run in about the same range every time, earning either a 62 or a 64 in three dirt outings. #4 Wilderzar (7-2) is another one who’s shipping in from Kentucky, in this case for Norman Cash. He got up for second in a promising performance on debut but has yet to recapture that magic in three subsequent starts against better. A drop in class and a change of scenery could help.
RACE 4: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $20,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
#2 Thorny Tale (5-2) has won three of his last four races, including an impressive win here two starts back where he defeated next-out winners Yes Sir Robert and Sicilia Mike. He’s the only one in the race who has run at least an 80 in his last four starts, making him consistent if nothing else. His stablemate, #6 Plamen (2-1), was claimed for $16,000 for Jamie Ness on April 3, but hasn’t raced since then. He’s been working very well since October and finds himself as the dominant speed. If he’s back to his usual self first off the layoff, he should be able to get to the front and keep on going. #3 Goldini (5-1) was flat in his dirt debut two starts back, but grinded out a win against these types at Aqueduct last out. He’ll rate near the pace and hope for a pace to run into.
RACE 5: MAIDEN CLAIMING $12,500, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/8 MILES
#3 Secret Sanctuary (9-2) was no match for the swooping bid of Blameitonthefun most recently, but he outkicked the others and was second, matching his career-top figure with a 65. His worst dirt race came around two turns, so it remains to be seen how he’ll do at a longer distance, but he’s lightly-raced, relatively speaking, and in improving form. #4 Maybe It’s Time (9-2) held his own going two turns at Delaware earlier this year and looks like the main speed threat. #12 Runyonesque (7-2) ran a big race on the lead to get second in his dirt debut, running a figure of 74, but has a tough draw with the far outside post. The best-case scenario for him might be to rate just off the leader while saving as much ground as he can.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#1 Camelia Rod (5-2) went off as the favorite at this level last out, but had an awkward break and was left with too much to do. She’s had some time off since that September 17 race, but has worked well recently. Her best race likely wins this one. #3 Speak Your Mind (9-2) led most of the way last out but was nailed late. She has a perfect post position and gets to run at the same distance as last time, so at least she won’t have to carry her speed over any extra distance. #2 Raise Your Game (12-1) stumbled at the start and tossed Sheldon Russell last out, which obscures her form somewhat. She broke her maiden in front-running fashion three starts back and ran a respectable 67 in her first start against winners. With a little improvement here, she could surprise.
- Which horses had the best post-CT Classic careers?Art Collector’s win in Saturday’s Grade 1 Pegasus got us wondering: which winners of the Charles Town Classic had the best careers after their Classic win?
RACE 7: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
Four horses in the field have experience. Of that group, I lean towards #9 Billykus (9-2). He chased the very fast Landon Jack on debut and stopped badly. Second time out, he dropped in class to maiden claiming company, and led most of the way before getting caught by one of the two other horses in the race with experience. He improved more than 30 points in that race. This is also a pretty inexperienced group, so he should be able to clear to the front and leave them reeling. #8 Kerness (5-2) goes first time out for Jamie Ness. This one’s had some good workouts, including two bullet drills at Delaware. Ness has hit at 17% with first-timers this year, a solid rate, and about even with what he’s been hitting at this Laurel season. #7 Weekend Tizzy (7-2) cuts back around one turn and has a good recent bullet workout for Kevin Boniface. He flattened out after a wide trip last out but might improve with the shorter distance.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W3X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
Today’s feature is a wide-open allowance sprint featuring some local stalwarts. #6 Going to the Lead (4-1) gets my vote in this one. He dueled on the lead in the Bender Stakes with Tappin Cat, and held on for third. That race was a bit out of character for him; generally he rates off the pace and packs a strong late kick. He should rate on the outside and get his trip. He’s also a good value option. #4 Golden Candy (5-2) has raced just once this year, a Pennsylvania-bred allowance win at Penn National. He’s been working for a while for his return and will be tough if he runs his usual mid-80s/low-90s figure. #1 Threes Over Deuces (8-5) has yet to win this year but consistently runs the best figures in the race. Has he finally found a spot where he can win? Possibly, but you’ll have to take a low price on that proposition.
RACE 9: CLAIMING $16,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
#5 Virginia Fulla (10-1) was in over his head in the Maryland Million Classic in his most recent dirt start, but won three straight prior to that, with back-to-back figures of 85. He was bumped at the start and did nothing on grass last out, and those recent two lines have obscured his form. Take those out, and he looks pretty good against these. #4 Backatya (7-2) also has obscured ability, as he’s been racing on sealed tracks a lot as of late, which he doesn’t like as much. In his last start on a non-sealed track, he stalked the pace against similar and held second with a 90. #9 Heads Or Tails (7-2) was fanned wide in his first start of the claim for Anthony Farrior. He ran in the 80s in three straight starts prior to that race, including two narrow defeats to Gerrys Gem, who’s won five of his last six.