LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: december 11, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $490 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $7,221
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: CLAIMING $12,500, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
We’ve got nine races on the penultimate Sunday card of the season. Jamie Ness and Jaime Rodriguez teamed up for three winners yesterday, and they’ve got the big morning line favorite here in #3 Trepat (7-5). He improved significantly to win his debut at Keeneland, dueling on the outside with a well-meant firster, then kicking away to win with a strong brisnet figure of 79. Ness took him out of that race for $20,000, and although he’s dropping in claiming price here, the fact that he went off at 3-1 last out despite lackluster form suggests it was not a very strong field. He’ll be tough if he duplicates his most recent. #4 Read the Spec (5-2) won at this level two races ago and was second behind the impressive Johnnyfrenchfri last out, with a career-best 72. #5 Great Days Ahead (9-2) exits the same racer as Read the Spec. In this one’s case, he was fourth after breaking awkwardly and getting forced back to last early on. In the start prior, he stalked the pace and drew off to win on debut when afforded a cleaner trip.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $10,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
All of my top three picks exit the same race at this condition on November 21. #4 Raise a Speights (7-2) won that day, winning a three-way front-end duel that lasted the whole race. He often gets himself involved in speed duels but has shown himself to be a tough customer on the front end. #6 Highland Dream (6-1) was one of the horses who dueled with Raise a Speights last out. He held on for third while racing towards the inside, earning a lifetime-top figure for the second consecutive race. He’s turned a corner since winning twice at Timonium. #7 Royal Spy (8-1) was a bit further off the pace than usual in that race, but got up for fourth in a race where no one did much running late. He’s been pretty consistent all year and should at least get up for a minor share.
- 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 $12,500, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 1 1/16 MILES
#9 Thencomemorning (5-2) did no running on debut at Delaware Park, but improved substantially in her second start, closing well after a rival who got a 2 1/2-length jump start on her. The post is the only major drawback. #6 Bali Hai (4-1) scratched out of a shorter spot yesterday to run here, suggesting her connections might want more distance. She was well-beaten against better in her first two starts, but did put up good late pace figures both times. #7 Ruxton Rocks (7-2) was well-bet on debut but showed little for Brittany Russell. We’ll see if she can do any better second time out. The connections give me hope, but she might get overbet because of them.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
#5 Ekati’s Verve (5-2) raced wide against tougher competition last out and stopped badly. If you take that line out, he has vastly superior figures compared to those of the rest. He ran an 89 and an 84 in two prior races, territory that the rest of these rarely if ever reach. His usual race handily defeats this bunch. #4 Resident Liberal (5-1) made a rare appearance on dirt last out, and led most of the way before tiring. It was a unique race for him. In his grass starts, he usually sits well off the early pace. Without much speed in this race, he’d be well-advised to once again go for the early lead. #3 Royal Crusader (2-1) rated off Resident Liberal that day, and ran on well for second, although he was outkicked for the victory. He did little first off the claim for Anthony Farrior but was back to his old self second time for the barn.
RACE 5: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
This race starts the late pick 5, with a modest carryover. #4 Bubba Chrome (6-1) just missed two races back when going today’s distance, but stopped badly when stretched out around two turns last out. That bad line is distracting, but he should do much better at one turn. #7 Elusive Image (3-1) improved to a 70 last out when he made ground up the inside. There were three horses in that race with experience, and they finished 1-2-3. One of those horses, Billykus, led most of the way against straight maidens yesterday but stopped late. This one will try to improve off that last race, the first one where he showed late interest. #8 On the Mark (7-2) comes out of the same race, and ran the best of the first-time starters. He chased the pace while battling for second and held on well, outfinishing the rival to his outside by 12 1/4 lengths.
RACE 6: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
My top two picks exit the same race at this condition on November 21. #6 Tauber (4-1) edged out #7 Chocolate Shake (6-1) for second in a stretch duel, while Treasure Tradition ran away from the field on the lead. The former’s run two straight lifetime-top figures and has been getting better all year, while Chocolate Shake ran a much-improved race after facing a tougher field at this condition two races ago. #9 Rock the Boat (9-2) came back off almost a year-long layoff to get second in the Maryland Million Turf Sprint behind Sky’s Not Falling, who came back to win an allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park at big odds on Sunday. This one broke his maiden in his lone dirt start in August 2021, and I’m interested in how he does on the surface now that he’s more battle-tested.
- 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: CLAIMING $12,500, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
#2 Bayliss Street (7-2) turned in a solid race first off the layoff last out, chasing the pace and holding third with a career-best mark of 76. She’s likely to be forwardly-placed once again. #1 O Shaughesey (5-2) broke her maiden on this track in August but faded after setting the pace last out. Usually, she stalks the pace, and I’d expect her to try and work out a trip from the rail. #4 Theola Fuggins (12-1) broke her maiden gate-to-wire at Charles Town at third asking and could find herself loose on the lead fi O Shaughesey decides not to go.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 2-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
Following an impressive maiden win at TImonium, #7 Lost Weekend (7-5) has faced tough company in his last two starts. He was second to Howgreatisnate, who recently came back to win the Future Stars Stakes at Parx last Tuesday, in the FIrst State Dash, then chased Johnyz From Albany in the Maryland Million Nursery and faded. These look like easier waters. #3 R B’s the Boss (9-2) has also faced tougher as of late, losing to the promising pair of Prince of Jericho and Valenzan Day last out at this condition. He already has a victory against winners on this track. #5 Tap in Formation (8-1) held on after setting the pace at Ellis Park, but stopped badly in his next two starts after dueling on the lead. He looks fast enough to control his own destiny on the lead in here.
RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 7 FURLONGS
#9 Haleigh B (3-5) ran an 82 in her most recent dirt race, which came first off a long layoff at Delaware Park. She hasn’t raced since August 14 and is taking a big class drop from the $45,000 maiden claiming level, but she should have her way with these if she’s anywhere close to her best self. #2 Tap N Glo (5-1) couldn’t track down a loose leader when closing from far out of it last out, but she did get up for second over Poet in My Heart, who beat $12,500 types in her next start. This one looks fast enough late to get up for second even if Haleigh B outruns them all. #4 M’Lady Thatcher (9-2) goes third off the layoff and cuts back around one turn. She ran in the 70s consistently earlier in the year but has struggled in her last few starts.