LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: december 31, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $8,060 Super High 5 — $987. Note: all pools will be forced out today.
Check out our other handicapping here!
Nice step forward last out for #1 No Me Digas (8-1), in his first outing for trainer Sammy Davis. Sure, he was 14 behind the winner, but that winner came right back to be third at a higher level in his first against winners… #10 Secret Sanctuary (2-1) is likely the best of these but has now failed three straight versus similar and will have to overcome the outer post with a short run to the first turn… #9 Positraction (8-1) is, if nothing else, the “My Cousin Vinny” hunch play of the day. Showed a little life when picking up tired ones in his debut and can move forward…
#4 Dolice Vita (3-1) already owns three wins at this 1 1/16-mile trip, including his last two tries, and should be in a good spot to do so again with an up-close trip… #1 Speak Unity (8-5) just missed against better in last and should be a major player here, but his edge isn’t quite pronounced enough to accept the morning line… Let’s see if #5 Galatians (10-1) can recapture the form he flashed a year or so ago in his third try off the bench…
- 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.
There looks to be plenty of early speed in this contest, which could be good news for runners like #10 Ellie Victorina (9-2) and #1 Levisa (5-2). The former rallied smartly for the place and galloped out with the winner in last versus similar, while the latter didn’t make too much impact but is taking a two-level drop from special weight company… If any of the speed sorts stick around, it could be #5 Divisibility (3-1), who finished third against better in last…
#2 Domineer (3-1) set a solid pace in last before settling for second in her first try in trainer Kieron Magee’s barn; Magee wins at a 26% clip second off the claim with horses in the money first off the claim… #4 Bahama Pearl (12-1) has run poorly on off tracks in three of her last four and tried her luck at Charles Town one other time. You have to go back to September to find her on a fast track that’s not a bullring, and she won that day… #5 Shackleford County (3-1) ran down our top selection in that one’s last, though this one has a decent interim effort…
First dirt try in Keri Brion’s barn went to plan for #11 Shaolin (4-1), who won by a neck. The hot-riding Toledo has the return mount for a runner who finds a good spot to make it two straight… #10 Red Queen (5-2) has won at this level previously and is 2-for-2 at the distance. It feels like a bit of a fire sale to have her in here for the bottom of the claiming range, but on the other hand, she’ll lose eligibility for this condition after today, so perhaps nothing to worry about… The late-running #2 Salagadoola (8-1) drops a step after a not-so-good effort but can make an impact here, especially if some pace develops…
It’s been a good year for #1 Bigmancan (6-1), who’s been in the money 10 of 12 starts, including eight straight. He’ll be facing tougher than he’s seen, but he’s gradually been working his way up the ladder all year… The speedy #5 Kozy’s Wildcat (8-1) won the speed duel last time but lost the war as Bomboloni sat a winning trip. He’s been in the exacta five straight… #4 Girls Love Me (7-2) has competed well against similar and makes his first (and only) start in trainer Dale Capuano’s barn after the claim. Capuano’s been winning at an 18% clip off the claim…
- 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?
Several of these juveniles earned their first wins running on the front end. One who didn’t, and who might get a good setup here, is #6 John Hall (7-2). The Brittany Russell trainee rallied on debut to win by two in a race that’s produced a next-out winner… #8 Feeling Woozy (8-1) had no answers last out in the Maryland Juvenile, but his prior start was sharp. He likely will be up close early… After a pair of sharp outings to open his career, #3 Lost Weekend (3-1) arrives in this spot with a pair of disappointments. He’s a handful on his best in this spot…
The distance is the question for #7 One Ten (5-2) – he’s 0-for-3 at 1 1/16 miles – but the form certainly is not. He’s won two of three and last was second behind the talented next-out winner Alwaysinahurry… #1A Benandjoe (5-1) doesn’t need the lead – he won three back rallying from off it – but his natural speed might put him there by himself in this spot, and if it does, he might be tough to reel in… #3 Nautilus (7-2) crushed two-other-than rivals at Penn National in last and should fit here… This race is also notable because trainer Dale Capuano will send out the last runner of his career in #5 Dixie Drawl (4-1)…
The lightly raced #6 Poet in My Heart (4-1) won nicely last out, and the show horse came back to graduate next out. The addition of blinkers certainly seemed to help, or at least, didn’t make things any verse (see what we did there?!?!)… Maybe the improved result in last against lesser will give #8 Roselee (10-1) the confidence to come back and contend with these… #2 Polish Cookie (5-1) hasn’t shown much in three tries versus winners, but the easier company should help…