LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: january 7, 2022
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $1,302 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
We’ll start the Saturday card with a nice, hearty helping of chalk. #5 Levisa (4-5) drops for a tag for the first time for Brittany Russell of a string of solid brisnet figures. She hasn’t run worse than a 67 in her three career starts, a number that many of these struggle to hit at all. She’ll be exceptionally tough to beat if she runs her usual race. #1A Bossyness (3-1) has declined a bit in her last few starts, but had excuses in her last two races. She dueled with stakes-placed Fast Tracked two races ago and backed up, then got caught wide throughout last out. She’s got a difficult draw here, but if she can work out a ground-saving trip she’ll have a chance to rebound. #6 Lady Lancer (10-1) just missed at this level in her most recent and should be a pace presence.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#1 Speak Your Mind (7-2) set the pace and got caught late in each of her last two starts. She’s going first off the claim for Anthony Farrior here. There’s not many rivals in here who can pressure her, so it’s just a matter how long can she can sustain her speed for. Visually, #2 Backstreet Affair (3-1)’s most recent start was less impressive than her maiden-breaking win two back. She rated wide off the pace at Penn National and faltered. However, she improved her figure that day to a 71, not far off her lifetime top. Look for her to rate near the pace and take advantage if Speak Your Mind falters. #4 Musical Cat (7-2) has run consistently sharp figures in her last three starts and cuts back around one turn.
- 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, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/16 MILES
#5 Reckless Affair (5-2) makes his first start on dirt, his first start for a tag, and his first start outside of his native California. Although an unknown quantity on this surface, he ran in the low-70s consistently on grass and gets to face a soft field in his eastern debut. #7 Hop and Scotch (5-1) is a consistent sort, having run between a 60 and a 64 in each of his five starts. He ran on well to hit the board going a mile in his last few starts and shouldn’t have trouble with the added distance. #8 Jones Falls (15-1) ran a respectable 62 in his debut and will try to improve on the stretchout. His dam, Ladina, has produced six winners from nine foals of racing age, with an average winning distance of 7.4 furlongs.
RACE 4: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W3X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
#5 Exculpatory (7-2) ran a big race on the lead against a similar field last out. He led most of the way and fought hard when challenged before giving way late. This stakes-winning Maryland-bred gets a rider switch to Horacio Karamanos, and if Karamanos is as aggressive as Angel Cruz was last time, Exculpatory can try to run them off their feet once again. #4 Kadri (9-2) was flat over a wet track at Aqueduct last out, and had a claim on him voided that day. However, he’s worked twice since then, which is an encouraging sign. Prior to the dull last race, he ran back-to-back figures in the mid/upper-90s. #2 Threes Over Deuces (8-5) had a frustrating year last year, as he hit the board six times without registering a victory. He was well-bet in his last two starts against these types but couldn’t quite get there both times. He’s likely to take a lot of money again, but doesn’t really have the closing punch needed to win races like this.
RACE 5: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
#5 This Ill Defend (5-1) has been racing at Parx recently for Jamie Ness and Jaime Rodriguez. He was well-bet in his last few starts and showed little, although his figures in those races are competitive with these. It’s a largely flawed bunch, so I’m intrigued by a Ness/Rodriguez horses who could go off at a decent price. #2 All For Love (8-1) won twice at the winter meet last year with great figures, but then went to the sidelines. He didn’t do much first off the bench, but he drilled a bullet workout last Thursday and should be ready to go second off the layoff. That bad recent line might throw some bettors off the scent, driving his price up even more. #1 Fort Fortitude (6-1) has run no worse than a 72 in his last three starts at this level, while hitting the superfecta at double-digit odds each time.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $40,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#9 Need a Marker (8-1) withstood pace pressure to break her maiden impressively at Pimlico last out. She hasn’t raced since that September 18 outing, and in fact has been entered and scratched since then. Still, I’m interested to see what she can do first off the layoff. #2 Musicmansandy (4-1), the only other horse in the race coming in here off a win, set the pace and went gate-to-wire against slightly lesser claiming types in her most recent start. There is speed to her inside, in Bosserati, but Musicmansandy looks fast enough to press her and wrestle away the lead without too much trouble. #6 Rowsie Express (6-1) was well-beaten while outclassed in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Stakes last out, but broke her maiden going away two starts prior and was a game third next out. This field should be more to her liking.
- 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: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $20,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES
#5 Big Cheeks (6-1) raced wide throughout last out and settled for fourth, but improved to an 80 second off the long layoff. She’s coming back here off a six-day rest and should be heard from late. #2 Click to Confirm (2-1) won just once last year from 17 starts, but faced rivals much better than these most of the year. She’s run in the 80s four times in her last five starts, so she should be right at home against these types. #7 Gamestonks (7-2) looked like a promising 3-year-old filly last year, winning three times in four starts, but went to the sidelines and didn’t return to the races until mid-September. She hasn’t quite rebounded to her promising form from last winter, but she made decent ground late last out and could be ready for a breakthrough effort.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W3X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#6 Response Time (2-1) set the pace and pulled away late to soundly beat a second-level allowance optional claiming field last out, running a career-best 95. There’s some speed to her inside, but she looks fast enough to clear them. If she does, she’ll be tough to catch. #2 Moody Woman (3-1) came from off the pace and roared on late to win a second-level race two starts back, outfinishing Response Time in the process. She made only mild ground in the Safely Kept Stakes next out, but this field features gems of a slightly lesser water. If Response Time can’t clear and the pace is fast, she’ll take full advantage. #1 Prodigy Doll (9-5) ran a 90 last out in her first start off a six-month layoff, finishing second at this condition. A stakes winner at 3 and stakes-placed last year, she’ll also do her best running late.
RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 4 AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE
#7 Notimelikepresent (5-1) set fast fractions by himself last out, and held on gamely to secure second. That marked the third time in his last four starts he’s run at least a 69, firmly in the range in which he needs to be to win. The big question is the distance; he faded last time going a mile, but it was against better rivals. #1 Grand Manner (3-1) improved to a 77 last out in a solid fourth-place finish, easily a career-best effort. He should sit mid-pack and save ground. #2 Bourbon On the Bay (5-1) goes third off the layoff and adds blinkers. He’s also getting a rider switch to Jeiron Barbosa, who won three races yesterday.