LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: FEBRUARY 11, 2023
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $6,898 Super High 5 — $448 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: CLAIMING $40,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/8 MILES
Four of today’s first five races are for 3-year-olds. #1 Collection Day (7-5) handled the stretch-out to two turns with ease last out, as he rated off the pace and won going away, defeating two of his top rivals in this field. He’s run brisnet figures in the 80s in back-to-back races and looks like he’s only getting better. #3 Time to Cruise (4-1) made his first start off a seven-week break last out, and was third behind Collection Day. He stalked the pace and re-rallied late to get a slice, although he was later disqualified due to excessive whipping. Nonetheless, he looks like he’s trending in the right direction as well. #4 He’s On Fire (12-1) broke his maiden going away last out and tries two turns for the first time. He could surprise with the right setup.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $20,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE
#8 Stardust Ziggy (7-2) was determined in victory at this level last out. He reeled in a free-wheeling loose leader who stopped, then fought hard with Dart in the stretch and prevailed, running a new lifetime-top of 73. If the early speed comes back to him again, it’ll be idyllic. #7 Bonded (9-2) also chased down Dart in his most recent, coming from a distant last to win with a sustained rally. He didn’t show much closing ability earlier in his career but has turned a corner in his last few starts. He’s going first off the claim by Kieron Magee. #4 Uncaptured Storm (6-1) got some time off after a dismal effort two starts back. The layoff proved helpful, as he broke his maiden going away last out with a strong rail move. He was claimed out of that race by Anthony Farrior.
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RACE 3: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/8 MILES
#1 Vax a Nation (9-5) was outkicked by the victorious Lamarvelous in his most recent start, but ran on well in the stretch and ran a new career-best of 78. He’s one of the few in here with positive two-turn experience, having finished second at 1 1/16 miles two starts back. In contrast, #3 Omo Dada (8-5) has dominant figures and dealt with traffic in his first two starts, but he’s never been beyond six furlongs. It’s hard to take a low price on a horse making such a dramatic stretch-out. That said, if Omo Dada can handle the distance, he’ll be tough to beat. He hasn’t run worse than a 76 in his two-race career. #4 Real Rambo (8-1) was in the midst of a rally in his debut at Charles Town when he got snarled in traffic. This is his debut for the Brittany Russell barn and his first start with lasix.
RACE 4: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $12,500, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#5 Oxide (6-1) ran a huge race going a one-turn mile two starts back, but declined a bit when he tried two turns in his most recent start. He might want a bit longer than today’s distance, but he has great late pace figures and will get a fast early tempo to run into, which will help him even if he’s not perfectly at home. If any of the front-runners will outrun the others and avoid getting caught up in a duel, it’ll likely be #6 Quick Tempo (7-2), who, appropriately, has the fastest early pace figures in the field. He dueled through fast fractions and powered away to win two starts ago, but couldn’t withstand the pressure at 1-5 last out. At least you’ll get much better odds here if you still believe. #4 Rominski (3-1) goes first off the layoff and first off the claim by Kieron Magee. He’s getting better with every start and should sit the trip near the pace.
RACE 5: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 7 FURLONGS
#7 Elusive Image (3-1) ran a solid race in his first outing at a mile last out. He sent his dueling partner into a sound defeat, and although he was swallowed up by a rival who sat a great stalking trip, but outkicked the others and finished a clear-cut second. #3 Orcovix (4-1) dueled and tired on the lead in his most recent, but stepped up to run a career-best 68. He’s dropping to a career-low level here, after previously competing for a $45,000 tag. #8 Danny’s Winkster (5-1) crossed the wire first at Charles Town last out, but was disqualified for causing interference to the runner-up not long after the start. He set the pace and handled challenges well in his last two starts in West Virginia; we’ll see how he does here.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE
#1 Torre Branca (6-1) has fallen far off the early pace and rallied late in her last two starts. She tried to come from last place in her most recent and ended up fifth, but tends to run better when closer to the early lead. Three starts back, she moved close to the pace in mid-race and lost by less than a length with a career-best 82. As long as she doesn’t drop too far back early on, she’s in with a shot. #2 Earley Rose (8-1) has slowly improved in her last few starts and gets Jeiron Barbosa back aboard. She raced evenly against better last out, but further improvement could produce a surprise. #5 Hov Lane (5-2) has finished second in her last two starts at this level, both times at low odds. She’ll show early speed, but will have to demonstrate a better late punch to break through.
- Photo Essay: Private Terms day in picturesIn this photo essay, The Racing Biz photographer Allison Janezic captures the horses and people who starred on Private Terms day at Laurel Park.
RACE 7: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
It’s another race with a lot of speed. In spots like this, it’s good to find horses who have already shown they can withstand pace pressure, in case a duel develops. That’s the case with #5 Sevier (3-1). He dueled through sharp fractions here two races back and never got a breather on the front end, but held on to win by a half-length, defeating next-out winner Askin for a Baskin. This one does his best running at his Parx base, but he’s never missed the board in four starts here and will prove a tough customer on the lead. #7 Al Loves Josie (2-1) was flat in his return off a seven-week layoff in the Fire Plug Stakes, but he’s now taking a (slight) drop in class and has shown the ability to rate in his last few starts. He was a game third in the City of Laurel Stakes in his 2022 finale; that type of effort likely wins this. #6 Gerrys Gem (5-2) has won five in a row on the Laurel main track, but now gets his test with a tough draw in a race with a lot of speed. He has great early pace figures, so he might be able to clear the others and leave them reeling, like he did last time in a first-level race.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
#3 Tappin Josie (2-1) wouldn’t have been terribly out of place in next Saturday’s Wide Country Stakes, but new trainer Horacio De Paz has decided to stick with a shorter distance. He claimed this filly out of her last start, where she won in front-running style despite racing erratically in the stretch. It looked like Kevin Gomez had a hard time keeping her straight, and the filly bore out twice after being hit with the whip. She has lots of natural speed and will be tough to catch if she behaves. #2 Naval Empire (12-1) was third behind Tappin Josie that day, closing well while wide in her first start since closing day at Colonial Downs. It was easily her best outing so far, with a career-top figure of 79, and she has room to improve second off the layoff. #1 Liquidator (7-2) held well until the last eighth going a mile last out. This distance should be more to her liking; she beat winners going 5 1/2 furlongs two races back.
RACE 9: CLAIMING $25,000 (N/W2L), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 7 FURLONGS
All three of my top picks are making their first starts following a claim. #6 Tap N Glo (5-2) kicked away strongly off a duel to break her maiden last out. Once a promising 2-year-old in the Brad Cox barn, she lost a maiden race by a neck at Saratoga in the summer of 2021 but missed most of last season. She’s going first off the claim by Brittany Russell and looks to continue on the road to improvement. #3 Patty Cakes (5-1) was taken by Jamie Ness out of her last start and cuts back from a mile after making a menacing move and flattening out last out. #5 Paris Kentucky (9-5) makes her local debut after getting claimed by Emmanuel Geralis in late December. She showed promise last fall at Keeneland and Churchill Downs, including an impressive win at the former track with an 84, and will try to rebound off a flat race at Turfway Park.
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