LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: FEBRUARY 17, 2023
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $915 Super High 5 — $472 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: CLAIMING $25,000 (N/W3L), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
We’ve got eight races on the General George/Barbara Fritchie eve program. #1 Trash Talkin Larry (2-1) got caught wide in both of his recent starts, his first two tries at the n/w3L level. He’s cutting back around one turn and gets a much more favorable draw. In contrast to his last two races, here he should be able to rate off the leaders on the inside and pounce. #6 Tate (9-5) has the brisnet figure edge, running an 88 and an 89 in his last two starts. No one else has run that well in each of their two most recent tries. However, last year, he became notorious for continually falling short in spots where he should’ve won. He won a n/w2L claiming race going away on Thanksgiving, but that was his only win of 2022 to go along with seven second-place finishes. He has to be considered in here but I’m a bit suspicious at a low price. #3 Filippo (5-2) goes second off the claim by Jamie Ness. He won his first start for that outfit on the front end at Parx last out. While there’s a lot of horses in here who also like the lead, he has the best early pace figures in the race and could sneak away.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $5,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#8 Dancer’s Melody (5-2) overcame a bad start and surged wide to win at this level two starts back, defeating next-out winner and rival in here Shackleford County. This one is the only horse in the field to have run in the 80s in her last two starts; only one other horse has run even a 75 in back-to-back races. That’s #2 Adhwaa (5-1), who ships in from Parx. She flattened out going 6 1/2 furlongs in her most recent outing, but she’s run her best races at today’s distance. #1 Shackleford County (3-1), as noted above, came back to win at this level in her most recent start, albeit against an easier field than the one she’ll see here. She’s hit the board in her last seven tries and should get a good trip on the rail.
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RACE 3: CLAIMING $20,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
With the 8-race card, the rainbow pick 6 begins here. I was high on #2 Need a Marker (7-2) in her comeback race on January 14, as I remembered her solid maiden score at Pimlico in September. While she was flat that day, she dropped in class second off the layoff and drew away impressively to win, just missing her career-top figure with a 72. She got a good trip off the pace that day, but there’s lots of speed signed on in here as well. One of those speed horses is #6 Musicmansandy (9-5), who was rushed up to the lead after a poor beginning last out and faded. Her most recent win came three starts ago, when she made the lead without being urged on and drew away. The break might tell the story with her. #3 Lastchancechancey (5-2) fought back to win on debut at Parx, and now adds lasix for the first time for Jamie Ness.
RACE 4: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $30,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
This race starts the late pick 5, and I reckon many tickets will single #5 Boss Logic (6-5), with good reason. He crushed a similar field two starts back, then ran second next out behind Torch of Truth, who returned to win a third-level allowance optional claiming race. Torch of Truth defeated Plot the Dots, the Jennings Stakes winner, that day. Fellow Jamie Ness trainee #1 Frosted Indian (2-1) has speed from the inside, and the only one who could really press him early is his stablemate. If he could slow things down enough early on, he could be long gone. #2 Dixie Drawl (3-1) was cut off in the stretch at Charles Town last out in the midst of a winning move. He was elevated to victory via disqualification. In that race, he was attempting to chase down a loose leader, which is encouraging with this race’s likely pace scenario.
RACE 5: MAIDEN CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE
My top three picks exit the same race on January 27. #6 California Ghost (7-2) has steadily improved in his last few starts. He made a breakthrough last out. In contrast to his prior recent races, where he raced evenly in the stretch at best, he closed solidly wit a wide move and got up for third, running a career-best 66. #9 Spectrier (5-2) battled for the lead with #5 Fowl Nation (3-1) that day, and while Fowl Nation gave way in the last sixteenth, Spectrier battled gamely and was caught late by a surging rival. Spectrier ran far and away a career-best 66 that day after starting his career with two disappointing tries. Fowl Nation, meanwhile, has run in the 60s in back-to-back starts.
RACE 6: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
Last out, #2 Kilbrittain’s Red (7-2) was the only first-time starter in the field. She was fairly well-bet, going off as the 6-1 third choice, and led most of the way before tiring in the last eighth and holding third. Now, she finds herself in the reverse spot: she has experience in a race where six of her rivals are first-time starters. She’s cutting back from seven furlongs here and should improve second time out. #5 Appealingtothe Eye (4-1) makes her career debut for Cal Lynch, who was a strong 8-for-26 with first-time starters last year. This one has some solid workouts at Fair Hill and should be ready to go today. She’s the first foal to race for stakes-winning mare Appealing Maggie. #1 Reppazz (6-1) has two recent bullet workouts as she gets set for her career debut. Her dam, Harissa, won the 2011 Barbara Fritchie Stakes, plus three other stakes races, and has produced five winners from as many starters.
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RACE 7: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, MD-BRED/SIRED, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#8 Fuhgeddaboutit (2-1) came from off the pace tow in an open first-level race last out in a professional performance. She’s rapidly improved in her last few starts, running career-best figures in her last two races, including a 92 last out. #5 I’m Gittin There (4-1) rallied wide last out and got second behind My Flicker, an Anthony Farrior trainee who won when he was in the midst of a heater and who won three in a row of her own towards the end of last year. This mare is also in rapidly improving form. #1 Haleigh B (5-2) won her first two races for Brittany Russell, then led most of the way last out and was caught by Fuhgeddaboutit. We’ll see if cutting back from six furlongs helps her sustain her speed.
RACE 8: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#5 Utterly Enchanting (9-5) was no match for overwhelming favorite Miss Casey last out, but chased her gamely and finished a clear-cut second. She gets a rider switch from Richard Monterrey to Jaime Rodriguez, currently second in the rider standings. #2 Notion Interruptus (12-1) has a decided lack of early speed, which puts her up against it from a win betting standpoint. However, she has great late pace figures and could surprise in the exotics. #6 Ms. Malevolence (5-1) drops from the open $8,000 level and looks to keep improving fourth off a brief layoff. She ran in the 70s consistently last year; those marks would get the job done here.
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