LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: MARCh 17, 2023
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $912 Super High 5 — $1,082 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W3L), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
#1 Total Effort (10-1) improved dramatically in his second start off the layoff last out. He dueled with favored Star Shopping throughout, but got the edge and won by a neck. It was just his third race since last April, as he slowly begins to round into a regular racing schedule. #2 Young Turk (5-1) is also in quickly improving form and should prompt the pace from Total Effort’s outside. He sat the trip and got second last out, but was outkicked by a rival who got an even better setup from further off a duel. #3 Despite Odds (8-1) cleared his n/w2L condition last out after rating on the pace and ran a career-best brisnet figure of 83 two starts back at this distance.
RACE 2: STARTER ALLOWANCE $5,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
Four of the seven entered in here last raced at this condition on Feb. 25. #1 Albertano (5-2) won that day, coming from well off the pace to win. He has great late speed and has run in the 80s three starts in a row. Look for him to be cruising late once again. #2 Velvet Ghost (7-2) fought hard against Albertano’s rally last out after racing closer to the pace, but ended up second-best. He won on the lead in his local debut two starts ago and should be close to the pace once again. #4 Antipoison (4-1) overcame a wide trip to win under a drive. His best races have come when he’s closer to the early pace, so hopefully Axel Concepcion, who won three races last Saturday and is hitting at 26% over the past month, will keep him forwardly-placed.
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RACE 3: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 7 FURLONGS
#1A Hidewright Away (3-1) stretched out to a mile last out for the first time and handled the extra distance well. She led most of the way and held third, with another career-best figure of 74. Cutting back a bit should help. #7 Miss Antietam (6-1) was moving up towards the inside last out when she was forced to check, costing herself a few lengths. She didn’t do much after that, but still ran a career-best 61, showing improvement from her debut. #2 Lil Spinner (9-2) closed for third despite a wide trip last out and has been in consistently solid form recently.
RACE 4: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $12,500, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES
#2 Bonita Lassie (5-2) stepped up to second-level allowance company at Penn National last out and held her own, finishing second after racing wide on the pace. Her only bad recent race came when she shipped to Parx; we’ll see how this Grantville gal does out-of-town here in her first Maryland start in more than ten months. #4 Big Cheeks (7-2) goes first off the claim for Jamie Ness after a tough trip at this level. She’s had two bullet workouts since the early February claim, so she should be back in top form. #1 Viking Queen (3-1) pressed the pace and got outkicked last out, for her third straight runner-up finish. She’ll get her setup near the pace on the rail; it’s just a matter of if she can kick on.
RACE 5: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
After four defeats as the favorite, #2 Pelota (9-5) went off as the favorite again last out, and this time split rivals late to win with a career-best 89. He’s run his best recent races on this track and has spent most of his time at Parx recently, which may have disguised his form somewhat. 6 Bahama Channel (9-2) hasn’t been competitive against better in his last few starts, but he should enjoy the drop in class and the return of Jeiron Barbosa to the saddle. #9 Erawan (7-2) cuts back around one turn off a third-place finish against better and will try to stay close to the pace.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#7 Sister’s Duty (15-1) has won twice in her last three starts at Charles Town, making her one of four in this 12-horse field who has defeated winners. She battled for the lead and flattened out to third in her lone start on this track, finishing well clear of one of her dueling partners and finishing behind the other, who was the even-money favorite. That was also her first start off a seven-week layoff; she won’t have as much rust here. #5 Baylis Street (5-2) has hit the board four times at this level but has yet to find the winner’s circle. While she’s run some great recent figures, including a 76 twice in her last five outings, she’s going to be tough to take a low odds. #8 Cocktail Dreaming (3-1) made a bit of a premature move and faded to third going a mile last out, but should be better off at today’s distance.
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RACE 7: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $30,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
#5 Thorny Tale (9-5) has won five of his last seven starts, all of them with the same sort of stalk-and-pounce trip. Without much speed in the race, he could find himself on the lead in this spot. #7 Captain Quint (6-1) has run an 88 and an 89 in his last two starts, both far and away lifetime-tops. #3 Everett’s Song (7-2), who hasn’t raced since November 2021, was scratched out of a tough allowance spot last Friday and resurfaces here instead. He won three in a row in the summer and fall of 2021 with some promising figures, It’s a bit interesting that he’d go for an easier spot and risk going for a lower claiming price, but he still has plenty of upside.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE
#5 Shaft’s Bullet (2-1) has run no worse than a 93 in three starts this year, and faced much better second-level rivals in a third-place performance last out. He should be sitting on another big effort here. #2 Be Better (5-2) makes his first start for the Brittany Russell barn. This one’s owned by Repole Stable; he and Russell teamed up for a Laurel winner last Saturday. He ran a pair of figures in the 90s last summer, but has missed the board in four tries since then, all against better. He’s looking for a fresh start in Maryland, starting with this race. #1 Dixie Drawl (7-2) was a hard-fought second at this level last out. He hasn’t crossed the wire first in a while, but always sits the trip and hangs around for a slice.
RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 7 FURLONGS
#9 Best Worst Idea (2-1) got involved in a contested duel last out and managed to hold fifth, 18 lengths clear of her sparring partner. The second, fourth, and sixth-place finishers in that race all came back to win next out, while the seventh and eighth-place finishers hit the board in their most recent. #3 Let’s Make a Zeen (8-1) had a lot of traffic in her last start but ended up getting up for second. She was well-beaten by the speedy winner, She’ll Make Waves, who came back to win her next start. #6 Five Star Fran (12-1) got caught wide near the pace last out, but doesn’t have much speed to her inside and should be able to clear.
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