LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: march 25, 2023
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $6,688 Super High 5 — $706 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: CLAIMING $40,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE
#3 Uncaptured Storm (5-2) has run a brisnet figure no worse than 83 in his last three starts. Last time out at this condition, he chased the pace and held clear for second, although he could not catch the front-running early leader. If anyone gets away early here, it’ll probably be #5 B West (9-5), who was pressed on the pace and faded against better last out but now takes a slight drop in class. He’s run between a 79 and an 83 in his last six starts, including an impressive maiden-breaking score where he snuck away on the lead and crushed the field. #1 Chelonian (9-2) was third behind Uncaptured Storm in his most recent and will also be near the pace from the rail.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $20,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 7 FURLONGS
#7 Stardust Ziggy (15-1) won at this level three starts back and was a solid second two starts ago, but was done in by a slow break in his most recent start. Take that race out, and his best figures fit in with these, and he’ll be a much better price than the other contenders. #4 General Nooz (4-1) was well-beaten against much better in his last two starts, but ran an 80 when breaking his maiden in a determined front-running effort three races ago. #9 Shackinthebox (9-5) didn’t do much at Parx last out and has had some time off since an uninspiring third-place performance there last out. However, he’s run in the 80s in each of his last two starts on this surface.
- Nick’s Turf 10: Busy weekendFour weekend turf stakes for sophomores impacted the latest edition of Nick’s Turf 10, with the top-ranked runners running like it.
RACE 3: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#3 Running River (8-1) came from well off the pace to get second on debut last out. He was beaten by huge longshot Rascally Rebel, who came up the inside to win while Running River was forced to run in the center of the track late. #6 Long Rap Sheet (8-5) was rushed up after a poor start on debut and faded. He’s worked for a while for his 3-year-old debut and adds lasix for the first time. #5 He’s Pure Talent (7-2) has been caught wide in both of his starts but improved sharply to a 69 last out.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#5 Tenax (2-1) held well for third after racing wide on the pace last out. His figures are somewhat in-and-out, but he’s had excuses in his recent bad races. #1 Carmichaelspioneer (4-1) makes his first start against winners, and his first start since last April. He lasted through a duel and held on to break his maiden last out with a much-improved 76. He has lots of potential, but might need one first off the bench. #2 Thruster (7-2) consistently runs in the low/mid-70s while making even-paced late moves. I expect more of the same here.
RACE 5: CLAIMING $5,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
#1 Bernie’s on Fire (3-1) made his first start in almost four months last out, and ran a game race after getting caught wide on the early pace. Now, he’s drawn towards the rail, which should put him in a more advantageous spot early on. He has potent early speed and won three times against similar on the front end last year. #6 Manolete (5-1) ships from Parx and has run in the 80s in each of his last six starts. He was outkicked in his last start, but put in solid closing moves in his prior races. #4 Forth (5-2) has a big figure edge on these, but is taking a precipitous class drop from $20,000 starter optional claiming types.
RACE 6: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $20,000, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
If Forth does in fact win, it’ll boost the stock of #4 Bigmancan (7-2) a little bit. He finished third ahead of that rival last out, coming from well off the pace. This one will try to sit a stalking trip in the clear and kick on late. #10 The Sicarii (8-1) exits the same race, and finished fifth after breaking awkwardly. He’s consistently run competitive figures with these, but has been no better than third in his last three while never looking like a serious threat to win. Still, he can shake up the exotics at a good price. #5 Savoy (8-1) ran some giant figures towards the end of last year, including a third-place finish in the Dave’s Friend Stakes, but hasn’t raced since finishing up the track in open allowance company on January 29. On his best day he’s tough, but he might need a race first off the bench.
- Keri Brion looking to make a splash at Delaware ParkKeri Brion is best known as a steeplechase trainer, but with a string at Delaware Park, she’s looking to make her name in the flat racing world.
RACE 7: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 7 FURLONGS
#4 Liquidator (9-5) sat a great trip off the pace and last out and fought gamely to hold off Happy Clouds for the win. That one finished second in the Beyond the Wire Stakes last Saturday. #7 Devil Pays in Gold (7-2) was the most supported of the numerous first-time starters last out, and lived up to expectations as she made a solid, professional move to get up for the win. I’m interested to see what she can do first time against winners. #3 Miss Fussy Pants (2-1) ran a career-best 84 in her first start off the claim by Anthony Farrior last out, setting the pace and holding second. This South Carolina-bred filly has run in the 80s in each of her last four starts and will be forwardly-placed.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS, 7 FURLONGS
For all the ink that has been spilled about Coffeewithchris, it’s possible he’s not even the best Maryland-bred 3-year-old in John Salzman Jr’s barn. That honor could well be bestowed on #1 Left Hand Thread (3-1). He made his first start off a near-ten-month layoff last out, and stalked the pace before exploding away powerfully under a drive in the stretch. He ran a 96 that day, the best last-out figure in the race by four points, and an impressive number for a horse who hadn’t raced in so long. If he wins like that again, it could bode well for a big future. #5 Johnnyfrenchfri (5-2) also comes in off a career-best race last out in his first start off the claim for Brittany Russell. He won under a drive going away at this distance with an impressive 92. #3 Heldish (6-1) was stakes-placed three times last year and races for the first time since a well-beaten outing in the Spectacular Bid Stakes. He faced some tough rivals in those stakes, but this might not be a soft group to return to.
RACE 9: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W3X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/8 MILES
#7 Excellorator (2-1) was game in victory two starts ago, coming from well off the pace to win by a nose over Shaft’s Bullet. Last out, he was pace-compromised and settled for second. There’s no obvious lone speed like there was in there, which could be a blessing and a curse. #1 Treasure Trove (4-1) couldn’t keep up with stakes company in his last two races, but ran two big figures earlier in the year against these types. He should be right at home in this spot. #5 Ain’t Da Beer Cold (5-2) couldn’t hang with Nimitz Class in the John Campbell Stakes — no shame in that — and ended up third. As noted above, there isn’t a lot of speed in here, so he could find himself in a more comfortable situation on the front end.
RACE 10: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE
#5 Holding Court (2-1) chased eventual winner Nibbles last out and ended up holding second after that rival kicked away. It was a much-improved race from her first start off the layoff, and she should get even better here. #3 Torre Branca (3-1) came from the clouds to get third behind Nibbles and Holding Court in her most recent start. Her M.O. is to draft way behind early and close for an exotics spot. #1 Rationalmillenial (8-1) goes third off the break and has run some respectable figures in her last few starts.
OF ALLTHE ONES I HAVE TRACKED OVER MY 78 YEARS–YOU ARE THE TOP IN MY ”PICKS”–YOURINFOIS USUALLY SPOT ON– KEEPUPTHE GOOD W0RK–PAPA NEEDS THE $$$$$ —THANK YOU
Thank you very much!