LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: march 26, 2023
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $8,201 Super High 5 — $989 Late Pick 5 — $10,201
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 1 1/16 MILES
#3 Haint Blue (9-5) chased the pace and got up for second in her dirt debut and first start off a long layoff last out. It’s a step up in class on paper, but this isn’t much tougher than the field she saw last out, and she should improve second off the break. #5 Just North (5-1) makes her first start for Brittany Russell after finishing up the track against much better in her first two starts. She had a very tough trip after a bad draw at Gulfstream Park last out, and has worked well since arriving here earlier in the month. First-time starter #1 Connie’s Dance (4-1) is a half-sibling to three stakes winners, including Vance Scholars, who has done his best work around two turns. This one has worked consistently since mid-January and shouldn’t have trouble handling two turns.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W3L), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#5 Crimson Rocket (5-2) battled on the lead last out and held gamely until the last eighth. He now takes a drop from the $16,000 n/w3L level and gets a rider switch to Jeiron Barbosa. After two straight wins, #8 Call Me Maestro (2-1) also dueled and faded in his last start, his first try against n/w3L types. He might get caught up in a duel from the outside post, but at least he’s shown the ability to rate, so Will Humphrey can back him off if deemed necessary. #6 Gilligan (8-1) was flat in his local debut, but should improve with increased acclimation from Florida and second off a ten-week layoff. At his best, he’s a major early pace factor.
- 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 SPECIAL WEIGHT, 4 AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
Lots of horses in here hate winning, so while it could be the day for one of time, I’m inclined to try a first-time starter. #7 St. Jude (4-1) debuts for Ben Perkins and gets Jaime Rodriguez, who will almost certainly be the meet’s leading rider, in the saddle. This one’s had some solid five-furlong workouts at Pimlico and should be ready for a big race on debut. I’ll watch the board with him. #6 Take Charge Too (7-2) has set the pace and faded in his last few. He’s worked well as he prepares for his first start since December 30. Can he last on the lead this time? #4 Carvellian Quest (2-1) ran some big races around two turns both around here and at Monmouth Park. He’s making his first start since July 10 since Mike Trombetta, but considering his races last year, it’s likely Trombetta has longer targets in mind with him and this is merely a prep.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#5 Dysfunctional (7-5) broke her maiden impressively on this track two starts back, then closed well for second at Parx last out behind an impressive winner who got the early pace jump. This one’s recent brisnet figures are much the best. #3 Yazzera (7-2), also an Anthony Farrior trainee, is coming off a solid front-running maiden-breaking score at Charles Town. This Peruvian-bred is unlikely to get as easy a trip as she did last time, but she’s very lightly-raced and is the only one in here without a loss against winners. #4 Classic Lynne (9-5) gave a stiff challenge to Backstreet Affair last out and held on for a clear-cut second. That one returned to win against n/w3L types next out.
RACE 5: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $12,500, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
The late pick 5, with a decent-sized carryover, begins here. #4 Free Square (8-5) is the only one in the field who has run at least an 85 in each of his last three starts. He raced wide most of the way and got third last out behind Pit Stop Man, who returned to win six days later and is back in on today’s card. #7 Spotted Bull (6-1) was third behind Pit Stop Man in his most recent win and has rounded into career-best form since returning from a long layoff in mid-November. #6 Backatya (4-1) ran some big races on this track last year, but has faded in his two recent starts in Pennsylvania. Last out, he tried to go two turns at Penn National, which was not in his wheelhouse. This race looks like more of his game.
RACE 6: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
If either Free Square or Spotted Bull win race 5, it’ll boost the stock of #5 Pit Stop Man (3-1), since, as noted above, he beat both of those in victory in his last two starts. He has great early and middle speed, so he can set the tempo and then run away from them on the turn. #9 Sponsored (7-2) has run career-best figures in each of is last three starts, peaking at a 92 most recently when third in his first start off a two-month layoff. He’s coming off a slightly shorter layoff here. #6 Magic Mule (9-2) finished ahead of Sponsored in that rival’s most recent, and has been third with solid late moves in each of his last two starts. He’ll hope Pit Stop Man burns himself out early.
- 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: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $12,500, 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 7 FURLONGS
#7 Awesome View (5-2) ran a big race at this level two races ago. She battled on the lead while racing wide and got up to win. She’s dropping back after an uninspiring race against better and gets a rider switch to Jaime Rodriguez. #3 Izzybella (4-1) goes third off the layoff and cuts back from a mile. She was impressive in victory going this distance two starts back; last out she battled on the lead and faded. #1 Little Ms Scarlet (2-1) drew off easily last out in the same race Izzybella exits. This one took a little while to recover from a September spill, but has drastically improved with every start since coming back.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE
#2 Glowsity (7-5) went off favored at this level at Aqueduct last out, and overcame a bad break to get second. She’s won her last two starts here and has easily the best recent figures. #5 She’sarollingstone (5-2) came from mid-pack and kicked away to win impressively last out over Mit Mazel, who has since won twice. This’ll be this one’s first start since January 13. #1 Italian Dressing (9-2) stretches out off a win at six furlongs. She has a strong closing punch but doesn’t always show it.
RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 1 MILE
Just about every pick 5 ticket will end with #3 Gymnast (3-5) singled, and justifiably so. She ran a 59 on debut on Tapeta at Gulfstream, then ran a 69 after racing wide throughout on grass. She’s now going on conventional dirt for the first time, and making her first start for Brittany Russell. If she takes to dirt at all, the rest of these are buried. #2 Imaginetheodds (4-1) has run in the 50s in all four of her starts and drops for a career-low tag. She was flat after racing wide last out, but should be able to work out a trip with a solid draw. #4 Princess Lexi (12-1) also drops from the $20,000 level and ran a relatively respectable 51 two starts ago.