LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: May 4, 2023
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $0 Super High 5 — $35,717 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 7 FURLONGS
We’ll begin the final week of the season with an 8-race card, which in turn begins with a field of ten going seven panels. #3 Dialer (5-2) drops in class for the Jamie Ness/Jaime Rodriguez combo, which has cooled off a bit since their hot March, but is nonetheless potent. This one stopped after racing wide in his last few starts, but has still run brisnet figures of at last 65 in each of his four career stars. As long as he saves more ground, he should enjoy the class relief. #4 Alligator Arms (5-1) put away his dueling partner and held clear for second last out, losing only to a favored rival who sat a beautiful trip off the tussle. This one improved his figure more than 20 points from his debut and showed speed for the first time. #2 Bar Down Express (8-1) makes his first start since September, and his first appearance for the Rudy Sanchez-Solomon contingent. This one showed speed and faded in his first start at Gulfstream Park, but has worked well since mid-March, and could be dangerous if he takes a step forward from age 2.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
#4 Cavalry Command (10-1) improved sharply second off the layoff last out, running a 70 after chasing the pace. He’ll add blinkers for Tim Salzman and might get overlooked as he tries older horses for the first time. #3 Street Hustle (9-2) is also racing third off the layoff, in his case a year-plus one, and has shown speed and faded going longer against better in his two starts this year. He looks fast enough to clear to the lead from his post position, and he could find himself in idyllic conditions from there. #10 Notimelikepresent (4-1) broke his maiden in gate-to-wire fashion second off the claim by Anthony Farrior last out, and will be on or near the pace here.
- Circle P rallies to win Maryland JuvenileCircle P benefited from a spirited speed duel and a patient Ricardo Chiappe ride to win the Maryland Juvenile Stakes Saturday at Laurel.
RACE 3: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
8-6-5-4 (DIRT: 4-14-2-3)
#8 Time Goes Fast (5-1) displayed improving grass form towards the end of last year, peaking at a 73 after prompting the pace on this course on October 29. While she hasn’t raced in a while, at least she’s proven on grass, unlike a lot of these. #6 Determined Lilly (12-1) checked out of contention on debut last October, in a maiden race that has gone on to produce stakes winners Opus Forty Two and L Street Lady. She’s getting lasix for her 3-year-old debut and will be interesting if she can handle two turns. #5 Tanka Tough (8-1) didn’t have much aptitude for jumps, and now goes back to flats after three tries over hurdles (including one at the Warrenton Point-to-Point not listed in the past performances). She ran in the 60s towards the end of last year and will be forwardly-placed early on.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $8,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
#1A Northern Thunder (3-1) cuts back around one turn after finishing a game second behind Oxide, a three-time winner this year, most recently. He’s faced tougher rivals all year long, but hasn’t run below an 81 in four starts this season, right in the range he needs to be in to win. #3 Honor the Fleet (5-1) didn’t do much at this level two starts ago, then dropped to $5,000 and completely crushed the field in his most recent. This a tougher field than the one he saw that day, but at least he’ll be able to stalk the pace near the rail. #8 Badger Tooth (10-1) has improved his figure marginally in each of his last few starts, and while he might be a bit too slow early to win at seven panels, he has good closing speed and can sneak into the exotics.
RACE 5: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#7 Box N Ben (9-5) ran a game race last out. He raced wide on a multi-way duel, then held the lead late and finished second behind a perfect-trip rival. He’s going third off the layoff for Cal Lynch and should put it all together here. #11 Admit Nothing (15-1) acted up a gate quite a bit in his first start, but got settled during the race and closed well behind Box N Ben, running a solid 69. He could be an interesting longshot if he improves a bit. #4 Runaholic (9-2) led most of the way through honest fractions last out, his first start since last July, and finished a game third. He finished ahead of Dialer that day, who returns earlier today. If that one wins, it’ll boost Runaholic’s stock a bit.
RACE 6: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, MD-BRED/SIRED, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
12-3-10-5 (DIRT: 5-6-3-9)
#12 Except Temptation (9-2) is the only one in the field who has raced on grass this year. In her first start off a near five-month layoff at Tampa Bay Downs, she saved ground all the way and was a game third. The winner of that race, Prudent Song, was second in stakes company next out, while runner-up Saturday Nite Girl was victorious in her next performance. #3 Flimsy (9-2) ran in the 80s in her final two grass starts last year, but didn’t do much on dirt over the winter. They might serve as nice preps for today’s spot, a race Ferris Allen has probably had in mind since he claimed her for $40,000 in January. #10 Downtown Katie (2-1) found her best self towards the end of last year, running four straight figures in the 80s while finishing no worse than second each time. Her deep closing style often leaves her with a little too much to do late, so while she’s dependable for the exacta, she could cause some heartbreak for her backers in the lane.
- Martina Rojas: “Nothing like loving your job”Preternaturally driven apprentice rider Martina Rojas has opened some eyes of late with solid meets at Presque Isle, Timonium, Pimlico and now Laurel.
RACE 7: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W3X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#3 Going to the Lead (7-2) made two moves in his last start. He went for the front, was backed off the pace, then made another rally for the lead as they turned for home. Although he was no match for the very impressive Classier, who returned to win the off-the-grass Henry S. Clark Stakes in his next outing, this one closed well for second with another figure in the 90s. He was claimed out of that race by Michael Gorham, and should rate the trip near the pace. #2 Exculpatory (5-1) ran his best race in a while last out, as he led most of the way and held third. He might not challenge for the lead in this one, but he has the ability to rate if he wants. #4 Where Paradise Lay (9-2) faced better all winter at Tampa Bay and has great closing speed.
RACE 8: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
12-5-6-4 (DIRT: 4-5-8-11)
While his half-sister, Caravel, will take center stage in tomorrow’s Unbridled Sidney Stakes at Churchill Downs, #12 Mission Man (9-2) is looking for his first career win. He dueled and stopped badly in his first start of the year last out, but now returns to his preferred surface. He ran in the 70s twice on grass as a 2-year-old last year. #5 Take Charge Too (9-5) goes second off the layoff and has blazing early speed. However, he can’t always sustain his speed, hitting the board eight times in ten career starts without a victory. He’s run some giant figures lately, so it’s possible he’s on the verge of putting it all together against a soft field. #6 Blame B B (7-2) makes his first start of the year for Anthony Aguirre and closed well in his final two starts of last season.
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