LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: August 6, 2023
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $0 Jackpot Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#3 Shasta Star (8-5) is a perfect 3-for-3 on grass since joining the Bob Klesaris barn last spring. She came from off of mild fractions to win at this level on this track two starts ago. This will be her first race since May 28. #4 Threatlevelmidnite (2-1) has shown speed and faded in her first three starts since arriving in the mid-Atlantic earlier this year. She was forced into setting very fast fractions last out, but still managed to lose by less than two lengths while losing a show photo. If the fractions are a bit milder here, she’ll be tough. #7 Polished Gal (6-1) improved her brisnet figure seven points to a 75 second off the layoff last out. She didn’t have much of a punch that day, but has room to improve third off the layoff.
RACE 2: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
All nine runners in this one are Maryland-breds. #2 Never Grew Up (7-5) may have been best in his last start. he raced wide throughout and ran down a pacesetting but was swallowed up by longshot Thunder Lad, who saved a bit more ground and got up by a neck. This one stretches out from five furlongs and should pack another strong closing punch. #7 Laddie Dance (6-1) exits the same race. He had trouble keeping a straight path, but managed to hold fourth for a respectable first-out finish. He should show speed once again. #5 Rubys Flash (8-1) improved five points to a 66 for the Jamie Ness barn at Delaware Park second time out, leading most of the way and holding second behind an impressive perfect-trip winner.
- 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: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#8 Battlebus (3-1) isn’t the flashiest type, but he’s a hard-knocker who has found himself involved in some close finishes against these types. He sat a nice stalking trip and prevailed in his last grass start, then was a strong second two grass races ago on this track. He’ll get another nice setup here and will have the full length of the long stretch to get into gear. #6 Love You Much (6-1) exits the same race as Battlebus, where he was fifth in his first start in nine months. He’s dropping in class after spending much of last year in second-level allowance races, and should enjoy the extra ground to fully display his closing kick. #3 Bourbon and Ice (9-2) made what looked like a promising move to the lead last out at Colonial Downs, but needed up getting outkicked late. His figures are in the upper echelon of this race, but he’ll have to show more in the final stages.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE
In a field where she looked much the best two starts ago, #1 Thunder Boss (5-2) set the pace and powered away. In her first start against winners, she set the pace and got caught in the last few strides, losing in a blanket finish. She’s never gone beyond seven furlongs before, but she’s the main speed of the race, so the added distance may allow her to set a slower early pace and leave her with more energy for the stretch run. #7 Magnificent Pearl (7-5) made only mild ground in her first two dirt races of the year, but turned in the best starts of her career on this surface last year. Maybe coming back here will reawaken her peak form. #2 Bossyness (7-2) has tailed off a bit in her last few starts but did run in the 70s consistently earlier this year. She’ll try to wake back up after a disappointing grass experiment last out.
RACE 5: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE (GRASS)
This race features amateur riders. #4 Tres Maria’s Dream (10-1) made her 2023 debut last out, in a race where everyone else had started in the past seven weeks. Despite her lack of recent experience, she closed ground off a mild pace and got up for fourth, running a much-improved figure compared to her last grass start in September. #1 Call Me Vivian (9-5) also made her first start of the year last out, closing off an unusual pace scenario (the first two quarters were very fast, followed by a 26.81 third panel) to get fourth. She ran some big figures on this track last year, but may be at a perpetual disadvantage due to her lack of early speed. #2 Wine in the Dark (5-2) led most of the way before tiring in her first two-turn try last out, and is a threat to go coast-to-coast here.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
#6 Grand Manner (7-2) was flat going shorter last out, but has run in the 70s consistently in route races. He should be on the early pace and will likely be in no worse than the two-path by the time they hit the first turn. #2 My Slick Nick (4-1) made a promising move in his local debut last out, but couldn’t quite get by and finished second. He ran in the 70s for the second time in his last three starts that day. He’s cutting back slightly here from 1 1/8 miles. #1 Not as Lucky as Us (8-1) is the only one in the field without a loss against winners, having broken his maiden last out at Colonial with a great stalking trip. He was closer to the pace than usual that day, and pretty much had to be with how dawdling it was. That strategy may serve him well here: rate close to the leaders while covered up on the rail, then move through an opening once horses start tiring.
- 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: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#3 Up for It (7-2) may have burned a lot of money in her last few starts, going off at 5-1 or less every time, but she’s run in the 70s with some regularity and faces a field with six first-time starters. This might be a “now or never” moment for her, unless one of the firsters is a freak. The horse with the best chance of being one is #5 Little Baby Girl (12-1), who has two bullet workouts in her last three listed drills for David Howard. Her dam, Vuemont, has produced two grass winners, including stakes-placed Kokokomo. #8 Proud Mary (8-5) has already racked up some frequent flier miles for Jonathan Thomas. She was entered for grass on debut at Ellis Park, but it was washed off. She stayed in the race and chased the pace, then shipped to Del Mar and had a few workouts there, and is now back on the east coast. She looks well-meant for the grass, being out of Absolute Crackers, who was stakes-placed on the lawn and competed in graded events on it.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE (OPEN), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#7 Street Lute (5-2) was a weather-related scratch from the Alma North Stakes last Saturday, and now resurfaces here as the one to beat. She stalked her speedy stablemate Princess Kokachin last out, and while she couldn’t reel her in, she outkicked the others and finished second. With plenty of speed signed on, she’ll work out a great trip drafting off the pace a few paths from the rail. #5 Deco Strong (5-1) was third behind Street Lute that day, then was fourth against much better in the Alma North Stakes last out. None of her rivals here are as good as what she faced that day, so she’ll have a great chance to display her late punch. #4 Self Isolation (9-5) faded after getting entangled in a duel in the Regret Stakes last out. She ran much better in her two prior starts where she was close to the pace without being directly on it.
RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#6 Wind Event (5-2) recovered from a bad start to charge hard and lose a photo for third on debut. He’ll add blinkers second time out for Jerry Robb. #3 Duckpins (3-1) ran no worse than a 71 in three races to start his career year, but hasn’t raced since December 30. He usually sits close to the pace and makes a nice middle move. This time, he’ll try to sustain it. #5 Bar Down Express (9-2) has regressed a bit since getting claimed by Kieron Magee three starts back, but at least faces an easier field at this condition than the one he saw last time. He hasn’t made the front in his last few races like he did in the past; doing so here might be the key to victory.
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