LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: september 29, 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
We’ll kick off the Laurel Park fall stand with a 10-race card. The three grass races scheduled for today were pulled off yesterday. #2 Raise Your Game (15-1) closed well at this level on grass last out at Colonial Downs. She’s one of two in the field who has run a brisnet figure in the 70s in each of her last two dirt starts. #1 Claire’s Darling (12-1) had a tough trip racing wide on the lead at Timonium last out. This time, she looks like the fastest horse early on by far, so she should have a much more comfortable time on the pace. #7 Ninja Abarrio (50-1), the other horse in the field to consistently run in the 70s on dirt, showed some mild foot in several tries at Monmouth Park this summer. Any of her recent races should contend against this scattershot bunch.
RACE 2: MAIDEN CLAIMING $30,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#7 One Way Farrior (7-2) showed little on debut at Timonium, but improved dramatically second time out at Charles Town, raising his figure 24 points while finishing a strong-closing second. As long he doesn’t regress here, he’ll be tough to beat. #1A Return Fire (3-1) showed speed while wide at first asking at Timonium, and while he outfinished his dueling partners, he couldn’t hold off a longshot who rated off the fast pace. He looks like the fastest one early here, and should be potent on the front end. #4 Dubai Fire (8-1) flattened out after showing speed last out at Delaware Park and barely held second. He’ll try to last a little bit longer on the pace today.
- 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: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
#2 Irish Warlock (3-1) was thrown for a loop at the start of his most recent race, when he broke awkwardly and raced far out of position early on. However, he closed strongly late, missing second by just a half-length with a career-best 81. He’s in improving form, and will be especially tough with a clean start. #4 Improper (5-2) was well-beaten in his last two starts against better in New York, but ran in the 80s twice earlier this year. If he can regain that form in his first start for the Rudy Sanchez-Solomon barn, he’ll be tough to beat. #3 Sweet Syntax (12-1), whose half-sister, Fille d’Esprit, returns later today, broke his maiden as much the best last out at Timonium. While the race was essentially a walkover on paper, he was in improving form prior to that start, and has shown more late energy with each performance. He’s interesting at a good price.
RACE 4: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
#11 Bondiva (9-2) chased the pace on debut at Colonial and ended up a strong second behind a front-running favorite. She’ll try to work out a similarly good stalking trip here. #8 Too Many Kisses (2-1) drops back in class after a try against the boys. In her last start at this level, she closed well and lost to a rival who got a four-length jump start on her. We’ll see how close to the pace she stays here. #12 Whatsyourbigidea (3-1) closed well and lost a photo for second on debut at Colonial, and now adds lasix second time out.
RACE 5: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, MD-BRED/SIRED, 7 FURLONGS
I may end up chasing #2 Freeze the Fire (2-1) forever in pursuit of him replicating his debut, but if I do, so be it. He wasn’t at home in a grass experiment last out, so you can toss that race out. He flattened out against better in the Star de Naskra Stakes two starts back, but ran in the 90s prior to that. If he repeats either of those efforts, he’ll find his way back into the winner’s circle. #1 Order Ofthe Kettle (3-1) ran a career-best 82 when second last out, despite not having raced in almost a year. He was really getting going towards the end of that contest, and should appreciate more distance. #3 Friar Tuck (6-1) lasted all the way on the lead in his lone start this year, which came at Parx in May. His recent workouts have been very sharp, and he should be ready to bounce back first off the layoff.
RACE 6: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#9 In the Dance (8-1) ducked in after the start on debut at Timonium and raced far behind early, but made up steady ground throughout the back half of the race to get beat just a length. The Jerry Robb/Xavier Perez combination is always dangerous, of course, and it’s not often you get a big price on them. #1 Coringa (5-2) looks like the best of the first-time starters, with three bullet workouts within his last four drills for Arnaud Delacour. He should be well-backed and will be tough if he can transfer his promise to the afternoon. #5 Full Proof (6-1) ran on well for second in his debut at Colonial, and now adds
- 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/W2X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES
#8 Haint Blue (10-1) has found her best self in her last few starts, rattling off back-to-back open-length wins with rapidly ascending figures. She’ll have to improve a few more points to win this race, but she’s in a good cycle, she has a strong closing kick, and you’ll get the right price. If #1 Peyton Elizabeth (9-2) manages to get a clear early lead, look out. The last two times she was in front after a quarter-mile, she won without much drama. #4 Opus Forty Two (7-2) was a game second in the Delaware Oaks two starts back, then had a terrible trip in the Charles Town Oaks last out and was eased late. She should save much more ground here, and should prove a tough customer on the lead.
RACE 8: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 1 MILE
The debut of #9 Perfectly Wicked (2-1) may not be as impressive as it looks on paper, as the race completely blew up in front of her. The horses who were 9-8-7 ended up finishing 1-2-3. Nonetheless, it’s not like this field loaded with dirt monsters, so if she repeats the 78 she ran at first asking, she should wolf these down easily. #12 Viennese Waltz (8-1) closed well for third on debut, but was a total non-factor last out when a well-beaten fourth. This half-sister to Cordmaker is looking for a bounce-back effort and will be a threat if she gets it. #16 Salty Girl (20-1) has worked well for Mike Trombetta and looks like the best of the debuters.
RACE 9: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W3X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 7 FURLONGS
Intrepid Daydream and Street Lute both ran at Delaware yesterday, so I have a feeling we won’t be seeing them again here. #4 Quick Munny (5-1) would’ve been my top pick regardless. She lasted on the pace against a tough second-level field last out and drew off, running a career-best 93. The only one who can run with her early is Edie Meeny Miny Mo, who has been out of form for quite a while now. If Quick Munny breaks well, she could prove tough to catch. Of course, all eyes will be on the reigning Maryland-bred Horse of the Year, #6 Fille d’Esprit (6-5), as she makes her first start since a second-place finish in the Barbara Fritchie Stakes in February. Of course, she loves this track, with a 12-for-20 record here, and has a strong late punch that will make her dangerous if Quick Munny falters. That said, she’ll almost certainly be odds-on, and I have a hard time endorsing any horse who hasn’t raced in so long at that low a price. #2 I’m Gittin There (12-1) drew off impressively to win her last start on this track in mid-July. She hasn’t run a bad race here in a while, and will also do her best running late.
RACE 10: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#7 Whiskeyinthejaro (7-2) ships from Penn National for Bernie Houghton, where he’s been working well since getting on a steady worktab in mid-August. He had a bullet four-furlong drill on August 19 and has done the distance in sub-50 seconds in each of his last two workouts. #2 King’s River (3-1) made mild ground from last to get fifth against better on debut, then showed little after early traffic at Colonial last out. He should benefit from the class drop and some clear sailing. #5 Gallant Ruler (6-1) has worked well for a while for Robert Bailes, but while he doesn’t have any bad dirt workouts in his recent lines, sometimes a lot of works without a race can be suspicious.
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