LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: october 1, 2023
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $5,546
Jackpot Super High 5 — $0
Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
Absolutely immaculate weather greets us as we begin October and a 10-race card. I’m usually not big on picking first-time starters on top, much less ones trained by Graham Motion, but #10 Radiant Queen (3-1) has found herself in a pretty easy spot for her debut. No one in here has run a brisnet figure higher than 73 on grass, and the one who’s gotten there is hardly a blank slate, having run five times. This one’s dam, Renee’s Queen, was a stakes winner on grass, and she’s produced a pair of grass winners, including stakes winner Sassy Nature. #8 Determined Blue (4-1) improved sharply second time out at Colonial Downs. She dueled with a longshot early on and sent that rival into an 18-length defeat. However, she held gamely and finished second. #13 Matching Energy (8-1) finished fourth on debut in a very productive race. Both of the top two-finishers came back to win next out. This one’s one of three in here who has run in th e70s and should enjoy getting back to the lawn after a dull dirt try.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#1 Majesty’s Freedom (4-1) makes her first start since May 7 and drops to this level for the first time. She has great late pace figures and will try to mow them down on the money late. If she does that, she’ll have to run down #2 Thunder Boss (8-5), who is extremely fast early, but also hate winning. She comes in here with a 1-for-20 record, headlined by 11 second or third-place finishes. Fortunately for her, lots of other horses in here also hate winning, so it balances itself out a bit. #5 Fashionatta (9-2) almost took them all the way last out going 1 1/16 miles, but faded late and ended up second. Her two biggest figures have come going shorter, so the cutback in distance should help.
- 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, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#7 Kasimba (2-1) got caught wide all the way against better at Saratoga last out and faded. He’ll make his first start for Anthony Farrior here, and looks fast enough to open up early and never look back. #9 Lothario (8-1) showed little on debut, but improved dramatically at second asking, closing well for third at Colonial last out. Further improvement makes him interesting, especially if Kasimba doesn’t fire. #1 Fire and Knives (12-1) ran a respectable 71 on debut at Delaware Park and should get a good trip off the pace on the rail. One of his half-siblings, Jazzy Idea, was a multiple stakes winner on grass, including a win over the boys in the 2012 Laurel Dash.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $10,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#9 Cocktail Dreaming (5-2) couldn’t chase down loose leader Esperannna last out, but ran on well in the stretch and managed a strong 79, her best figure of the year in 10 starts. Likely early leader Mo Co Gold has struggled in the stretch as of late, so Cocktail Dreaming should be well-situated in this spot. #7 I Have Courage (10-1) drew off impressively after stalking the pace to clear her n/w2L condition. She’s another one who should get a good setup, and will be a much better price. #3 Blame Catalaya (7-2) has been well-beaten by better in her last two starts, but ran in the mid-70s and 80s earlier this year.
RACE 5: CLAIMING $40,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE (GRASS)
#9 Clouds of White (6-1) won an exciting stretch duel last out by the barest of noses. She’s stretching out from 5 1/2 furlongs, but did close well for fourth in her lone two-turn start, which came in the winter of 2021. #2 Corinna (7-2) is the only one in the field who has run in the 80s in each of her last three starts. She battled hard in the stretch at Delaware last out against better. #11 On the Shortlist (7-2) ran a career-best 87 last out when second behind Neecie Marie, who has since won the Mrs. Penny Stakes and finsihed second in the Jockey Club Oaks.
RACE 6: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
There’s only three horses in here with experience, and two of them are my top two picks. #1 Don’t Listen (8-1) battled all the way with eventual winner Fidelightcayut (who had experience) in her debut, and ended up a clear-cut second with a respectable 69. She should be a major pace presence from the rail once again. #3 First to Arrive (4-1) chased stakes-placed Remember Me at first asking, and should benefit from a return to dirt, following a dull two-turn grass try. #5 To Be Loved by You (2-1) ships down from New York for Rudy Rodriguez and has a strong worktab, including a recent bullet workout.
- 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, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE (GRASS)
#11 Derbyness (3-1) was pace-compromised on debut at Delaware, as eventual winner Willy D’s set slow early fractions and proved impossible to catch. However, Derbyness still ran on well and earned a 79, a much better mark than anyone else in here has run on grass. The dam of #6 Last Post (7-2), Leafy Shade, was stakes-placed on grass and has produced a grass winner. This one has worked for a while at Fair Hill, possibly waiting for a longer distance, and looks well-meant on debut for Michael Matz. #5 Primed to Go (5-2) came from well off a contested pace to get second first out at Monmouth Park. If he moves forward off that race, he’ll be especially tough.
RACE 8: CLAIMING $8,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
#8 Ima Pharoah (9-5) has had some time off since his last race in mid-July. Prior to that dull effort, he consistently ran in the 80s earlier this year at Parx. #2 His Name Is Sue (7-2) has chased the pace in his last two starts, and has run decent figures while never looking like a serious threat to win. The most likely outcome here is that he harmlessly chases Ima Pharoah to the wire and rounds out the exacta. #4 Spitball (5-1) goes first off the claim by Mario Serey, and broke through to win third off the layoff last out.
RACE 9: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, MD-BRED/SIRED, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#11 Fun Notion (4-1) has just missed in his last three starts against similar, including a runner-up finish behind the promising Tidewater in which he surged late and got caught late. He’s run in the 80s in each of his last three starts, and should get his trip once again here. #6 Zip Line to Heaven (6-1) exits the same race as Fun Notion, and finished fourth that day after getting a similar stalking trip. A few of his recent races win this, but he’ll have to show more of a late punch to get more than an exotics spot. #1 Sue Loves Barbados (7-2) also loves getting minor shares, and most recently lost by a neck against these after a game late rally.
RACE 10: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
#6 Austin From Boston (5-2) drew off impressively in his maiden-breaking score last out, running in the mid-80s for the second straight race. He’s one of two in here who hasn’t lost against winners, and gets to face a camera-shy crew. #2 Freestanding (3-1) continues his precipitous drop down the class ladder for Brittany Russell, and looks like the main early speed of the race. #4 Federal Offense (5-1) made a decent rally to get second in his first start off an 11-week break last out. Seven furlongs might be his sweet spot, but he’s never traveled that distance.
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