LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: october 8, 2023
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $1,207
Jackpot Super High 5 — $351
Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
Crisp, archetypal fall weather greets us today. #12 Park Place (5-1) has improved with each start since coming off a long layoff in early August. In his lone grass start, which came at Colonial Downs. He sat the trip and struck in the front in the stretch, but got outkicked by Jack’s Legend (a full brother to Talk Show Man) and finished second. He improved his brisnet figure further last out on the Woodbine synthetic, running a 79 after a wide trip. He’s eligible to take another step forward here. #7 Spirit Sky (6-1) also ran a big race in his lone grass effort, as he fought on the lead at Parx and lost in a three-horse photo. He hasn’t gone short on the lawn before, but he’ll be tough if he can repeat that performance. #11 Rockingham Joe (4-1) finished third to next-out winner Tidewater in his most recent, and is the most serious early speed theat.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $40,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
Note that there will be some extra time between races 1 and 2 to accommodate the Maryland Million Classic draw. It’s hard taking low odds on a horse with a bunch of runner-up finishes in a row, but if #3 Assume Nothing (4-5) runs back to any of his recent races, he should beat these without issue. He’s run at least an 84 in three straight races, and just missed behind Eldest Son at Delaware Park last out, who is much better than anyone in this field. #5 Occasional Moon (5-2) ran in the low-80s in three straight outings (albeit with figures just a tick below those of Assume Nothing), before stopping badly after a wide trip going two turns at Parx last out. Look for him to sit just off the pace and try to draw off in the stretch. #2 Steady John (6-1) has some of the best late pace figures in the field, and was a game third in his last dirt start at Delaware in July.
- Speedyness favored in Maryland JuvenileAdded blinkers and added ground have made a difference for Speedyness, who will seek his third straight win as the favorite in Saturday’s Maryland Juvenile.
RACE 3: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE (GRASS) (AMATEUR JOCKEYS)
I’m not sure if he couldn’t get her into a spot in New York, or if he wanted a really easy win, or what, but Mike Maker ships down #10 Rosy Tomorrows (6-5) for this race. She’s run at least a 73 in three straight grass contests, and closed well first off a brief layoff at Saratoga. Her normal race wins this easily. #2 Stage Call (5-1) has lots of problems at the gate, but once she gets running, she shows a solid late kick. She was especially strong in the lane last out, when she came from more than 20 lengths out of it to lose by just 1 1/2 lengths. #6 Millrose (6-1) exits the same race as Stage Call. She improved sharply in that race from her debut, leading most of he way before tiring for fourth. She’ll tr yo take them all the way here.
RACE 4: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 2-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
A lot of these have shown promise in their past, but are now looking for redemptive efforts off dull races. #4 Buccherino (3-1) ran a very sharp 85 in his maiden-breaking score at Parx two starts back, where he disposed of his dueling partner and won going away. He drops in class after finishing well-beaten in the Smoke Glacken Stakes last out (the winner, Book ’em Danno, is back in the Futurity Stakes at Aqueduct today). #7 Uncle Cat (5-2) fought hard on the lead to break his maiden at Monmouth in his first start, and now cuts back from a mile after showing little in the Sapling Stakes. #6 Force of Justice (8-1) broke his maiden in gate-to-wire style to wrap up the Timonium meet, and will try to run them off their feet in his class test.
RACE 5: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#9 Puppymonkeybaby (5-2) drops in class after being outfinished in the Camptown Stakes in her most recent grass starts, albeit with a strong 82. She was second against better on this grass course in early July, behind next-out winner Canadian Ginger. #13 Shasta Star (9-5) has won four in a row, most recently getting up after a patient trip at Colonial. In fact, she’s a perfect 6-for-6 on grass in her career. With a lot of speed in here, she could get a nice trip and convert. #14 Walks Like a Lady (6-1) flattened out after a wide trip going longer last ot, but is much more at home at this level and distance.
RACE 6: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
#1 Tina Tina Tina (7-5) has run no worse than a 65 in two dirt starts, and now returns to the main track after declining a bit in her last two starts on grass. She should get a nice trip rating off the pace. #8 G’s Fireball (7-2) has improved with each start, running a career-best 65 at Timonium last out despite getting knocked around at the start. #4 Awesome Glo (8-1) made a mild late ground on debut, and now drops for a tag for the first time.
- 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 (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
#2 Youens (9-2) has had many chances at this level, but may well have won against similar last out were she not forced to change course late. She’s found a field where her figures are consistently better than those of the others, and this looks like her moment. #6 Mille Dreams (5-2) broke her maiden on debut in France in June, and has worked well since mid-August for Graham Motion as she prepares for her American debut. #12 Chorus Girl (5-1) has early speed and adds Lasix for the first time. You have to figure she’ll be used aggressively by Jeiron Barbosa to get to the rail and the lead by the first turn.
RACE 8: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#5 Neuschwanstein (6-1) has run in the 80s in each of his three career starts. He pressed the pace and held on to finish second last out, now, he might be fast enough to set the terms himself. #6 Aquarius Moon (9-2) improved sharply third time out, battling most of the way while wide and ending up second. That was going a mile and 70 yards, and his sprint races weren’t nearly as good. We’ll see if he can keep the good form going shorter. #3 Tirico (9-5), owned by the SF Racing/Starlight contingent, joined the Brittany Russell barn over the summer and has been working for a long, long time getting ready for this race. He’s a half-brother to seven winners, including six-time stakes winner Ageless.
RACE 9: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#10 Miss Sakamoto (7-2) has been knocking on the door at this level all year, with four straight in-the-money finishes at this level. She was outrun by the impressive Future is Now last out, but finished well clear of the rest while running her best figure in months. Not many of these have great late pace figures, so she might be able to hold them all off. #5 Bitty Boss (20-1) has great late speed, but often leaves herself with too much do do. She was a strong-closing fifth behind Future is Now in her most recent, and if she can start moving jut a bit sooner, she could shake up the exotics at a good number. #8 Candle (6-5) has been facing better in New York, and Forest Boyce has been riding out of her mind as of late. She’s also the only one in the race with a figure in the 80s in each of her last three starts. Nonetheless, she hasn’t raced since early July, which could make her harder to swallow at a low price.
RACE 10: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
We’ll wrap up a 40-race week with some claimers going long. #6 Food Foodie (9-5) takes a slight drop in class off a blanket-finish defeat last out. He’s consistently run well around two turns and should have plenty to give late. #3 Sir Lumpalot (8-5) exits the same race as Food Foodie, where he lost by less than two lengths after a ground-saving trip. He might find himself on the lead, and if not, he should be just off the tempo on the rail. #2 Long Live Now (10-1) broke his maiden around two turns a few starts back in mid-July, and seeks improvement off a flat effort in his most recent.
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