LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: november 12, 2023
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $3,922
Jackpot Super High 5 — $4,445
Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $30,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
Lots to unpack on today’s card. There’s 100 horses int he main body of today’s nine races, plus plenty on various also-eligible lists. This race is relatively light, with only eight runners signed on. Any lingering concerns from Brittany Russell’s slump earlier in the season have been alleviated, as she’s won four times in the last three days. She’ll send out firster #2 Dennison Girls (9-5) here, who’s been working well at Delaware Park as of late, with a steady tab over the last few weeks. With how Russell’s runners are firing, I’m expecting a winning effort from this one. #4 Cluck Cluck (8-1) chased the pace on debut and got second, losing to a well-bet fellow debuter who took them gate-to-wire. In fact, they were the only two first-time starters in the field. This one should be on the pace again and could improve second time out. #5 Irish Rage (7-2) switches from grass and drops for a tag for the first time for Tim Keefe, who typically does better with his second-time out runners.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#16 Strong Finish (9-2) improved sharply second off the bench last out, making decent ground in the stretch to get third against a similar field. He should get a pace to close into in a speed-laden field. If he can work out a trip rating one path off the rail or so, he’ll be in great shape. #11 Casino Tricks (5-2) exits the same race as Strong Finish, and held second after setting a hot, contested early pace. His dueling partner lost by 13 1/2 lengths. This one will make his first start for the Mike Trombetta barn today. #10 Freestanding (4-1) ran some nice races against better on grass earlier this year, and should appreciate the return to the surface second off the claim by Richard Sillaman.
- Laurel: Rugged field set for Friday allowanceThe Friday Laurel allowance feature is a third-level allowance featuring a pair of Maryland Million Classic winners in Monday Morning Qb and Ournationonparade.
RACE 3: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $20,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
#3 American Patrol (5-2) has lots of talent, but hasn’t always been able to stay on the track. When he runs, he often runs big, like he did last time at Delaware Park, where he went gate-to-wire off a five-month layoff. He should win this with anywhere close to his best. #8 Bobby G (12-1), a hard-knocking 9-year-old making his 80th career start, was flat in his last start, but consistently ran brisnet figures in the upper-80s prior to that. He should make his presence felt late. #1 Speargun (9-2) won gate-to-wire first off the claim by Jamie Ness two starts back, but declined a bit last out when he drafted towards the back of a tightly-packed field and checked in the midst of a move. He’s eligible for a rebound, and that last race should drive his price up.
RACE 4: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE (GRASS)
#3 Collect From Ike (5-1) ran some big races going two turns in New York earlier this year, but declined a bit when cut back around one turn in his most recent grass try. He’s switching back to dirt and stretching back out, which should bring his best self back out. #9 Heart N Soul (8-5) led most of the way against a better field at Keeneland last out and got headed late, running a career-best 79 in the process. He has the back-class to win, but it’s hard to take an especially low price in such a big field. #12 Harbor Moon (3-1) had his chances to go by in his last few starts and couldn’t do it. Nonetheless, his figures are more than competitive with the rest of these, and he has solid late speed, so it’s possible he can get up for a slice once again.
RACE 5: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 7 FURLONGS
Our cup runneth over in the late pick 5. This sequence features 57 runners in the main body. #7 Captain Cardo (8-1) drops back in class after a try against open claimers, where he ran a solid 81 despite going a bit further than he might’ve liked. He’s run well against similar foes in sprints this year, and should be tough going back to seven furlongs. #11 Here and Nofurther (5-1) won twice at the Timonium meet, then ran a career-best 82 last out first off a brief layoff. He’s uber-consistent and has good tactical speed. #3 Lookin for Justice (3-1) drops in class from the $12,500 starter optional claiming level, and should show speed from towards the inside.
RACE 6: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#4 Ariel Moon (7-2) has chased the pace and faded while wide in her last few starts, but now faces slightly easier maidens and draws further to the inside. #15 Mayfly (3-1) made her first start for the Arnaud Delacour barn last out, and held second after dueling and pulling clear. The draw makes things a bit tough, but she has a lot of natural early speed and could save ground in spite of her post. #11 Sharmin (6-1) rated near the lead and flattened out last with a career-best 70 in her most recent. She’s slowly improved with each race, and could slide through the cracks in the betting.
- 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, 1 MILE
A loaded field lines up for today’s featured event. #10 Magic Michael (10-1) has run in the 90s five times in his last six starts, and improved second off a long layoff last out to finish second with a 93. The Jamie Ness/Jaime Rodriguez trainer/jockey combo has won five times in the last seven days between here and Delaware. #2 Shaft’s Bullet (5-2) makes his long-awaited (at least by me) return to the races. He’s run at least a 93 in his last four starts, including an impressive win against second-level foes last out, but hasn’t been seen since March 17. He’s had increasingly sharp drills over the past few weeks, including a Gary Capuano-trademark one-mile workout last Saturday. #9 Ain’t Da Beer Cold (12-1) was elevated as the winner of the Maryland Million Classic in an extraordinarily gutsy effort, and will try to duplicate that performance here.
RACE 8: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $20,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
The word “hard-knocking” might be overused sometimes (especially by me), but this field truly fits the bill. #10 Rough Sea (9-5), a 10-year-old veteran closing in on $500,000 in career earnings, was a perfect 3-for-3 on the Monmouth Park grass this summer. He kicked away powerfully to win his last race on this surface with an impressive 96. He should be tough to hold off with a clear trip. #7 You Must Chill (3-1) is one of a few exiting the same race at this condition on October 20. He was closer to the pace than usual in that race, and fought gamely in the stretch and lost by a head. While he’s burned up money in his last two starts at this condition, you should at least get a better price today if you still believe. #5 Sir Terre (4-1) finished a neck behind You Must Chill last out, and is a hard trier with good closing speed.
RACE 9: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 7 FURLONGS
#2 Chica Rabiosa (3-1) has been in very consistent form as of late, and just missed going two turns after stalking the pace last out at Delaware. She should get a nice trip near the leaders here. #5 Illusion of Hope (8-1) has easily the best late pace figures in the race, and got up in the last few jumps to beat a solid field of conditioned rivals in her last start on this track. #3 True Blue Pearl (5-2) was a chasing second against open $8,000 types in her last start. She’s cutting back from a mile here, after spending the entire year in routes, and should be on or near the pace.
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