LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: NOVEMBER 17, 2023
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $6,318
Jackpot Super High 5 — $5,842
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, 1 MILE (GRASS)
We’ll start the card with some veteran fillies and mares on the lawn. #4 Nicolar (5-2) has closed frantically and lost by a half-length in each of her last two starts. While her lack of early speed often leaves her at a disadvantage, she has a great closing kick, and rallied well into slow fractions two races back. #1 Princess Javonica (3-1) has raced just twice in the past 12 months, but both were solid efforts. Most recently, she sat the trip and kicked away to win at Penn National in mid-August. She’s the only one in the field to run brisnet figures in the 80s in each of her last three starts. #10 Pounding Music (9-2) was beaten by some of this at this condition last out in a sub-par effort, but had run in the 80s consistently prior to that.
RACE 2: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $20,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
Of the four dirt races on the program, three of them are for 2-year-olds. This is the exception. #1A Mystic Seaport (9-5) has won her last three starts, two of them on grass, by a combined 15 lengths, has great tactical speed, and was claimed last out by Jamie Ness. What more could you want? She’ll likely sit off #2 Spicy Margarita (3-1), who is almost certain to set the early pace. She went gate-to-wire to win her last dirt start at Pimlico, but tired after getting pace pressure on grass in her most recent. She looks fast enough to outrun the others early and get minimal pressure up front. #5 Isabella’s Glory (10-1) drops from first-level company and won back-to-back races against softer earlier this year. She likes to do her best running late, and is interesting at a price.
- 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: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#15 Sky Buy (5-1) has taken steps forward with each start this year, and ran a career-best 74 last out when she made a nice move to the front and hung around for third. #7 Ratified (7-2) broke her maiden going away two starts back, and has developed a late punch that might make her interesting on grass. She’s raced once on it and showed little, but is in improved form since then. #6 Fivecommatwo (8-1) stalked the pace and just missed in her last try at this level, which came in late June. She hasn’t raced much on the lawn, but has showed promise in her two starts on this surface.
RACE 4: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 2-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE
#1 War Master (5-2) hasn’t done anything wrong in his two-race career, winning both going away with figures in the 80s. He’s stretching out beyond six furlongs for the first time and getting his stiffest class test ever, but if he runs back to either of his races, he’ll be tough. The way he’s won suggests that distance won’t be an issue. #3 Thedingoateyobaby (9-5) chased the impressive Copper Tax all the way around in the Rocky Run Stakes and ran second with a career-best 86. Copper Tax returned to win the James F. Lewis III Stakes last Saturday. This one should rate near the pace and pounce on the turn. #6 King’s River (9-2) was flat in the Maryland Million Nursery two starts ago, but rebounded nicely with a hard-charging second-place effort last out.
RACE 5: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#2 City Fever (5-2) returns to grass after a hard-fought runner-up effort at Woodbine last out, where he just missed behind a favored Casse runner who ran a gigantic race on the lead. This one broke his maiden on the lawn in impressive style at Saratoga over the summer; the second and third-place finishers out of that race have both since come back to win. #8 Ortus (6-1) and #5 Tidewater (9-2) exit the same race at this condition on Oct. 27. Ortus made his first start off almost a four-month break that day, and closed with a rush to lose by less than two lengths. He matched his career-best mark with an 89 that day, and could take another step forward here for Christophe Clement. Tidewater, second in the Maryland Million Turf Sprint two starts ago, made a similar closing rush to grab third after sitting closer to the pace. His figures are somewhat inconsistent, but at his peak, he’ll be a major factor.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $25,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
#3 Corinna (7-2) has run in the 80s in each of her last five starts, the only one in the field to do so. She closed moderately well against better in her last few starts, and should be especially dangerous late here. #10 Diva Ready (5-2) exits the same race as Corinna, where she was fourth despite being unable to settle early on. She looks like a new horses since being stretched out around two turns by Bob Klesaris. The lightbulb has gone on for #12 Lakeside Getaway (9-2), who is a winner of two straight after starting her career 0-for-8. She went gate-to-wire last out and beat next-out winner Determined Lilly. This one might be harder-pressed to get to the lead today, but should at least be close to the early tempo.
- 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/W1X), 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 1 MILE
#4 Venomous Vixen (7-5) made her debut a loud one last out, as she kicked on powerfully in the stretch and won by the length of the stretch. She ran an 83 that day, better than anyone else in here has ever run. Another win here could set her up for big things down the road. #9 Kissedbyanangel (7-2) has run back-to-back figures in the low-80s, including a sharp second last out behind impressive winner Roanan Goddess. Her figures are fast enough to contend, but the distance is a question, as she’s never been beyond six furlongs on dirt. #6 Mucho Tigger (12-1) won in sharp gate-to-wire fashion on debut and looks for a rebound second time out for Jamie Ness and Jaime Rodriguez.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 1 MILE (GRASS)
#7 Flowers for Me (2-1) ran a solid second in her grass debut in the Selima Stakes two starts ago, then improved to an 84 against tougher in the Chelsey Flower Stakes last out. A repeat of either of those two races wins this one easily. #4 Parish Lane (7-2) was well-bet on debut and gobbled up ground late for an impressive victory. She’s worked well since then and could take a leap forward at second asking. #3 Whispering Sea (12-1) closed into a very slow pace and got up to win last out at Colonial Downs. The early fractions may have depressed her figure a bit; she could improve with more honest fractions.
RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $12,500, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 7 FURLONGS
#1 Shocking Facts (5-2) has consistently run in the upper-50s against better, something no one else in here has demonstrated they can do. She continues her drop down the class ladder here, and it looks like she’s finally found a bunch she can beat. #10 It Starts Now (3-1) debuts for a low price for Brittany Russell, who’s obviously dangerous with 2-year-olds. This one doesn’t have to be a world-beater to win this. The board might tell the story. #3 No Walk Inthe Park (8-1) was well-bet on debut against similar and ran on well for third. She broke a bit slowly that day; a faster start could help the cause.
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