LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: november 18, 2023
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 —$2,732
Jackpot Super High 5 — $7,342
Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $12,500, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
We’ll kick off today’s 9-race card with the first of many big fields. #10 Flitter (4-1) ran dismally in her first start off a long break two starts ago, but bounced back a bit against better on grass next out, and now switches back. She ran brisnet figures of 68 and 73 in her first two career starts earlier this year; those types of figures would swamp these. #6 Millrose (12-1) has shown speed and faded going longer on grass, and could benefit from a change in scenery. #9 Panther Command (9-2) just missed at Delaware Park last out in her second start off a 14-month layoff last out in a hard-fought duel. It was the first time she hung around in the late stages, after three performances where she showed speed and backed up badly.
RACE 2: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE (GRASS)
#10 King’s Honor (2-1) stepped up in class to the $20,000 starter optional claiming level last out and was beaten three lengths against some salty horses. He has some early speed in a race without much of it, so he could be tough to catch if aggressively used. The main speed threat may be #3 My Boy Colton (10-1) who set the pace through honest fractions last out and held third. He was caught by Hunter Joe in the late stages; that one came back to beat $20,000 starter optional claiming foes on Sunday, defeating similar horses to the ones King’s Honor lost to last out. #5 Colbaloaf (9-2) exits the same race as My Boy Colton, and has finished second three times in his last four starts, with figures in the 80s each time. He’ll almost certainly get a nice trip near the pace, but he hasn’t shown he can convert it.
- 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, 1 MILE
#7 Storming Chrome (7-2) broke his maiden on the lead two starts back in what was basically an exhibition, but validated his form next out when he led most of the way and held third against better rivals at Penn National. #2 Law of the Jungle (9-2) just missed in his first start against winners two races back, despite closing into a slow pace and not changing leads. He’ll look for a rebound off a flat effort on grass last out where he was wide most of the way. #9 Prins Fire (10-1) consistently runs in the 70s and was a solid second behind runaway gate-to-wire winner By Its Absence last out.
RACE 4: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#15 Conniving (6-1) was a hard-charging second on debut at Indianapolis, and has had some time off since struggling in his dirt debut at Churchill Downs next out. He should take advantage of the extra distance. #11 Coringa (3-1) has shown speed and faded in two starts on dirt, but looks well-meant for grass, being trained by Arnaud Delacour and an offspring of a grass winner. #3 Primed to Go (5-2) closed well for second behind pace-setting winner Tropandhagen on debut at Monmouth Park, then couldn’t get by the tough Jamie Ness runner Derbyness and settled for second next out. This one’s only raced at two turns; I’m interested to see how he does in a sprint.
RACE 5: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#3 Miss Georgie (2-1) blew the doors off the field in back-to-back races, winning her last two by a combined 11 1/4 lengths with figures in the mid-80s both times. She has the ability to show speed or sit right off the pace. In contrast, we know what #1 Bella Bettina (3-1) will do, which is rate well behind early and make one big run in the stretch. She cut back from seven furlongs last out and missed by just a length at this distance. She might want longer, but even if Miss Georgie runs away from the pack, this one should be able to outkick the rest. #8 Levisa (6-1) made her second start off a 7 1/2-month layoff and improved sharply, drawing away after early pace pressure to run a career-best 85. She had been getting better with every start before going to the sidelines in mid-January, so while that last race is a big outlier from the rest of her form, it’s not unreasonable at all to think that she could duplicate it.
RACE 6: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
#3 Jack’s Legend (2-1), a full brother to Talk Show Man, took a swing for the fences at second asking in the Maryland Million Turf last out. He more than held his own, closing from way out of it to get third, running an 83 in his first two-turn effort. He drops in class here and looks to keep moving forward. #8 St. John’s (9-2) broke his maiden going away in his last flat try at Kentucky Downs, breaking through after a few near-misses with even figures. He switches back to the flats after being pulled up in his last steeplechase effort, and looks well-primed by Jack Fisher for this spot. #12 Fletcher (5-2) also exits the Maryland Million Turf, and while he made decent ground late, he was never a serious threat to win. However, it was his first start since a third-place effort in the Penn Mile in early June, so he has room to improve second off the bench.
- 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 (OPEN), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
#6 Classier (9-5) found his best form from earlier this year last out, when he won going away against a field much like this one. Third-place finisher Factor It In, a multiple stakes winner in his own right, came back to win next out. #7 Dollarization (5-1) tends to run his best at six furlongs, and stopped badly going seven furlongs in the Jump Start Stakes last out. He has a strong middle punch that is well-suited for this distance. #1A He’smyhoneybadger (8-5), my preferred half of the David Jacobson-trained entry, is also better off going six furlongs or shorter, and just missed after a pace-setting trip against similar last out at Aqueduct.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W3X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
Colonial Downs wonder #3 Chambeau (5-2), who won three of four there this year, including a pair of stakes races, makes her debut for Ferris Allen here, in her first start since early September. She’s a major speed threat and has already won on this track, so it’s not like she can’t run outside of Colonial. #10 Can’t Buy Love (9-5) has been trying her luck against better all year long, with mixed results. The last time she faced a field like this one on this track, which came last October, she won. She has great late speed and should be well-positioned in the stretch. #6 Shasta Star (10-1) steps up in class after the end of her six-race win streak last out, which came in spite of a season’s-best 86. She’ll have to improve a few points to beat the top two if they run their races, but she’s in improving form and should at least get a good trip near the leaders.
RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $12,500, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/16 MILES
#8 Court Contender (2-1) has run in the 70s twice in three career starts, and closed well for second going a mile last out in a sharp effort. #7 Step Ahead (3-1) exits the same race, and battled on the lead before tiring and holding fourth. He has a tendency to fade on the lead, but at least he should have every chance to set his own tempo here. #10 Telecast (7-2) just missed after a wide trip first off a 15-month last out, and will try to build off of that effort.
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