LAUREL PARK PICKS AND PONDERINGS: november 19, 2023
In which we pick the races from Laurel Park each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $756
Jackpot Super High 5 — $11,270
Late Pick 5 — $15,212
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: CLAIMING $25,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#2 Little Josie Wales (6-1) returns to grass after three dirt tries with mixed results. She broke her maiden in gate-to-wire style on the lawn last out, and has run brisnet figures in the 80s in each of her last two grass starts. She should be able to control the pace from the inside. #8 Mollie Tapper (5-1) closed well from far behind to get second last out, earning a career-best 79 in the process. She’s in ascending form and gets some slight class relief. #1 Waittillmidnitehour (4-1) dug in through fast fractions to break her maiden at Colonial Downs at second asking a few starts back, but has struggled in her last two races. She’s also taking a career-low drop here. We’ll see if that’s a recipe for a rebound.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $5,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
#2 Mister Winston (7-2) faded on the pace in his first start off the claim by Jamie Ness, but now finds himself in a spot where he has by far the most early speed. He should make the front early and just keep going. #4 Tiny Tim (6-1) is the opposite. He has no early speed at all, but by far the best late pace figures in the field. He came from way out it to win twice at Delaware Park earlier this year, and will try to pick up the pieces behind Mister Winston late. #3 Miracle Silver (5-1) has loomed and just missed in his last two starts, so while he has the figures to contend (including the best last-out number by four points), he also might be a better exotics candidate.
- 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: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
#5 Swing Sammy (2-1) returned first off a two-month break last out, and closed well for second behind a much-the-best winner with a career-best 71. He has great closing speed and gets the slight nod in an evenly-matched group. #16 World Factor (3-1) has had his chances and not converted in his recent start, but he’s also had kind of a stop-and-start campaign. He’s improved sharply in his two recent second-off-the-bench layoff, but this is the first time he’s had the chance to run third off the layoff. He could improve further off the 74 he ran in his most recent. #3 He Did It (8-5) was well-bet on debut against straight maidens, but was completely flat after briefly racing near the pace. We’ll see if easier rivals help him shine.
RACE 4: STARTER ALLOWANCE $5,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
Not only has #4 Paradise Pride (6-5) won each of his last three starts at this level, he hasn’t trailed in any of those races. He went off at 3-5 in victory last out, and you’ll probably have to take similar odds today. Nonetheless, he’ll be very tough if he runs his race. #6 Up Against It (10-1) pressed the pace and drew off to beat conditioned claimers last out, running a season’s best figure for the second consecutive race. He’s taken big steps forward with each race since a mid-summer swoon, and thought he won’t be able to keep up with Paradise Pride late, he’ll be able to outrun the others and round out the exacta. #2 Ace Nine Nine (10-1) was beaten a neck by Up Against It in his most recent, and should get a nice trip rating near the leaders. His only bad recent races have come on the Charles Town and Timonium bullrings.
RACE 5: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
The late pick 5, with a carryover of more than $15,000, starts here. #8 Invest Wisely (4-1) ran well second off a ten-month layoff last out, leading most of the way and losing by 1 1/4 lengths, running a solid 75 in the process. She adds linkers here and should once again be sent to the lead by Sheldon Russell. From there, she might forget to stop. #3 Reconsider Me (4-1) couldn’t chase down the impressive Chicken Parm last out, but closed well for second and ran a strong 85 firs toff a six-month layoff. This one will be the first to take advantage of Invest Wisely can’t last. #9 Last Glimmer (6-1) didn’t do much in her grass debut at Kentucky Downs last out, but has worked well since then and has room to improve for the dangerous Shug McGaughey/Forest Boyce combo.
RACE 6: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS (GRASS)
While #16 Our Strong Vows (7-2) will need quite a bit of help to draw in off the also-eligible list, she’ll be tough if she can. In her last start at this level, she just missed behind Shasta Star, who was in the midst of a six-race winning streak and returned to finish second against better yesterday. This one is in improving form with the best late pace figures in the race. #10 Prince Pere (7-2) has faced better most of the year, including last out when he was beaten less than two lengths in a salty bunch. The top-two finishers, Rebel Posse and Lucci, returned to finish 1-2 on Thursday, while third-place finisher Nichiren was also a next-out winner. #2 On the Engine (7-2) has won his last two starts against similar going longer while racing on or near the pace, and now cuts back around one turn.
- 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, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#2 Won an Award (9-2) makes his first start on dirt here after five grass tries. He’s run in the 70s in all his starts on the sod, and was a strong-closing third in his most recent. In a race without much established dirt form, he’s worthy of a look. #7 Respirator (8-1) battled a long way at Parx two starts back and just missed, then ran a career-best 94 in another runner-up effort next out. While his figures are consistently solid, he’s had a hard time beating fields like these. #3 Nasty Habit (6-5), a $550,000 2-year-old purchase, made his career debut for Bill Mott at Keeneland in April, and faded to fourth after showing speed. He hasn’t raced since then, and has been working since early October for new trainer Anthony Farrior for his return. If he repeats the 82 her earned that day, he’ll be tough, but it’s hard to take a low price on a horse who hasn’t raced in so long.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
It’s the final grass race in Maryland for 2023. as we cap a much-improved season on the lawn. #6 Downtown Katie (8-1) did little when forced to close into a slow pace in the Maryland Million Ladies last out, but ran in the 80s consistently earlier in the year in when she got more honest tempos to run into. If she shows her best self, she’ll wolf them down late. #1 Lullaby Land (9-2) has had some time off since her last start in early September at Monmouth Pak, where she was flat after a wide trip. Usually, she also packs a strong closing punch. She ran strong figures despite drafting behind slow New York paces earlier this year, then rallied to win against starter allowance foes in Jersey with an impressive 87. #3 Tracy Flick (4-5) improved to an 87 second off a two-year layoff last out, when she rallied for second against a similar field.
RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $12,500, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES
#5 Abby’s Lucky Girl (8-5) has improved by leaps and bounds with every start for the Jamie Ness/Jaime Rodriguez combo. The only question is the distance, as she’s never been beyond six furlongs. However, if she handles the extra ground, she’ll be very tough. #9 American Overpass (9-2) has worked well as she prepares for her first start for the Brittany Russell barn. She showed some promise in the midwest earlier in her career while showing speed against better. #2 Opinionated (6-1) has shown good late speed on grass and now tries dirt for the first time. She should at least get a share if she handles the surface at all.
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