In which we choose Laurel Park races every day…
Posting time: 12:40 p.m.
Reports: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $0 super high 5 — $826 Late pick 5 — $0
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RACE 1: CLAIM $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 3 YEARS AND UP, 1 MILE
Ten races on the Saturday card. The only question with #4 Five Star Phil (6/5) is if he can handle the extra distance. He came from behind to win a race/w2L starting two starts back, and he ran consecutive brisnet numbers of 82. He has great recent late pace numbers, but hasn’t run his best races at this distance. Still, he’s been very lively lately and is nonetheless shaping up to be a serious contender. #3 Focus (4/1) came back to the dirt last and easily erased his n/w2L condition after going the pace. There should be no problem with class skipping. #2Camp Pendleton (3/1) improved to finish second in his second start at this level and should at least hang around for a piece of the exotic.
RACE 2: OPTIONAL STARTER CLAIMING $25,000, 3 YEARS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
8-2-3-4 (DIRT: 7-6-8-10)
All of my picks leave the same race at this level on May 1. #8 Mary Jane Chrome (3/1) came from the clouds to rise again for second place, beaten just a neckline, in her first grass start this year. She is improving with each grass start and has blinders off. #2 Closer to the Heart (6/1) saved some ground in that race and made a decent move on the inside, but got passed on the stretch and finished fourth. She ran an impressive 84 last fall at this track in a maiden score. #3 Ampilo Esquema (4/1) ran impressively on his first start after the layoff, racking up a ton of ground to lose by just two lengths. She may not have enough speed early on to win, but she’s a sure bet to hit the board.
RACE 3: CLAIMANT $40,000, 3 YEARS, 6 FURLONGS
#7 Lantau (5/2) is one nose short of winning his last three starts on clay. He has tons of early-stroke speed, and while he will have to pass some rivals drawn to his interior, he has the best early-stroke pace numbers and shouldn’t have much trouble doing so. #5 Heffner (2/1) returns to a sprint for the first time since New Year’s Day. He held much better company than that, and made a premature move and placed second in his last start in that condition. Look for him to sit right off the beat. #4 Valiant Gold (5/1) is also down in class and won impressively in his last start at this level with an 85.
RACE 4: MAIDEN CLAIMING $16,000, 3, 4 AND 5 YEARS, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
11-3-10-4 (DIRT: 5-13-1-4)
#11 First Lady Di Da (7/2) ran on the grass consistently over the winter at Tampa Bay Downs and made a big move to finish fourth, with a last-out 66. She looks better and will be late. #3 Little Miss Minion (5/1) made his grass debut at Aqueduct in his last start and ran a decent 63 despite a wide travel. Should improve second time on the pitch and fourth time overall. #10 Bay B (6/1) runs for the first time since late October but has a strong closing kick.
RACE 5: CLAIMANT $16,000 (N/W2L), 3 YEARS AND UP, 1 MILE
#2 Cowboy Cardo (7/2) has touched the board in his last five starts, including second-place finishes in his two starts at this level. He placed just off the pace and ran the last one well. His consistency is his greatest asset. #8 Total effort (10/1) impressively beat his freshman year two starts at Aqueduct and departed first on Horacio DePaz’s claim. I don’t know if you’ll get his morning line price, but he has early speed and a lot of upside. #3 Tate (9/5) has been burning a lot of money lately against better, losing to 11/10 or less four times in a row. Maybe lower prices will help the cause, but I’m still suspicious of him.
RACE 6: MAIDEN CLAIMING $40,000, 3, 4 AND 5 YEARS OLD, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
4-2-3-6 (SALE: 6-5-10-3)
#4 Twelveo’clockrock (6/1) rode his best turf race last, setting the pace in a race similar to this and holding onto fourth place. Gets a driver change for Denis Araujo and will likely show speed again. #2 Watch Me Disappear (4/1) became the final 19/10 favorite on her first start of the year and made a strong bid despite a wide trip. You will get a better price here if you still believe. #3 Princess Palmer (6/1) kept pace and got fired for third last. Jevian Toledo is back on board after consistently driving it last year and should improve.
RACE 7: ALLOCATION (N/W1X), 3 YEARS AND OVER, FILLIES AND MARES, MD-BRED, 1 MILE
#1 Charming Path (6/5) ran no worse than an 80 in five career starts, while the rest of those struggle to ever break that mark. It will be very tough as long as it runs. #7 Get it wrong (4/1) was not a factor for victory at this level twice last fall despite being the favorite both times. However, it ran in the mid 70s/sub 80s consistently. This will be his second start after the layoff. His stable mate, #5 Lady Fox (6/1) struggled on his last start in this condition, but usually runs in the mid-70s outside of this bad run.
RACE 8: OPTIONAL ALLOWANCE CLAIM (N/W2X), 3 YEARS AND UP, 5 1/2 FURLONS (GRASS)
13-8-2-5 (SALE: 2-9-12-4)
#13 Discreet Melody (9/5) was no match for The Critical Way in the last Get Serious Stakes outing, but still rallied to third place with an impressive number for the tier of 91. He ran a 95 two starts after a great trip to gulfstream park. #8 Oldies But Goodies (4/1) was claimed on his last start, an impressive starting optional win, by Jamie Ness. He’s hit the board five times on this track and has good tactical speed. #2 Embolden (8/1) has run two great races since being claimed by Mike Trombetta, including a solid second on the Tapeta at Woodbine, the last outing. He could be the value game of this race.
RACE 9: OPTIONAL ALLOWANCE CLAIM (N/W1X), 3 YEARS, 1 MILE
#5 Smart Up (2/1) made a solid move to the lead in a tough Long Branch Stakes field and held on to finish third behind Dean’s List ranked Smarty Jones Stakes Dash Attack winner. There’s no one of that caliber here, luckily for him. #1 Irish Uncle (9/5) crushed a similar field in gate-to-wire fashion on Black-Eyed Susan Day and ran into the 90s in back-to-back starts. He is a serious threat to take them back to the end. #6 Majestic Border (6/1) chased Uncle Irish in that race and finished second. It has improved with each race and will start at a decent price.
RACE 10: CLAIMANT $16,000 (N/W2L), 3 YEARS AND UP, 1 MILE (GRASS)
7-5-4-9 (SALE: 11-14-7-8)
#7 Favorite picture (4/1) couldn’t take the lead at the start and was flat on his last start, but usually shows a lot of speed at the start. It will be tough if he gets his trip. #5 On the engine (8/1) makes his third start after the layoff and his second start against the winners. He ran into his 60s regularly on the lawn last year at Gulfstream. #4 Honor my world (6/1) falls in class and has a great closing speed.