By Rich Mattei
Laurel Park Thursday, February 25, 2021
Best Bet: Race 2: (5) Holy Saint
Longshot: Race 9: (6) Brooks Robinson
Race 1: (5) Colonel John is probably the horse to beat, but (4) Goodluckchuck ran very well at Charles Town last time out and can get three in a row here. (2) Walk Away Joe is another who can win after facing tougher in his last few.
Race 2: (5) Holy Saint is very live here as he had an excuse last time out. Even though the pace was fast, it was a race where you had to near the lead to have success. The top three finishers all came back to win as well. The stretch out should help him be forward here and he can wire this field. (1) Blue Sky Painter was pace compromised two starts back as he made a premature move in a race that collapsed, he will have to step up his game, but his last two races show he is up for the challenge. (7) Korczak stretches back out after going a sprint last time out. His race two back makes him a contender here as he was on the lead in a race that collapsed badly but still hung around for a little piece.
Race 3: (7) Crying For More and (1) Chauffeur both come out of the same race in which there was a real pace meltdown. Chauffeur did make a premature move last time out but Crying For More was dueling inside and now can stalk getting an outside post. (3) Mr. Shades of Gray was racing against tougher at Monmouth Park this summer and after racing here twice gets to drop back to the level where he has his second highest speed figure.
Race 4: (7) Five Card Draw raced too well to lose last time as he was up on a pace that collapsed last time out but still held on well to finish third. (3) Jack Straight can get a similar stalking trip and close if the speed goes at it again. (4) Spokane Eagle raced very well last time out at Charles Town last time out and should not be ignored here.
Race 5: (6) Wings of Fire was on the rail at Aqueduct where a day you can argue that the rail was dead. Could rebound here with that excuse and the return to hopefully a fast track. (9) Hot Choice was near a pace that collapsed last time out but held on well to be third. (4) Lookin for Candy is another one who has been unfortunate being at a disadvantage of pace as she has been forwardly placed in races that have collapsed.
Race 6: Looks Chalky in this race with the entry of (1) Thunder Thighs and the (1A) Aprilness as one can improve in her second start and the other will be the speed but (7) Egg Nog is the logical other horse here and will be a better price as she has stopped against better being up near the paces in her races.
Race 7: (2) Wonderwall has a speed figure edge over this field and gets to cut back after facing stakes Company last time out. (4) Malibu Beauty was on the pace last time out that ultimately fell apart. (8) Hybrid Eclipse is coming up from Aqueduct and Linda Rice has good numbers sprint to route (20%).
Race 8: (3) Shotski on his best day can win this race. He came back from off the long rest last time out to chase a wire-to-wire winner on a day at Aqueduct, where you could not make up ground. He also had to chase in the Fountain of Youth as well and ran huge in the Withers where the pace collapsed. If you want Shotski, then today is the day. (1) V.I.P. Ticket has not really run that well at Charles Town so I will forgive him for his last race. His race at Aqueduct where he attacked the pace in which (4) Dudley Square set. V.I.P Ticket will be a much better price than the former. (5) Plot the Dots could get a favorable pace scenario here in which his late ran can be effective and where he will not have to chase.
Race 9: (6) Brooks Robinson has been on paces that have collapsed in tougher races than what he sees today. Gets a rider upgrade as well. (5) Band On Tour has been on top of paces that have fallen apart in his last few races. (7) Stone Courageous can pick up the pieces here, but it is concerning that he has lost his speed in recent starts.
Race 10: (7) War Light leaves a lot to be desired, but you cannot ignore the huge drop down here. Can improve second time out. (4) Day of Honor could close if this pace gets hot upfront. (6) Pardon the Pun is the horse to beat but you cannot ignore the 0 for 12 here. He will get company upfront as in his prior races, so he is hard to take at what seems like a noticeably short price.