There’s only one night of racing this weekend for the Monmouth at the Meadowlands meet as New Jersey racing focuses on the hurdlers for the 101st Far Hills Race Meeting on Saturday. The second and final stakes race of the nine day meet, the Born to Run Stakes, is a five furlong sprint for three year olds. Expect another course with some moisture in it as there was some rain in the area on Thursday. The rails are at 17 feet tonight, so the maximum number of starters per race is 10. First post for the six race program is 7:00 (ET)
I’ll be covering this meet for the second straight year on the ITM Blog, along with posting some updates and thoughts from time to time on Twitter @EricSolomon718. Feel free to reach out!
|Race||Top Pick||A||B||C||Exotics Menu|
|1||2||2,4||1||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|2||9||9||2||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|3||7||1,6,7||DBL, PK3, PK4|
We get the night started with a maiden special weight race for three year olds and upward going 1 mile and 1/16. Silk War (#2) makes his third career start for Edward Graham tonight. He ran a good race on a wet course last fall at Laurel and he’s been working well at Fair Hill in the mornings. He drew a wide post and was chasing a moderate pace last out. He draws better tonight where he should be able to keep the pressure on Chenti (#1), who is the likely pacesetter. American Day (#4) was a good second this spring behind a well-meant turf horse, Tap the Gavel, in a maiden allowance race on a good course at Monmouth. He was up the track in his next two races, including a stakes race. He ran a much better race since joining Rafael Schistl’s barn last month. I think he can contend with this group. Chenti is the morning line favorite and will likely be vying for post time favoritism with Chad Brown’s comebacker, Payback Period (#10). He looks to be the lone speed here, which could be dangerous. The only other serious speed threat is a longshot, Anvil (#7), who ran last weekend and is from the same barn. I don’t see the two horses dueling each other into submission if they both start. Trainer Hernan Parra only has won 6% of his races in 2022, so I’ll play this one with a little bit of caution.
Fillies and mares go 1 mile and 1/16 in this conditioned $5K claimer that starts the Pick-5. It’s not very creative, but Volador (#9) looks to have a significant class edge over this group. She was claimed for $6,250 last year and has been on a steady diet of allowance races since. She hit the board a few times, but never seemed to be a threat to win any of those. This is a steep drop from those races, however, since she wasn’t a high priced runner or claim, I’m not as concerned. I think she outclasses this group tonight. Since she is dropping considerably, I will also include Lady Brexit (#2) on some of my tickets. She was a decent third on a yielding course at Penn National last month when facing open $6,250 claimers. She’s definitely been a better runner on turf than she is on dirt and her last few turf races have been solid enough to contend at this level tonight.
This time the boys go 1 Mile and 1/16 in a conditioned $5K claimer. El Pillo (#8) is the morning line favorite on the drop in class, and while he’s the one to beat, I’m going to play against this five year old that has shown very little in five starts this season. Double David (#7) interests me in this race, returning to Schistl’s barn after running his last four races for Kent Sweezey. He was a longshot winner over a good course at Monmouth back in May, beating conditioned $16K-$14K claimers that afternoon. His form has been up and down since, but he’s run well on this course in the past, narrowly missing in claiming company last fall. I don’t think he’ll be able to steal this race like he did at Monmouth, however, I do think Marin can work out a trip just off the cheap speed in here. Centerfoldprospect (#1) handled some softer ground last year, running some quality races in that span at Delaware Park. She hit the board in her last two turf races and might be able to get a cozy rail trip for her first start since joining Kathleen O’Connell’s barn. I’m interested to see if Jo Jo Katz (#6) can recover after losing the rider near the start last time out. His turf form at Tampa and Monmouth earlier in the year stacks up well enough in this group. Farro claimed him for $5K when he ran on dirt at Monmouth. His start before his last was okay, finishing 6th beaten four that afternoon. At 10-1 (ML) or better, I would consider him a live longshot.
Open $6K-$5K claimers are going 1 mile and 1/16 here. This is one of the more wide open races on the card tonight. Parlor (#8) has some form that has been muddied up a bit with several races on synthetic at Gulfstream. He was moved to Jose D’Angelo’s barn while shipping north from South Florida, and ran a much better race with similar company last month at Penn National. His last three turf races have been strong, and he’s done most of his career damage on the grass. Kitten Street (#9) drops in class and returns to the Meadowlands where he has one win and one third in two starts. He was a winner two starts back with time restricted $8K claimers, going gate to wire at Colonial. If Ruben Silvera is able to clear from the high draw, he may be tough to catch late. Takafumi (#3) is the morning line favorite after winning with open $10K claimers in his last start in Virginia. He definitely towers over this field from a class perspective, however, he was a voided claim in his last start and is now entered for a lower tag off that victory. I’ve been a fan of this horse for a while, and his turf form has held up, but there are a few red flags that concern me. Hieroglyphics (#6) found himself in the Winner’s Circle for the first time in 2022 when he beat open $22K-$18K claimers at Monmouth in August. He ran well in his three New Jersey starts, including a 4th place finish in the Presious Passion Stakes two back. His last at Aqueduct was far from his best though. This is a steep drop in class for him as well. I’ll cover with both of these guys, in what is a spread race for me.
Race 5: The $75K Born to Run Stakes
Recent Grade 3 winner, That’s Right (#6) is the headliner for sure in this five furlong stakes race for three year olds. After beating older horses in the Turf Monster last out, this race feels a bit like a drop in class. However, I do think there’s a realization that he’s better at five furlongs than 5 and ½ furlongs. I also think his connections realize that he’s likely not up to the task of facing the likes of Golden Pal and whatever Europeans are headed this way for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint next month. That leaves trainer Michael Moore very few options for this speedy and talented colt. He’ll likely have to outsprint some speedy foes early, which he’s done in the past. He did win convincingly on a good course at Monmouth earlier this year, but this course will likely be the softest that he has raced on. If he’s forced to go too hard early, it will be interesting to see if someone can run him down late. If anyone can, the logical one to do it would be Determined Kingdom (#9) from the outside stall. He did finish in front of That’s Right in the Mahony at Saratoga two back when That’s Right had a minor issue. His last with fellow Virginia breds in stakes company wasn’t the best, but his previous efforts would at least keep him close to the favorite. If nothing else, he feels like the right one to be underneath in this race.
The Friday nightcap is a $25K-$20K maiden claiming race for fillies and mares, three and up. There’s a few New York shippers in here, and the favorite, Gather the Facts (#3) is coming in for Chad Brown. She was bad without any visible excuse when dropping into a $75K maiden claiming race at Saratoga in August. Candlestick Maker (#9) ran at that level and finished a close 4th, about three lengths behind Miss Bonni, who won the race that Gather the Facts was a no-show in. Since then, Candlestick Maker has had two poor starts. However, her trip two starts back was miserable, so I can draw a line completely through that effort. She ran in an 11 furlong maiden special weight race at Delaware, which was likely beyond her best distance. She cuts back today and drops to a level where she should be able to find success. At 9-2 (ML) for her and 5-2 on Gather the Facts, I think she is the much better bet. Horses near the front end and on the inside part of the course seemed to fare well last weekend, and Jannie Mae (#1) checks both of those boxes. Jomar Torres may be offensive minded in this spot tonight while breaking from the rail. She looks to have the best early speed in the bunch and she might be able to get away with setting a slow tempo up front. She wasn’t bad when facing state bred $40K maiden claimers last month at Aqueduct, running a new career speed figure top while finishing second. I think she fits nicely at this level with this group this evening.
Pick-5, $48 Ticket:
I’ll go without a single in this sequence tonight, going two deep in three of the five races. I think Volador (#9, R2), That’s Right (#6, R5), and Candlestick Maker (#9, R6) are the most likely winners of their races. I’ll probably hit the All-A ticket a few times with only $3 per ticket at the $0.50 base wager. There are enough questions about each one of them to seek some additional coverage though.