This weekend marks the last two days of turf racing for the all turf, Monmouth at the Meadowlands meet. There was some rain in the area earlier in the week, but it’s been dry since, so we should be good to go for the last two nights. Some of the races that were carded last Friday that had to be canceled after the first race, have been brought back tonight. The feature is a N1X allowance race for three year olds and up going one mile. First post for the six race program is 7:00 PM (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||9||9||6,12||11||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|2||3||3,6||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|3||2||2,8||5,10||DBL, PK3, PK4|
The night starts with a full field of conditioned $5K claimers, going one mile. This race was brought back from Friday, but there’s a new face here. Parlor (#9) was entered in an open $6K-$5K claiming race on the same canceled program. That race was not brought back, so he winds up here. He 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 barm 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. Double David (#6) interests me a little bit in this race while 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 (#12) drew the rail last week, but now ends up on the far outside today. He 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 (#11) 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 12-1 (ML) or better, I would consider him a live longshot.
Fillies and mares go one mile in this $25K N4L claiming race. Texas Magic (#6) is the morning line favorite and clearly the one beat while dropping out of allowance company tonight. She was claimed for $16K when winning at Monmouth back in June. She was 5th in a very good allowance race on the Haskell undercard and has been the bridesmaid in her last three starts at that level, finishing second each time. She is classy and consistent, plus she has a nice race over this course. My one concern is that she could be pace compromised in this spot, since there isn’t a ton of early speed signed on, and she doesn’t really have any of that herself. I’ll use her on the A line, but I’ll make Donya’s Magic (#3) the top pick, hoping she can harness her early speed today with Luis Rodriguez Castro taking over for Albin Jimenez. Even though the times look slow on paper, she set an aggressive pace with open $12,500-$10,500 claimers here last month. Pugilist, who would likely be favored in this race if she were eligible, was the winner that night. I was impressed with how Donya’s Magic hung in there while fading to 4th. The horse that pressed the pace behind her, Luli’s Dancer, finished up the track that night, but came back to crush lesser foes on the dirt two weeks ago at Parx. I think she can clear this field early and I’ll hope that she can slow the pace down in the second quarter.
I’m going to swing for the fences and use Quiberon Bay (#2) at 30-1 on the morning line as my top pick in this state bred optional $30K claiming/N2R allowance race. This seven year old gelding has only started three times in 2022, with none of those efforts being all that impressive. However, he was a winner of a very good open N1X allowance race on the Haskell undercard in 2021 and a close second place finisher in the Irish War Cry Stakes for New Jersey breds that same summer. He’s dropping in class, facing state bred allowance types for the first time this year. His previous three starts have all come against sharper foes. Toss his last in the Joey P. Stakes as five furlongs feels too short for him. Isaac Castillo gets the call for Joan Milne on this horse that feels like way too big of a price for me. Passport (#8) is another runner that has been facing better foes in his recent efforts. He’s been competitive in open company at both Monmouth and Delaware, flying home late to be third in open N1X allowance company last month at Monmouth. His last win came against state breds, so this drop in class should be beneficial. Leo Monte (#10) was a winner last month when facing conditioned claimers at Monmouth. He was excellent back in June when clearing the state bred N1X condition, finishing in front of the heavily favored There Are No Words. He had a valid excuse for his only poor outing on the grass this year. Here Comes Billy (#5) is going to try to take them all the way on the front end here. I do worry that with some stretch out sprinters sprinkled in this race, he may be asked to go too fast up front. He faded in the late stages when rolling on the front on this course earlier in the meet. While I am concerned that he’ll be caught late again while facing a tougher group, he is an improving three year old, so there is room to grow.
I’ll take another shot here and hope that Spark (#12) can work out a trip from post 12 with Madeline Rowland riding for Jerry Hollendorfer. He ran one of his best North American races on a good course at Monmouth and I’m assuming the course should still have some give in it tonight. Her last three tries haven’t been great, however, he hasn’t had the best trips while facing some better opposition. I’m not sure what is ceiling is, but I do think he’s capable of running better than what we’ve seen from over the last few months. Parx invader, Callmethebreeze (#4) is going to try to take this group gate to wire while making his first career start outside of Bensalem, PA. He’s been a much better horse since transitioning to the turf back in June. They just announced that turf racing is done for 2022 at Parx, so his options for grass racing are starting to dwindle. He did struggle a bit on a good course last month, but he was outside of the early speed that day. I think Abner Adorno can get him to the front and maintain rail position today. Grecian Pharoah (#11) is another one that will have to overcome a less than ideal post position for this race. He gets back on the turf after a pair of failed attempts on the dirt in New York. He’s shown that he;s more competitive on the grass over the last year or so, and getting some class relief will only help his cause.
The featured race tonight is a N1X allowance race for three year olds and up going one mile. I like Uncle Curly (#10) and Paco Lopez quite a bit in this race. He finished in the money in the last two legs of the Malouf Auto Group Starter Handicap Series at Monmouth in his last two starts. He was a winner earlier in the summer when facing New York N1X foes at Belmont. He was very sharp on this course last season and I think he’ll relish the opportunity to be back. Chad Brown trains Microphone (#2), who will likely go into the gate as the heavy favorite. While he;s absolutely the one to beat on paper, Brown’s horses have struggled mightily at this meet so far, going 0-5 with only one third place finish. He was a winner on debut, but has struggled to find his best stride when facing winners. Both the winner and the runner up of his last start came back to win in their next starts. That being said, my main concern is that he’ll leave himself too much work to do to get home in this mile event. I’ll use him as a backup, but there;s definite value in trying to beat him.
Maiden two year old fillies sprint five furlongs in the nightcap. I think Paco Lopez has a live shot in the Late Double, riding the first time starter Sweet Track (#3) here. She’s sired by Uncle Mo and is the first foal to run from the multiple stakes winning dam, Smiling Causeway. She did her best work at five furlongs on the grass, so this race should be right in her wheelhouse tonight. Arnaud Delacour has great numbers with first time starters and turf sprinters. Up For It (#9) is the morning line favorite by virtue of having a race under his belt. She closed well at Laurel to narrowly lose in a photo in her debut. She’s another one that has a pedigree that should nicely to one turn turf races. Pink Party Pants (#2) is trying to be the first horse sired by turf sprinter, Bucchero, to win a race on the grass. Danny Gargan has this one working at Belmont on the training track, but he opts to send her here for her first try. I’ll also make sure to include Motown Mika (#4) on my tickets. She makes her third start today after being beaten by double digit lengths in her first two starts. The dam did all of her best work at this distance on the turf, so the cutback in distance may prove to be a winning move in her third career start.
This ticket is based around the idea that Uncle Curly (#10, R5) can beat his 11 rivals, most notably, Microphone (#2, R5) in the 5th race. If he can do that, there are some juicy longshots like Quiberon Bay (#2, R3) and Spark (#12, R4) that could be the key/s to sparking a profitable wager.
Leave a Reply