Thoroughbred racing in New Jersey concludes for 2022 with this six race card in East Rutherford. Hector Diaz leads all riders with seven wins at this brief meet. He has a two race lead over apprentice Madeline Rowland, who had a winner last night. Both riders are on some live mounts this evening. 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||2||1,2||3,4,5||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|2||1||1,3||2,9||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|3||3||2,3||5||DBL, PK3, PK4|
The night starts off with a state bred maiden special weight for two years olds, sprinting five furlongs. I’m going to take a stand against Fixed Odds (#8), who is the morning line favorite. She has been a money burner in all four starts. She showed speed and faded in every start. She ran okay here two weeks ago when trying the turf for the first, but she coughed up a big lead and she’s burned me a few times already. I’m going to take Violets Smile (#2) on top after finishing less than a length behind the favorite in that same race. Like Fixed Odds, she was also making her first start on the turf that evening. She ran an even race after acting up a bit before the gate prior to the start. I like the jockey switch to Madeline Rowland because she is riding with supreme confidence on this course right now. Jersey Gregg (#1) will be the other one that I’ll use on the A line. He has three starts, all on dirt, and he finished second in all three. His dam, Amelia Island, foaled Amelia’s Wild Ride, who was a multiple stakes winner in turf sprints, many of those races coming in the Mid-Atlantic region. The sire, Uncaptured, hits with 12% of his runners in turf sprints, so I can see this colt moving forward here. On deeper tickets, I’ll cover my bases with three first time starters. Rory Huston sends out Vesparo (#5), who probably has the most turf-oriented pedigree in the field. This is one that will likely be better going longer and Huston doesn’t have great numbers with debut runners, however this one would not be shocking, and would be the worst value play underneath. Bettors are going see that Cathal Lynch has hit with 26% of his first time starters since 2021, and he sends out Hay Room (#4) here. He’s a New Jersey bred gelding, whose pedigree isn’t screaming turf. I do think there’s a chance that he’ll be overbet when looking at that statistic for Lynch. However, keep in mind that he is 0-14 over the last five years with two year olds debuting on the turf. He certainly has a chance, seeing as how this is not the deepest field. I’ll use him as a saver, but if he’s taking too much money at the windows, I’ll turn my attention elsewhere. Flat Out Lucky (#3) debuts for Ben Perkins Jr. tonight. He’s another one that doesn’t have a pedigree that screams turf sprint. However, he has worked well enough at Delaware and could be a threat as well.
This open $6K-$5K claiming race at 1 mile and 1/16 was brought back from last week’s canceled card. Kitten Street (#1) 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. He benefited greatly from the re-draw, as he was posted near the outside and now gets to break from the rail .He wants to be out front, and he has the speed and post to get him there. Rip Thorn (#3) is a new addition to this field, shipping in from West Virginia and getting back on the grass. He has seven career turf tries, winning three times and finishing second another three. His only off the board effort on grass was in a turf sprint at Colonial, meaning he’s never finished worse than second in a two turn turf race. I can see him sitting a cozy trip off the leaders and getting first run on the closers. Takafumi (#2) 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 (#9) 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.
Fillies and mares go 1 mile and 1/16 in a $25K-$20K maiden claiming race. I don’t trust the New York shipper, Linear Thinking (#4) for Jorge Abreu, who is the morning line favorite. I think this is the right level of competition for Kazachan (#3). She finished in the money in three races around this level at Tampa, Delaware, and Monmouth. She ran her last two races in maiden special weight company at Delaware, where she was off the board in both. Her race two back was strong though, and if she can reproduce that effort, she’s going to be tough here. Afraid Not (#2) is another live runner that Derek Ryan and Madeline Rowland will be teaming up with. She has had ten career tries to break her maiden, but all of those races came with maiden special weight types. She drops in for a tag for the first time tonight, while returning to the course she debuted on last year. She was closing well late in a five furlong sprint that night. She had a rough trip at long odds two weeks ago when finishing off the board here in open maiden special weight company. Look for her to do better tonight. Eau Claire (#5) has some upside, but she’ll have to do better than her last race when she was asked to go two turns for the first time at Saratoga while facing state bred $40K maiden claimers. The good course could have also been a struggle that day, but she’s likely going to get similar footing tonight. I have mixed feelings about her, but I do trust Delacour to right the ship while dropping her in class.
This is another claiming spot for fillies and mares, running with a $25K-$20K tag in this N3L contest. I like Princess Pinky (#2) quite a bit in this spot for Michelle Nevin and Hector Diaz. She was knocking on the door with N2L company for quite some time in New York, finally breaking through at Belmont in June. Since then, she ran two credible races with N3L company at Saratoga and Aqueduct. Since transitioning to the turf, she’s been a far more consistent animal, and the drop in class should suit her well. I think Diaz will be able to work out a very nice trip from her inside draw. On deeper tickets, I’ll cover with Diane’s Comet (#7), who is taking a sizable jump up in class. She’s done very well while competing against lesser foes, clearing the N2L condition with $7,500-$6,500 claimers two weeks ago on this course. Pino is 2-2 at this meet and Andy Hernandez, who rode her in a gate to wire fashion last time, is back aboard tonight. There are some stretch out sprinters in here, so I’m not sure that she’ll be able to walk on the front end, but if she’s left alone, she’s proven that she can fight hard late.
Open $12,500-$10,500 claimers sprint five furlongs here. As long as both Nitro Time (#1) and Stanhope (#2) are both in this race, I think there’s a strong chance that they’ll duel each other into submission. They’ve drawn the two inside posts, and both horses want to go early. There’s some other speed in the outside stalls that could be applying pressure as well. I feel this should set things up for the horses that are stalking or closing in here. I’ll keep both on the C line, possibly backing up on some deep tickets in case one misses the break. If either one defects from this race, I would upgrade whoever remains. Mai Ty One On (#5) nailed Stanhope on the wire in a race where the pace wasn’t as aggressive as I see this one. Mike Maker brings him back in two weeks, trying to strike while the iron is hot. He has run better races than he did last out and I think being second off the layoff, there’s a chance that he’ll show more tonight. Gran Malbec (#3) is another one that is coming off a win on the local course. He beat conditioned $5K claimers last month, so this is a clear step up in class. However, he’s an eight time winner at the distance and he broke a long losing streak last time out with a confident victory. Madeline Rowland has ridden him well since getting aboard for the first time two starts back. Bam Bam Blu (#7) is a ten year old gelding that was a bit dull against a sharper group two weeks ago. The last time he ran for a $12,500 tag, he was a winner by four lengths. He was a winner with open claimers at the Monmouth meet this summer and he figures to get a sweet trip with these tonight.
The New Jersey thoroughbred season ends with $25K-$20K maiden claimers dashing five furlongs. This race is absolutely wide open, and I’m not loving the shorter prices. Let’s try Alogon (#2) who will be making his first start on the turf and his first start since going to the Ed Allard barn. He’s shown nothing in two dirt starts with better at Oaklawn. He’s sired by California Chrome out of a Scat Daddy mare. The dam, Scamper, was foaled by Shananie’s Song, who was a very good five furlong turf horse in the Mid-Atlantic region. Scamper has not yet passed on that talent to any of her offspring, but neither sire of her other runners are known for producing turf runners. California Chrome was a Grade 1 winner on turf and dirt and he has produced some solid turf runners. I think this gelding has an upset shot here. The same could be said for Junglherly Love (#8). He debuted in a five furlong turf race with $16K maiden claimers at Parx in August. He was slow into stride, but was moving well late. He regressed when facing maiden allowance types in an off the turf race at one mile. He’s sired by Mosler, so turf should be where he runs better. I think he’s eligible to improve from his debut and be a factor at long odds with this group. Almond Cider (#10) tried sprinting on the grass last out and ran what was by far, his best career race. He was forwardly placed that day when getting nailed on the wire late when going 5 and ½ furlongs. The cutback to five furlongs may play to his strengths. If Constitutional Bid (#13) draws in off the also-eligible list, he’s one that I’d consider. His debut at Aqueduct in the spring was nothing special. He trailed throughout that day when going two turns. DeMasi gave him some time off and drops him in class. I’m not sure about the distance, but I do think he’ll fit at this level.
Pick 5, $54 Ticket:
I’ll use Princess Pinky (#2, R4) as a single in this sequence, which has the potential to pay handsomely. I don’t see a clear standout that should be heavily favored on the card. There are some shorter prices that feel vulnerable though. I think the last leg has the potential to produce some large mutuels, so hopefully, we’re on the right longshots.