There are only two more nights of live thoroughbred racing in New Jersey for 2021, tonight and next Saturday night. First post is 7:00 for the back end of the Meadowlands double, as the harness card starts at 12:00 noon today and next Saturday. The rails are set at 0 tonight, so field sizes are capped at 12 starters per race.
|1||1||6,7||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|2||2,7||5||8||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|3||9||4||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 1: Top Pick: 1
A full field of restricted $5K claiming fillies and mares start the evening in East Rutherford, NJ. There’s not much speed signed on, so this looks like the perfect spot for Driven by Speed (1) to wire this group on the drop in class. She’s making her third start of the meet, and she ran well with starter allowance foes two back. Toss her last where she struggled against better at long odds. She’s got the rail, so I like her chances while taking the shortest way home. Sip ‘n Dip (7) ran a big race out of nowhere to win on the grass on opening night here, earning her second career win. She’s had a long campaign, making her 16th start of 2021 tonight, but her last race was by far her best. She figures to get a good trip, stalking a moderate to slow pace. I could play her back here. Ghostly Beauty (6) had a wide journey at this level two weeks ago. I think she’ll benefit from moving in a few spots in the starting gate and getting a run over the course. Nik Juarez rode well here last week and he gets the mount tonight.
Race 2: Top Pick: 7
It’s tough to make heads or tails in this field that kicks off the Pick-5 wager on tonight’s card. I’ll lean to the experience with Protectthewitness (7), who is the only one to have run in actual race in here. She debuted at Penn National and finished an unremarkable 4th. However, she’s sired by Peace and Justice who is by War Front, so there’s more of a turf pedigree with this one than most in here. Moment to Dream (2) is a Star Guitar filly making her debut for Jose Camejo, and while I’d prefer on her on the dirt, she looks quicker than many of these in the AM. Afraid Not (5) is one of two sent out by Derek Ryan here and she’s the one that might be better suited to a turf sprint. She worked well enough at Monmouth last week to consider her in this field. Tasweya (8) is the morning line favorite for Michael Pino, after a long string of works at Parx. She’s another one that might be better on the dirt, but she finds a field that isn’t the sharpest for the condition to make her debut. I don’t love the 7-2 odds on the morning line, so the value may lie elsewhere.
Race 3: Top Pick: 9
There’s not much to say about this New Jersey bred optional claiming/N1X allowance, other than Diamond Play (9) will be a heavy favorite while facing a soft field for the condition. Most of the competition in here is either better on dirt, or not nearly as fast as the favorite. However, many are entered in here to take one last shot for the year in a race restricted to fellow Jersey breds. Her last five turf races have been very good, ether winning or finishing less than a length behind the winner. Two starts back, she was three lengths better than Postino’s Idol (4). That one closed the gap a little bit when both faced open starter allowance foes here three weeks ago. She’s been very consistent, but she’ll likely need everything to break her way to beat the favorite.
Race 4: Top Pick: 5
This is a very good $12,500-$10,500 claiming race at one mile on the grass. This condition has been strong all summer at Monmouth, so it’s no surprise that this field is as deep as it it. I think there’s going to be a lively pace in here, which should set things up nicely for either Vettorti Kin (5) or D’Craziness (9). Vettori Kin gets the narrow nod after closing well to finish third, beaten less than a length by Projected (11) in a $10K claimer here on opening night. He was interfered with and moved up to second in that race. He was in sharp form this spring and his last race suggests that he’s headed back to those races. D’Craziness struggled with better at Delaware last out, but he was very good at this level throughout the summer. He got within a half length of Projected when they met at Monmouth in June, but I think the pace scenario might tilt this race in his favor. Projected was one of my favorite horses at the Monmouth meet, because he always showed up every time. He was gasping for air last out when he barely held off the late comers, but he drifted out enough to warrant a disqualification. He was claimed by Darien Rodriguez, who is yet another sharp claiming trainer that wants a piece of this horse. I think he’ll need to work out a trip and avoid the speed duel to score for his new connections. Bold Daddy (6) could be the pace presence that forces the issue with Projected. He came back at this level off a long layoff, and he looked like he needed that race. He’s second off the layoff now, and Kelly Breen has won with 3 of his 5 starters at this meet. He has the back class to be a player at this level.
Race 5: Top Pick: 6
It’s good to see Paco Lopez named to ride Infinite Potential (12) in this race, after taking a nasty spill last week on this course. He’ll be on the short priced favorite, whose one of two recent maiden winners that Chad Brown is sending out in this featured allowance. Paco will have to work out a trip with this filly from a tricky post in her first start against winners. She’s never run a bad race and certainly makes plenty of sense, but I’ll make Striking Chrome (6) my top pick. She’s never been off the board when going two turns and her only poor race came in a 6 Furlong stakes race on the dirt. I liked both of her two career turf races this spring at Tampa Bay Downs. She’s run well on the main track at Delaware this meet and she could offer some decent value getting back on the grass here. Bleecker Street (5) is the other Chad Brown horse in this race. She won on debut in a decent maiden special weight race at Monmouth this summer. Hector Diaz rode her that day and he gets the return call on this daughter of Quality Road that cost her connections $400K back in August.
Race 6: Top Pick: 8
The nightcap is a $10K maiden claiming contest for fillies and mares dashing five furlongs. Jesus Cruz hasn’t had a starter at the Monmouth at the Meadowlands meet yet, but I caught some nice prices with him this summer at Monmouth, and he sends out Signs of Jealousy (8) in her second career start. Her debut with maiden special weight foes at Charles Town was not good. She flashed a little speed before fading quickly to 5th, 14 lengths behind the winner. She makes her first start since joining Cruz’s barn, which is one of a few positive signs with her. She’s sired by Stormy Atlantic, who is a good turf sprint sire, especially in the mid-Atlantic region. Jorge Panaijo has ridden very well on this course at this abbreviated meet. Kaz’s Princess (2) ships in from Penn National after losing her jockey in a race that was taken off the turf last out. Her five furlong turf efforts in PA, would make her very competitive at this level here. Tap Solo (9) rejoins the Mike Dini barn after starting for Mark Hoffman up at Presque Isle last out. She’s never sprinted on the turf, but she’s run well enough on the grass at two turns to think that she could compete with this group.