Monmouth at the Meadowlands Racing Preview – 9/30/22 – By Eric Solomon

The Monmouth at the Meadowlands meet rolls on with a strong six race program filled with interesting betting races on the third night of the meet. Race 5 is the feature tonight, which is a N1X allowance race for fillies and mares going one mile on the turf. 14 entered that race, but only 12 will run as the rails remain all the way in tonight, allowing for a maximum of 12 starters per race. We’re keeping an eye on the remnants of Hurricane Ian, which shouldn’t affect tonight’s card, but could force a cancellation or postponement tomorrow night. Post time for the all-turf Friday night card is 7:00 (ET). 


Race Top Pick A B C Exotics Menu
1 9 2,6,9 14 DBL, PK3, PK6
2 5 2,5,7 DBL, PK3, PK5
3 7 7,8 3,11 DBL, PK3, PK4
4 7 7 6 3 DBL, PK3
5 2 2 11,13,14 DBL
6 2 2 6,8



Race 1:

We’ll get the evening started with a maiden special weight race for two year olds going one mile on the lawn in East Rutherford. An overflow field of 14 are entered, while only 12 will run. The race runs through Malibu Rumble (#6), making his third career start tonight. There were two maiden special weight races run on September 3rd at Monmouth, races 1 and 7. The 7th race, which Malibu Rumble is coming out of, was significantly faster than the 1st. He’s an Always Dreaming gelding that definitely took to the grass in his initial turf try. Trombetta kept him in New Jersey after his last start, suggesting that coming up here was a part of the plan. He’s the 3-1 favorite on the morning line, and at that price, he’s quite playable, especially with Superr Ron (#11), a horse that he was clearly better than, installed at 4-1. I suspect the gap between those two will widen though, as it should. I feel like 3-1 might be a pipe dream (at least from a pari-mutuel perspective), which gives me concern that the final number will be too low. He’ll be on my multi-race tickets in the A line, but I’ll try to beat him with a pair of Mendelssohn first time starters. I’ll make I Am the Game (#9) the top pick for Darien Rodriguez. He’s been working steadily since July at Monmouth in preparation for his debut. The dam only started once, and that was on dirt. Her two other foals were winners, with China Cat doing her best running on the dirt and Mumblebee breaking her maiden last year on synthetic in her first career route. Kingmambo is the dam sire, so there is turf ability on the dam side of the family to pair with the ability of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner in 2017. Hollywood Closeup (#2) sold for about three times as much money as I Am the Game at auction. He’s trained by Jorge Duarte, who like Rodriguez, has strong numbers with first time starters. His dam, Movie Moment, broke her maiden in her third career start, racing on the turf at this distance. She would go on to finish 3rd in the Senorita Stakes before retiring at the conclusion of her three year old campaign. He’s been working steadily at Colts Neck Stables for his debut. He’ll need some help to draw in, but if he does compete, Rock Chalk (#14) is worth a flier on some deeper plays. He’s coming in from New York off a pair of turf sprint races with restricted maiden special weight company. I do think he’ll be better going longer than 5 and ½ furlongs. If he runs here, he’ll have a tough assignment from his outside stall, but I do think his final odds will be higher than the 6-1 morning line figure. 


Race 2:

The Pick-5 starts with a New Jersey bred optional $20K claiming/N1R allowance race going one mile. I’m going to try to beat Optic Way (#6), who will likely be your post time favorite, despite being the second choice on the morning line. He’s a seven year old gelding that has banked almost $400K in career earnings for his connections. However, despite being a serious earner, he hasn’t visited the Winner’s Circle in almost three full years. He enters this race with the $20K claiming price, making this the first time that he’ll run for a tag since 2018. While he’s shown he’s capable on the turf, he’s run his best races on the dirt. His two solid efforts on the turf came over very firm courses at Monmouth. He didn’t appreciate the softer ground here years ago, and I’m not sure will like it tonight either. There’s a trip of three year olds that I find interesting, giving my top preference to Kaz Sweet Heist (#5). His last three starts on the dirt have been sharp. His lone turf start wasn’t great, but he didn’t have a very good trip that day either. He does have the Candy Ride influence on the dam side, and I think he’s worth using based on current form. Here Comes Billy (#7) tried two turns on the turf for the first time in his last start at Monmouth, nearly clearing the N1X condition that afternoon. He broke his maiden on this course in a sprint last season, and will likely be trying to take this group gate to wire. He’ll have to contend with Optic Way in the early stages, breaking one spot to his inside tonight. Indiantown (#2), who is another player in this race, may also have eyes on the early lead, and Jeremy Rose has the post to get him in that position if he wants it. He was third when closing in a sprint two back, while making his first start in over a year. Rose was offense minded last time out, going gate to wire in a contested race to break his maiden. He’s based at Delaware for Graham Motion, but is taking another field trip to New Jersey for the state bred money. He’s the morning line favorite, but I’d like him better at slightly longer odds. 


Race 3:

$12,500-$10,500 claimers are set to go one mile. Cabinet Pik (#8) has been one of the more interesting horses that I’ve seen over the last several years. He’s a seven year old gelding that has crossed the wire first in three consecutive races at this level down at Monmouth. He was disqualified and placed 5th (in a controversial decision) last out. However, what fascinates me about this horse is how cold the public has been on him in each of his last three starts. He’s gone off at double digit odds each time and he’s installed as the third choice tonight at 9-2 on the morning line. Birds Eye View (#3) and On the Couch (#5) are the favorite and second choice and both of them finished behind Cabinet Pik in their last three starts. I do wonder if Cabinet Pik can maintain his excellent form while changing venues and riders. However, from a value perspective, if he goes in the gate at longer odds than Birds Eye View or On the Couch like he did in his last three starts, I’d be inclined to back him on the win end once again. While he’ll be on the A line for me, the concerns have led me to make the new face, Outrageous Bet (#7) my top choice. He was in better form earlier in the summer, but has regressed a bit since a very dull effort in starter handicap company at Monmouth in August. He ran better races at Delaware, but both efforts were still below his standard. Perhaps this eight year old gelding is regressing, but his races on courses labeled good or softer are strong. I think he could be one to watch in the late stages of this one. Between Birds Eye View and On the Couch, the latter is the familiar face that I will use in this race. He’s been knocking on the door, getting some unlucky trips at times. He was rolling late two and three back after falling way back, only to come up a bit short. Angel Rodriguez will need to work out a better trip today after a rough journey last out, which is a toss effort for me. I’d prefer the higher number on him, since he has won races on a more consistent basis than Birds Eye View. I’ll be using that one underneath in the vertical exotics, but I’ll try to beat him in the rolling wagers. Justintimeforwine (#11) is another price play that I’ll use on some deeper plays. He’s got one way to go, and that’s out to the lead. He’ll have to work to clear from his wide draw, but he can be dangerous if he’s able to shake free while controlling the tempo up front. 


Race 4:

$25K-$20K N4L claimers are going one mile here. Trevor McCarthy will make the trip to ride Front Man (#7). He was a winner three starts back at Belmont, beating $35K N3L claimers that afternoon. He ran a credible race two back with $50K starter allowance company there before having a rough trip at the level in his start at Saratoga. He’s been very competitive with conditioned claimers on the turf and this field is not as tough as the field he beat in the spring. Extrasexybigdaddee (#6) is a bit of an X factor in this race. Michael Trombetta ships him in from Presque Isle Downs, where he’s run his last seven races on the Tapeta surface. He crushed a field of conditioned claimers two starts back and he just missed behind a horse that beat open allowance foes in his next start. The turf is a question mark, as he hasn’t been on the lawn since last year. His efforts last spring in stakes company on grass weren’t bad, so I do have some confidence that he could handle the shift in surface. He’s at 6-1 on the morning line, which is a playable price point for me. If his odds drop, I’d likely try to beat him though. Pantster (#3) is one that I’ll cover with on deeper tickets. He’s been away since finishing 5th in a state bred optional claiming/allowance race at Belmont when sprinting six furlongs. Since then, Oak Bluff Stables has moved him to Arnaud Delacour’s barn, and has him taking a significant drop in class. He stretches out to a two turn mile for only the third time in his career. On one hand, those two races at Saratoga were two of his best career races. On the other hand, the drop in class and circuit shift are a bit concerning for a New York bred runner that appears to have some ability. Value will also be in play here, but Delacour’s horses typically get bet in New Jersey, so I’m thinking he’ll go to post at odds lower than his 9-2 morning line figure. 



Race 5:

The featured race today is a N1X allowance contest for fillies and mares going one mile. This is an absolutely wide open race where the morning line favorite, Miss Bonnie T (#6) is 9-2. While I presume many will be spreading in this race, I’ll try to get skinny and make Texas Magic (#2) a single on my primary ticket. I really liked her effort three weeks ago at Monmouth when she just missed at this level. She was clearly better than the other horses in here exiting that same race and making the trip here (9/10/22, Race 11). There are some stretch out sprinters in here that could ensure an honest pace, however, she’s proven that she is versatile to sit closer to the front end if the early tempo is not aggressive. She’s made some significant progress since being claimed for $16K earlier in the Monmouth Meet. I think she’s run strong races against better fields at this level, and should be able to get the job done. I do think that if Tuscan Queen (#8) does end up here (she’s cross-entered in the last race at Belmont at the Big A today, where she’s the first also-eligible to draw in), she’ll go off as the favorite. I’m willing to take a stand against her going to two turns in this spot. I’m not sure she’ll be as effective at the longer distance while also getting a course that is a little softer than what she’s used to. If she does run in New York, the door does for either Quaria Thunder (#13) or Yarborough (#14) to draw in. I’ll cover with either one of these fillies if they do get to compete tonight. Neither will have a post that is ideal, but both fillies are improving. Quaria Thunder will be making her first start off the Jose Camejo claim. She’s been right there in her last four starts, winning one and finishing as the runner up in a photo in the other three. This is a step up in class, but Camejo has done extremely well getting horses to improve off the claim. He’s got a 36% success rate with horses first off the claim over the last two years. Kelly Breen took his shot with Yarborough at Kentucky Downs at the beginning of the month with the lucrative purses for allowance races there. She finished 9th of 12 that day at this distance. I really liked her maiden breaking effort two starts back, where, despite the slim margin of victory, I felt she was much the best that day. She was wide every step of the way, and still got up to beat a nice filly for the win. She’ll likely have to take the overland route again if she does draw into the 12 hole here. Skylerville (#11) is another logical player to include underneath in the vertical exotics. She clearly needed her last start when making her first start since December. She was eager, forging to the front early, but tiring in the final furlong when she finished 3rd. The wide post and the softer ground are all question marks that she’ll need to answer. I do expect her to take some money as well, coming from Jonathon Thomas’ barn. At 6-1 or better, I’d consider her, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the public drove her odds down to about 7-2, which seems too low for this group. 


Race 6:

An overflow field of $10K maiden claimers going one mile will end the evening at the Big M. I like Dream Astray (#2) quite a bit in this spot. He was wide in both of his two career turf starts, but he still ran well each time. He was a distant second to Et’s Magic Man two starts back. That one went on to win back to back races with starter/optional claiming company at Penn National and Parx. He was transferred to Darien Rodriguez’s barn last out, where he finished 4th, beaten 2 and ½ lengths with a inexplicably bad three wide trip. Strike Price (#10) beat him that day, with a much smoother trip. I think the roles will be reversed today with Strike Price in an outer stall, and other runners looking to be a part of the early temp. I’d consider making Dream Astray a single if playing on a tight budget, but since we’re dealing with cheaper claimers in a large field on the turf, I will look for a little extra coverage. Prince of Fenton (#8) may get overlooked, racing for Gregory DiPrima. DiPrima has only one win with 65 starters in 2022, but he is a capable trainer, and he’s won with 9% of his turf starters dating back to the beginning of 2021. He had a rough trip against significantly better competition in his only career race on turf at Aqueduct this spring. Ruben Silvera will take the mount on this son of Cairo Prince, who hits with 13% of his runners on the turf. Joshua (#6) is also a bit interesting in this spot, dropping out of state bred $40K maiden claiming races in New York. He’s by Animal Kingdom out of a Street Sense mare, so I’m a little surprised we haven’t seen him in a route on turf yet. However, his race in April at Aqueduct when sprinting on the turf was good enough to compete at this level. 

Pick-5, $36 Ticket:

I’ll invest $36 with my main ticket in the Pick-5 this evening. I do like both Texas Magic (#2, R5) and Dream Astray (#2, R6) in the last two races in this sequence. If either of the AE’s, Quaria Thunder (#13, R5) or Yarborough (#14, R5) draw into the body in the 5th race, I will be covering with them on some deeper plays, however, I believe that the table is set for Texas Magic to run her race and clear the N1X condition tonight. I’ll go four deep in the third race, which is a wide open claiming race, but I’ll be watching the tote board closely to see if there’s value to be had when putting together the Pick-4 tickets that start in that race. 

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