Monmouth Park Racing Preview – 6/12/21 – By Eric Solomon

This is the first big weekend of the young meet at Monmouth. They’ll run the meet’s first graded stakes on dirt, The Grade 3 Salvator Mile, which drew a solid field of 10, this afternoon. Tomorrow, the Derby runner-up, Mandaloun, headlines the Pegasus Stakes for three year olds. There’s a 13 race card today, with several interesting races and enticing multi-race sequences. One quick note, there will be no Pick-5 Preview video for today’s card. I was honored to join Peter Fornatale on the In The Money Player’s Podcast. We spent some time discussing that sequence a little more in depth, along with our thoughts on the Salvator Mile. I have linked that below for you to check out!

Race A B C Exotics Menu
1 2,5 1   DBL, PK3, PK5
2 4 3,5 6 DBL, PK3, PK4
3 1,6 2   DBL, PK3
4 6 5   DBL, PK3
5 7   2,6 DBL, PK3
6 1,2,4     DBL, PK3, PK4
7 6,7 8   DBL, PK3
8 7,8 5   DBL, PK3, PK6
9 9 6,10   DBL, PK3, PK5
10 7 10 1,3 DBL, PK3, PK4
11 1,2 5 3 DBL, PK3
12 8 6   DBL
13 1,4,10 3,5    





Race 1: Top Pick: 5

Multi-conditioned $5K filly and mare claimers kick off the Saturday program. All seven runners entered under the non-winners of two races in six months condition. Scatnap (2) is an eight year old mare that has raced 47 times, winning 11 of those races, but she’s doing something new for the first time; running a two turn race on dirt. She hasn’t raced on dirt since October 2019, when she was second with allowance company at Laurel. She has been coming up short when facing considerably tougher on the grass in her last three. She ran a monster race four starts ago at Gulfstream, but hasn’t had the same punch since she was claimed by Breen three back. She is likely going to be a short price, and there are angles here that I consistently try to beat. The problem is that there aren’t a lot of positives going for this group. The two most likely to beat her would be Wish You Were Mine (1) and Paynter Fest (5), the latter of which I made the top pick. Paynter Fest ships in from Tampa where she most recently was second. I didn’t love her effort that day though, as she folded up pretty easily after setting an easy pace. I think she’s better when she can sit right off the early leader, and Ferrin Peterson should be able to work out that kind of trip with Wish You Were Mine drawn along the rail. She has two decent races on this course, both in 2019 and both in the slop. The course should be dry today, but perhaps a change of scenery will be the key for her. Wish You Were Mine appears to have been battling some physical issues as she’s only been to the track five times since October 2019. Her last win was on this course last year in the slop, but her last several races on a fast dirt track have been disappointing.


Race 2: Top Pick: 4

Four of the seven entered in this $10K maiden claiming event, raced on opening weekend, with two horses coming out of the 5/29 race (R12) at this level and two coming out of the 5/30 race (R9) at the $20K-$18K maiden claiming level. Uncle Skeets (6) was the 8-5 morning line favorite in the 5-29 race, but Kelly Breen opted to scratch him and give him one more morning workout over the course before sending him out in the afternoon. However, this is a very suspicious drop in class as he was a $150K purchase in 2019. His only start was a strong second place finish last January at Gulfstream, when facing Florida bred maiden special weight company. In the seventeen months since that effort, he’s been gelded and moved to the Breen barn. He finally reappears, but he’s starting with lowly $10K tag. He’ll likely go off as the favorite, and I’ll cover him on deeper tickets, but the value lies elsewhere for sure. I’ll try the Asmussen runner, Dee Bo (4) on top dropping in after a dull effort with $25K state bred maiden claimers last out at Belmont. He showed a decent effort two back at Oaklawn with open $30K maiden claimers to start his three year old season. He drops to a level where he should be more competitive, and faces the smallest field he’s seen yet. Asmussen’s horses have been cold to start to the meet, but I think this one makes a lot of sense here. Confectioner (3) is an 0-15 maiden, who continues to run credible races with decent figures, but hasn’t been able to seal the deal. He was a heavy favorite in the 5-29 race when Tampa shipper, Fifty Cents, took advantage of being the lone speed in the race, and ran them off their feet in the slop. If all seven go to post here, the early pace should be livelier today, which does benefit him. Makoto (5) is another one that might benefit from a hot early pace. He has been focused on turf racing, but his pedigree leans dirt. His only dirt try came in his debut on this course back in 2019, so that effort can be forgiven. He’s third off the layoff and dropping in class today, so he’s another one that could be considered.


Race 3: Top Pick: 6

Both Nora Radd (1) and Hightime Valentine (6) competed against each other in the first race of the season here two weeks ago. I thought Nora Radd was more dangerous in that multi-conditioned $30K-$25K claimer, because she appeared to be the lone speed that evening. She definitely was better that day, finishing second, five lengths in front of Hightime Valentine. Both fillies drop to multi-conditioned $16K-$14K claiming company for three year old fillies or older fillies and mares that have never won twice. Hightime Valentine is the only multiple winner in the field and I think she is definitely better than what we saw from her two weeks ago. I’ll try her to rebound in this spot today, as I think there is more early speed signed on for Nora Radd to contend with. Hightime Valentine was very good two starts ago, beating an optional claiming/starter allowance field, while running a career top speed figure. She may have bounced a bit in her first spin over the local course as she struggled to relax off the early pace, which was a little slow to develop that day. I think the pace scenario suits her better today. Nora Radd is still a threat if she can run back to her career top she ran last out off the layoff for Delgado. She folded late as the winner, Tap The Barrel, was a simply the better horse that day. Ferrer gets the return call and the rail post suits her style just fine. One Night Stand (2) is the horse that I’m struggling with how to play here. Her first four races on dirt were not very good in Florida. She did show improvement, breaking her maiden in her 5th try against an off the turf $16K maiden claiming field at Gulfstream. She followed that effort up with a respectable try against better on the turf, going 1 Mile and 1/16. She comes up from South Florida and drops in class, while returning to a dirt sprint. Her last two have shown that she may be on the improve, and she looks to fit at this level. However, the six furlong distance may a bit short for her. One interesting note, her dam sire is Midnight Lute, who ran one of the most impressive 6 Furlong races in a sea of slop on this course in 2007 in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Race 4: Top Pick: 6

The first turf race of the afternoon is for fillies and mares that have never won three races, running with $25K-$20K tag. A Girl Named Jac (6) is the one to beat in this 5 and ½ Furlong sprint. She got on the grass for the first time two starts back at Pimlico and ran a strong race at 5 Furlongs, beating optional claiming/starter allowance foes there. She drew the ten post in her next start when trying two turns on the grass for the first time. She didn’t seem interested in the longer trip that day, fading to 5th, beaten 8+ lengths. She gets a little class relief and cuts back to a one turn race, which is where she does her best work. Beaux Arts (5) has one of the more interesting records that I’ve seen, as she has started eight times on this course in turf sprints, and has finished second all eight times. Her only local off the board finish here came in a two turn turf race in May 2018. She has raced 11 times in 5 or 5 and ½ Furlong turf sprints, winning twice elsewhere, finishing second all eight times here. Three of her last four starts have come on the dirt, and each of those efforts has been dismal. She has only raced four times since 2019, and her one turf sprint at Belmont in the span was, by far, her best. She drops to this level where she looks like she’ll be a tough foe.


Race 5: Top Pick: 7

The last leg of the Early Pick-5 is another claiming race for fillies and mares, this one also with the N3L condition, but with a $7,500-$6,500 claiming price. The race should set up nicely for Anydayisherday (7) who follows a familiar pattern that has worked reasonably well for Wayne Potts at this current meet. She ships in from New York, dropping in class off a brief rest, while making her first start for this barn. She has run her best races when she’s been able to sit off the early leaders and strike. As long as both Tuff Bird (2) and Tea Party (6) both go, she should get the right set up to get her third career victory. On deeper tickets, I’ll use both the early speed runners, Tuff Bird and Tea Party. Tuff Bird has gone way off form in her last two, so shipping in her and dropping is a logical play for Bruce Levine. Her best races have been when she is able to secure an easy early lead, which is a tricky proposition with Tea Party also entered. She has some races in the not-so-distant past that would play very well at this level though. Tea Party is also coming off a clunker when there was a lot of pressure for the early lead. Like Tuff Bird, her two wins came when she had an easy lead on the front end. If one of these two scratches, I’d definitely upgrade their chances. I’d also upgrade them if speed on the dirt is playing well in the first few races. However, if they both run, the door should be wide open for Anydayisherday, and I’d feel comfortable singling her in that scenario.


Early Pick-5 Ticket: $36.00

Race 1: 1, 2, 5

Race 2: 3, 4, 5, 6

Race 3: 1, 2, 6

Race 4: 5, 6

Race 5: 7


Race 6: Top Pick: 1

Multi-conditioned 5K claimers sprint 6 Furlongs here. This race is eligible for three year olds and upward that have either never won four races or have not won twice in the last six months. Do note that with the larger 13 race program today, this race will kick off a mid-card Pick-4 wager. Sneakiness (3) is two races removed from being claimed for $32K at Aqueduct. He faltered with $16K claimers last out, and is now entered for a $5K tag. While he gets obvious class relief and the services of Paco Lopez, this is kind of horse that I can’t play. The best case scenario for the owners is that they lose over 50% of their initial investment made in March. He is trending in the wrong direction and there are obvious warning signs. I’ll use three in here to try to beat this suspect runner. Siesta Moon (1) went off form for a bit a Tampa, but his last race signaled that he may be ready to start running stronger races again. He was much better at Gulfstream and Gulfstream West prior to shipping to Tampa, so he may not have loved the surface there. He drops in class after finishing second with open $6,250 claimers last out. I like his chances to get the job done today. Mac’s Revolution (4) could be tough at this level after running a respectable effort at price in the slop with better here two weeks ago. He was claimed for $8K four back at Aqueduct, and has faced stronger fields in his three starts for Clarence King. He drops in class and should get a decent stalking trip today. He’s never won a race shorter than a mile, but his last two sprints have been encouraging. Rockysbuckaroo (2) is another one that may be rounding back into better form after some dull efforts at Tampa. He has a win and two thirds in four career starts on this course. Pimental worked the condition book well when he started him four days after becoming eligible for a non-winners of one race in six months last out. His tactics rewarded his connections as he romped by six lengths. He moves up slightly in class, but has shown the ability to put together solid efforts in back to back starts.


Race 7: Top Pick: 7

$16K-$14K maiden claiming fillies and mares sprint five furlongs on the grass. Both She Broke My Heart (6) and No Valla (7) scratched out of a two turn race last week that was taken off the turf and moved to the main track at this same level of competition. They both opted to come back in this sprint, which is probably not an ideal distance for either, but there is no one is here that really has any real turf sprint form to speak of. I made No Valla the top choice again, as I think she’ll put forth a better effort in her second start after running into trouble on the first turn while trying to establish early position. The first and third place finisher of that race at Tampa came back to win in their next starts, I think she draws a better post, especially for a one turn race, and will be tough here. She Broke My Heart will be main danger, making her first start of the season. She has run some strong races at two turns on the grass, finishing a close second all three times. She is definitely live here, but I think she’ll be much better next time when going back to longer races. A Ring Thing (8) took the winter off after a dull effort in October at this level at Delaware. DeMasi does well with runners off the layoff, and has been very successful with her turf sprinters, winning 28% of her races over the last 18 months in turf sprints. Like the top two picks, I think she’s more effective at two turns, but she won’t have to be at her best to win here.


Race 8: Top Pick: 7

A solid sequence for the Jersey Shore 6 kicks off here with an optional $16K claiming/N1X allowance at 6 Furlongs. Christopher (7) is already a winner at the meet, beating multi-conditioned claimers in the slop two weeks ago, when given a perfectly timed ride by Jomar Torres. He’s sired by Blame, so I think naturally his connections thought two turns for him. However, he may favor his dam sire, Forestry, and wind up being a solid sprinter. He’s currently a perfect 2-2 on this track at the 6 Furlong distance. There is a decent amount of speed signed on for this race, so a closer could easily have the advantage here. I’ll give him the edge over the more accomplished closer from the Asmussen barn, Gallant Plunger (8). He was a two time winner at the recently concluded Oaklawn meet. He shipped to Lone Star, and closed well to finish third, beaten less than a length at this level. He’s been beaten as the odds on favorite in his last two starts, and Asmussen has been off to a slow start with his runners at this meet. Gerardo Corrales is scheduled to ride here for the first time this meet, so how he handles the new whip regulations is also a bit of a question mark. However, despite the some of the knocks, many of his efforts have been better that what we’ve seen from many of these. Acceptable Risk (5) was a strong gate to wire winner here in his only career start in September on this course. He was trained by Chad Brown that day, and has since been transferred to the Todd Pletcher barn. Like Asmussen, Pletcher has been off to a slow start at this meet. This one may prove to simply be better than his seven rivals, however, he will have to work hard to get the early lead if that is the strategy today. He has three solid runners breaking to his inside that will want to go early. He will certainly take money, so the value likely won’t be there, but his debut was good enough to cover him on some of the multi-race wagers.


Race 9: Top Pick: 9

The late Pick-5 kicks off on the grass, with multi-conditioned $30K-$25K claimers. Paco Lopez is so good in races like this on the Monmouth Park turf, especially with horses that sit just off the pace, and he pilots Elusive Ruler (9), who fits that mold to a tee. This four year old son of Empire Maker makes his second start of the year after a decent return with similar at Belmont last month. With the exception of a roughly run starter allowance on closing day at Saratoga, he has been right there in his other 6 grass races. I expect him to take a step forward today and I believe he’ll be very tough to beat in this race. Service With Honor (6) makes only his third career start, and his first start on the grass and at two turns. However, he is sired by 2011 Secretariat winner, Treasure Beach, so there’s reason to believe he can move forward on the lawn. His debut on the dirt was solid with $16K maiden claimers at Tampa. He was dull last out in his local debut in the slop at a similar class level, but I think the plan was always to get him on the grass. I’d demand value, as he is lightly raced and doing a lot of things for the first time, however, I think he has a live look in this race. Eagerly (10) is not too far off from Elusive Ruler, however, the main difference for me is the rider. Heriberto Figueroa has only two wins in 90 starts in 2021, and while he is a capable rider, he’s not in the same league as Paco Lopez, especially on this course. I would likely make him the top choice if the rider assignments were reversed. If the odds discrepancy is wide, I could see upgrading him in his second start off the layoff and return to the grass.


Race 10: The Grade 3 Salvator Mile: Top Pick: 7

I think this is the race where Ny Traffic (7) breaks through to win his first graded stakes race. His efforts in the Matt Winn and the Haskell, finishing close seconds to Maxfield and Authentic, look really good now, especially when looking at what those horses have done since those races. He had tough trips in the Derby in the Preakness last fall, running wide every step of the way in the Derby, and taking a bad stumble at the break in the Preakness. He returned in New York where he absolutely decimated a state bred optional claiming/allowance field at Belmont. He comes back here to the site of his best effort to date, and I think he makes a statement this afternoon. Last year’s winner of this race, Pirate’s Punch (10) was done no favors with the post draw in the one mile race, however, he’s a classy five year old gelding that had two monster efforts on this track last year. He was disqualified in a controversial decision in the Phillip Iselin in August, when he won he got the better of Warrior’s Charge in a strong stretch performance. He made amends when he won this race, which served as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in September. He took a swing in that race against the big boys, and was too close to the blistering pace set by Knicks Go that afternoon. He’s been off for six months, and opts to start his five year old campaign here, where there’s a nice series of graded stakes races for older horses throughout the summer. It’s hard to believe that Galerio (1) was available to be claimed for $35K back in November at Laurel. Prior to that claim, he had seven wins, eight seconds, and a third in 19 career starts. He won the race where he was claimed and tried stakes racing since joining the Dale Bennett barn. He finished second in three straight stakes races, and most recently, crushed allowance foes at Pimlico. He tries graded stakes company for the first time today. He might not be as good as a top two, but he’s drawn well and is as honest as they come. Bal Harbour (3) ran a big race in his first start of the season in the Monmouth Cup last year. He finished third that day and in three more grade 3 races here last year before running a dull race at Laurel in the Richard Small Memorial in November. He has never been off the board here, but is likely a more serious threat underneath than on top.


Race 11: Top Pick: 2

This is a tough maiden special weight on the grass at 1 Mile and 1/16 for three year olds and upward. Two four year olds entered, one of which is a first time starter, Lumino (8), from the Todd Pletcher barn. When his connections paid $2.1 million for him, I don’t think they envisioned him debuting as a four year old at two turns on the grass. I’ll pass on him today and focus on a pair of second time starters. I made Fifty Sheas Ofgrey (2) my top pick after an educational debut at Gulfstream last month. He was steadied a bit right before the first turn, and as a result didn’t corner well. Camacho had him near the back of the pack, and he drove him through a narrow opening along the rail to get up for third, well beaten by the winner that day. I think the added distance should favor him, along with hopefully being able to secure better position in the early stages. I think the chute start and an inside draw are will help. Freer (1) is the other Pletcher entrant in this race and the likely post time favorite, after nearly going gate to wire on debut at Gulfstream, when going off at 18-1. That was a deep field that day and Edgar Prado was almost able to steal the race on the front end. The fractions were honest though and he tired a bit late. He should be more fit for this race, and Paco Lopez gets the call for his local debut. Neotopic (5) has been off since March after running a quality second, at Gulfstream. He closed well in his second career try. Toner has kept him busy in the interim, scheduling regular workouts at Fair Hill. He might have the best closing kick of the group. He’spuregold (3) is the horse that I struggled with the most here. I like that he’s moved in to Kelly Breen barn after hitting the board in four of five career starts. However, he’s never really been a threat to win any of those races. He had trouble at the 1/8 pole in his lone off the board finish, but prior to the issue, he didn’t look like he was winning that race either. On paper, he definitely fits, but others have been more visually impressive. I’ll cover with him on deeper tickets, but I think he’s more likely to appear underneath than in the Winner’s Circle.


Race 12:  Top Pick: 8

$8K-$7K filly and mare claimers that have not won a race in the last six months go in this race. There’s and even money morning line favorite, Starship Reina (6), who has finished second in her last four starts with better fields at Tampa. She was claimed last out by Jose Delgado who runs her back for the same tag, while dropping into restricted company. My concern is that he has named Christian Dominguez as the rider in this race, who has yet to ride a horse in a race this year and has only ridden in 35 thoroughbred races in the last two and half years. He has won two of those 35 races and has a 5.5% career winning percentage. Perhaps he’s been working horses in the AM for Delgado, and has earned the chance to ride this one, however, it’s hard to accept even money on a horse with such unproven human connections aboard. I’ll try Tuesday’s Rose (8) for Jesus Cruz who has never been worse than second in four starts on this oval, winning two of those starts. Cruz trained a $27 winner here last night, so I believe he’s been shipping live runners here from West Virginia. She has not been good at Charles Town, but the tricky configuration simply may not be to her liking. She has also been running in 4 and ½ Furlong races, and I don’t think she has enough early foot to thrive in that kind of sprint. Her races over more traditional eight or nine furlong ovals are much better. She stretches back out to six furlongs and should benefit from the outside draw. I think she runs a much better effort today.


Race 13: Top Pick: 10

The nightcap is a N1X allowance for fillies and mares, three and up, at one mile on the turf, and it might be the most wide open race on the card. I think you’ll be able to afford some coverage in this race, as there are some places earlier in the Pick 4, 5, and 6 sequences where I think you can pare down the ticket. I like Champagne Horizon (10) getting back on the grass this afternoon after three dull dirt races in a row. She wintered at Oaklawn where turf racing is not an option, and was beaten double digits in both dirt starts there this year. Her turf record is solid, winning four times, and hitting the board five more time in fourteen career starts. She was very good on this course last year winning once, and finishing a length or less behind the winner in the other two starts. Her wide draw is not ideal, but she’ll be coming from the back of the pack, so she should be able to work out a trip. Coworth Park (4) takes on her elders for the first time today after two off the board finishes in stakes company at Gulfstream. Con Lima who beat her last out, went on to win the Grade 3 Wonder Again last weekend at Belmont. She drops to allowance company where she should be more competitive. I Hear You (1) has been a little dull in her last two, but you can make excuses as she was checked hard two back at the Fair Grounds, and she was beaten by a much better filly when going one turn at Belmont last out. She’s in her third race of this form cycle and she should appreciate getting back to two turns. She has enough tactical speed to secure a good spot from her rail post. On deeper tickets, Amortization (5) makes her first start against winners for Chad Brown today, She’s had some gaps between her starts, but Chad Brown seems to find a way with horses like this. She’s one that I’ll try to beat, but I’ll cover myself with. Pugilist (3) has finished in the money in her last seven starts, not far behind the winner in any of them. Despite not winning in a while, she is a five time winner, who has hit the board in 20 of 26 career turf races. She’s more of a threat underneath, but yet another who could be live here.


Meet Stats: 22/72 (Top Pick Winners) – $154.20 / $2.14 ROI per $2 win bet


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