Monmouth Park Racing Preview – 6/12/22 – By Eric Solomon

The week of racing ends in Oceanport, New Jersey with an 11 race program this Sunday afternoon. After some unexpected heavy rains wreaked havoc with yesterday’s races, I’ve handicapped today’s card for both surfaces. The forecast today is certainly up in the air, as the possibility of storms exists. The feature today is the Sunny Ridge Handicap for New Jersey breds going one mile on the main track. 

EDIT: They are off there this afternoon at Monmouth.

 

I’ll be covering the Monmouth Park 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 Turf: 3

Dirt: 3

3

3

5,8

10

DBL, PK3, PK5
2 4 4,6 5 DBL, PK3, PK4
3 2 2 1 DBL, PK3
4 6 5,6 DBL, PK3
5 Turf: 3

Dirt: 6

3

6

6

7

1 DBL, PK3
6 6 2,3,6 DBL, PK3, PK6
7 Turf: 2

Dirt: 5

2,8,10

5,7

4 DBL, PK3, PK5
8 4 4 5 DBL, PK3, PK4
9 Turf: 1

Dirt: 11

1,2,10

2,10,11

8 DBL, PK3
10 7 3,7 1,6 DBL
11 3 3 10

 

 

 

Race 1:

The day starts with a 5 and ½ furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares under open $12,500-$10,500 claiming conditions. Odramark (#5) is the heavy morning line favorite, but she is one that I have concerns about in this race. She makes her first start in three months, and horses running off that kind of layoff have struggled for Kelly Breen over the last few years. She was excellent on this course last season, clearing the N1X allowance level at this distance in June. Her form has tailed off a bit though, and more recently she was running in two turn races on the Tapeta at Gulfstream Park. She also returns while running for a $12,500 tag after five straight races in protected races. I will cover with her because she is the class of this field, however, I have enough doubts to try to beat her. Torn Jeans (#3) looks to win her third straight race while moving back to the turf this afternoon. She was a winner in her last start on grass back in November at Hawthorne, taking a $15K N2L claiming field gate to wire that day. Since moving to Felix Flores-Coba’s barn at Parx, she is a perfect 2-2 on the dirt, most recently dominating a $7,500 N4L claiming field at six furlongs there. She is in better form than many in here and I think she might be better on turf. She Broke My Heart (#8) is a horse that was very good in the first half of the meet last year here, but she tailed off considerably. She won her first two starts at last year’s meet and ran on late to get 4th, beaten less than a length in N1X company in July. After that race, she seemed to lack the same punch we saw from her before. Michael Catalano claimed her in November at Parx and has had her on the sidelines since. She has run well fresh before, so I’d be willing to give her another shot here. However, the morning line price of 7-2 feels a little light, so I’d be looking for slightly better odds to take that chance. 

 

On dirt: Torn Jeans (#3) has won two in a row on the main track and would likely be a major player. She’s the top pick for me on either surface. Main track only entrant Wedontbelieveher (#10) was a winner in a dead heat in the slop with time restricted $8K-$7K claimers. She’s been improving over the last few starts and would certainly be a contender on dirt.

 

Race 2:

Bottom $10K maiden claimers go 1 mile and 70 yards in the back half of the early daily double. I’ve liked El Mic Tiesun (#3) in his first two races at the meet, while sprinting at this level. He’s run credible races, finishing 2nd and 4th, and now he gets a rider upgrade to Paco Lopez. However, there’s nothing in his running lines that tells me he’s going to take a step forward at two turns in his 14th career start. I can’t play him at 3-2 (ML) here. I’ll use Bell Boy (#4) on top here, stretching out from a five furlong race at this level last out in his local debut. He didn’t show much when facing state bred maiden claimers at Aqueduct, so the ship and drop was a logical move. He doesn’t have the speed to be competitive at five furlongs, but he could be a horse that moves forward while going two turns. Plunk (#6) is the only runner in the field with a decent effort when going two turns on the dirt, finishing second at Tampa at this level two starts ago. He struggled against a better field for this condition last month in his local debut when Bird Ruler ran a big race to break his maiden. I don’t see anyone capable of running that kind of race in this field today. On deeper tickets, Angeli Blu (#5) is a horse that Kelly Breen seems to be struggling to figure out. He makes his third start off the layoff today after rallying well to be third in the same five furlong maiden race at this level that Bell Boy is coming out of. Paco Lopez has been riding a lot of Breen, so I don’t love that he opted for El Mic Tiesun over him, however, the five pound weight break that he’ll get with having the apprentice, Jose Gomez, might mean something in a race like this. 

 

Race 3:

Not all starter allowance races are created equal, and the $8K starter allowance races that Double the Heart (#2) has been running in over at Parx are far superior to the competition that he’ll face in this $5K starter allowance race here. The $8K starter allowance races have been very salty over there, and not seeing a horse like Sevier could very well be what the doctor ordered for this six year old that has struggled lately over there while sprinting. His efforts in two turn races back in March were stronger, so I think he’s a horse that could be sitting on a huge effort with this field. I’d consider using him as a single if the track had been playing kinder to speed over the last few weeks. However, as long as the track seems fair today, I think he’s going to be very tough to beat. Luxero (#1) is the morning line favorite after a very impressive win with time restricted $12,500-$10,500 claimers last week. He’s set to make a quick turnaround for Claudio Gonzalez, who may have right the ship with this one after going off form for a bit at Gulfstream. If Angel Rodriguez can work out the same kind of a trip this week, he’ll have every chance here. 

 

Race 4:

I like a pair of three year old fillies in this $25K-$20K maiden claiming race for fillies and mares going six furlongs. Dusted (#6) ran a solid race in her debut at Aqueduct in the mud back in February when facing a tougher field for $40K maiden claimers. Bruce Levine tried her on the grass at that level, which clearly didn’t work out. He ships her to New Jersey for her third start and gets her back on the main track, while giving the ride to Isaac Castillo, who continues to ride very well at this meet. R Funny Bizness (#5) came up a bit short with $40K maiden claimers here last month. Her effort at this level at Tampa three starts back would likely be good enough to beat this group today. She’s been knocking on the door and the return to this level could be what puts her over the top.

 

Race 5:

We’re back on the turf with a strong N1X allowance for fillies and mares, three and up. There’s a few very nice three year old fillies that should be very tough in here. Lost My Sock (#3) is the morning line favorite and she feels like the one to beat in here. Two starts back, she ran a close 4th at huge odds in the Limestone Turf Sprint Stakes at Keeneland. She was beaten by three very nice fillies, Ruthin, Derrynane, and Her World, that day. She tried graded stakes company in the Grade 3 Soaring Softly Stakes at seven furlongs over at Belmont, where her late kick wasn’t as effective. She cuts back and drops in class, while getting Paco Lopez to ride. He opted to ride her instead of Benbang (#6), who is still a threat getting back on the grass for Jonathon Thomas. Her effort in the Stalwart Manor at Aqueduct was strong at the end of her two year old campaign. She returned on the dirt here last month, where she was caught in the final strides by a nice Wesley Ward filly, Golden Bell. Apprentice Jose Gomez gets another live mount on this card. On deeper tickets, Insatiable (#1) makes her second career start after looking like a good thing in her debut. She closed well to beat a respectable maiden special weight that day. She takes a big step up in class and faces two very promising fillies here, so she’ll need to be a good one to score. Unless her odds go considerably higher than her 7-2 morning line, I’ll likely be more of a spectator with her. However, the potential is certainly there. 

 

On dirt: Benbang (#6) has three credible races on dirt, including a strong second place here last month. She is going to be very tough to beat. There is a lot of early speed signed on, depending on how many horses stay in to compete. Bay Jewel (#7) would be a logical player to close the gap if there is a pace meltdown. 

 

WIN-EARLY PICK-5 – $36 Ticket:

This is another ticket where I’ll spread a little bit in each leg, while avoiding a single. I would consider singling Double the Heart (#2, R3) or Lost My Sock (#3, R5) if I was paring down a ticket, or looking for deeper coverage in other spots. I do think there are vulnerable favorites in the first few legs that could help create a larger payout on this ticket. I put together two tickets, depending on what happens with the weather. 

 

Race 6:

The Jersey Shore 6 starts with an optional $20K claiming/$12,500 starter allowance race for fillies and mares, three and up. I’m going to take a stand against the morning favorite, Catania (#1) here. I don’t like taking a short price on horses that are claimed from higher percentage barns and running for lower percentage outfits. She Dazzle (#6) is a rebound candidate after being on the lead last out with similar. She might be better at longer sprint distances, but she’s proven that she’s more than capable at this six furlong trip. I think Camacho will keep her a little farther back today, setting her up to run them down late. There’s not a ton of speed signed on, so Bahamian Moon (#2) is certainly live here. She didn’t run a step last week when facing a stakes quality filly, Edie Meeny Miney Mo. Ferrer took it easy with her when it was clear she wasn’t going to be better than 4th in that four horse field. She comes right back and could control the tempo up front. Mizzen (#3) is another one that ran poorly in her last start, finishing 13+ lengths behind the winner. I don’t love her last two races, but the hopes of her finding her fall form make her a longshot consideration at 5-1 (ML) or better. 

 

Race 7:

The Late Pick-5 starts with a maiden special weight contest for three year olds and upward, going 1 mile and 1/16 on the grass. Hashtag No Wonder (#2) gets post relief after a few wide draws at Churchill and Gulfstream. He’s continues to improve and may be finally ready to break through in his 10th career start. He just missed in his last three, and I’m willing to forgive his last. The new turf course at Churchill has been yielding unpredictable results, so I’ll give him a pass for being a beaten favorite, especially when having some significant trouble at the beginning and end of that race. Most Wanted Man (#8) is one two second time starters that Chad Brown is sending out. This son of Frankel was gelded since his debut, where he had some pretty significant trouble when finishing third. He’s been working well locally and Samy Camacho, who has won 34% of the time when teaming up with Brown. American Day (#10) was flying late, and almost sprung a large upset when he was narrowly beaten by Tap the Gavel. He finished in front of some other well regarded Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher runners that day. He’s an improving three year old that won’t be 65-1 here, but at 10-1 (ML) or better, he’s definitely worth including.Native Thunder (#4) was beaten by Hashtag No Wonder in her last start at Gulfstream. Paco Lopez picking up the mount will certainly help his chances while trying to avenge that defeat last out. He’s another one with a shot in this wide open race, although the price might need to be a little better than 3-1 (ML) for me to get involved. 

 

On dirt: There’s a ton of very good turf pedigrees in this race, so I’m not sure how many runners will stay if this race is transferred to the main track. Jonny Quist (#5) has more of a dirt pedigree, and his debut wasn’t terrible in a six furlong maiden allowance on the dirt. He’s bred to get to two turns, so I’d definitely upgrade him on dirt in this spot. Seven Bridges Road (#7) has improved in a pair of two turn turf races, but his debut wasn’t terrible on the main track when going seven furlongs. I can see him running well enough on dirt to compete with whoever remains. 

 

Race 8:

$10K-$9K N3L claimers go 1 mile and 1/16 in the race kicks off the Late Pick-4. Umbrage (#4) interests me in this spot, making his second start off the layoff. 2021 was not his year, as his three races last year were awful. He returned in a sprint last month, and ran on well to be third with similar at six furlongs. Two turn racing has been where he’s had the most success, and I think he can move forward off that last effort when facing a field that is not very deep. Lion Charmer (#5) is the heavy favorite, making his second consecutive dirt start. 27 of 31 starts have come on the grass, so taking 6-5 (ML) on him is less than ideal. He had never finished off the board when running on a fast dirt track though. He was caught late last out, when Liveyourbeastlife rolled home late. 

 

Race 9:

The Malouf Auto Group Starter Series gets underway with this one mile turf contest restricted to horses that have started for a $16K claiming tag or less since 2021. There are bonus awards for trainers that have a horse that start in three of the four races in the series, which features races that progress from a mile, 1 mile and 1/16, 1 mile and ⅛, and 1 mile and ⅜. Like usual, this is a wide open contest, which looks like one of the better betting races on the card. Nine year old D’Craziness (#1) has the rail and is looking to rebound after a dull effort at Tampa last out. He was claimed by Rafael Schistl, who likely had this series in mind for this horse. 8 of his 14 career wins have come at this one mile distance on the grass. Lavery (#10) is an interesting runner that may have found new life while running on the grass. He tried grass for the first time at Gulfstream three starts back and ran a strong race to be 5th, beaten only one length with $16K claimers. He came back in April to beat that same level of competition at long odds there. He moved to starter allowance company in a race that was taken off the grass and run on synthetic, where he finished a decent 5th. He’ll have to navigate a wide draw here, I like that Daniel Centeno is coming in to ride, and I think he’s one that could be overlooked in the wagering here. Dazzling Truths (#2) makes his first start since February when he finished 4th behind El Pillo (#8) in a race under these conditions at Tampa, when going 9 furlongs. He won the race on New Years’ Day at this mile distance, when running off a similar layoff as he is today. He has won 4 of 11 starts on grass at this distance. El Pillo was empty in the 11 furlong race, which concluded the starter handicap turf series at Tampa last out. He;s another one with a shot in this race, but I think he’s better going a little bit farther. This race will set him up nicely for the next two legs in the local series.

 

On dirt: Both Dazzling Truths (#2) and Lavery (#10) are capable on the dirt if this race is transferred, but I think the one to beat will be Chris and Dave (#11). He was claimed by Englehart for $32K at Belmont last out. This would be a shrewd spot for him if this race does come off the grass. 

 

Race 10: The $85K Sunny Ridge Stakes:

The featured race today is a one mile race for New Jersey breds, featuring many talented stretch out sprinters. We saw the short priced stretch out sprinter, Alta Velocita falter in the female version of this race last week and I think the same scenario could play out here. I don’t buy Pickin’ TIme (#5) or Royal Urn (#9) at this distance. Both are short prices on the morning line that I’ll be trying to beat. I’ll swing for the fences and take Our Man Luke (#7) and Jeremy Laprida on top at 15-1 on the morning line. He was never involved in the John J. Reilly Stakes last month when going six furlongs, however one turn racing is not typically his game. Prior to that, he ran three sharp races with open company at Parx, going two turns. Any of those races would likely get him close enough with this group. Irish Meadow (#3) is another horse at double digit odds that could be a player here. He was very sharp three and four starts ago at Laurel and Charles Town. His first two starts at this meet haven’t been his best, however, he had valid excuses in both. He;s another horse that doesn’t do his best work at one turn, so his  effort in the John J. Reilly can also be forgiven. He faced a slaty group open N2X allowance runners here on 5/28, where he finished last. This is considerable class relief from that race. Speaking (#1) may be the stretchout sprinter that has the best chance with this group. He won his first two starts here last year, including a win in the Smoke Glacken Stakes. He tried graded stakes company at a one turn mile in the Nashua where he was soundly defeated by Rockefeller. He’s never tried two turns, and drawing the rail in a race like this might be a good spot to do that for the first time. He wasn’t embarrassed in his first start of the year when he was a decent 5th in the John J. Reilly, while facing older foes for the first time. Prendimi (#6) makes the first start of his seven year old season today. He pulled off the 12-1 upset in the Maryland Million Classic in his last start back in October. He’s definitely a better two turn horse, but he might need this race before we see his best effort. 

 

Race 11:

The last race of the week is another race for Jersey breds, this one being an optional $15K claiming/N1X allowance race for fillies and mares, going 1 mile and 1/16 on the turf. This race seems like an interesting competition between an up and coming three year old filly and a nine year old veteran. Regardless, I do see this race as being chalky. Graham Motion sends out the three year old, Kitten’s Collusion (#3), She’ll be his first starter of the meet, facing state bred company for the first time in her four race career. She’s third off the layoff today and getting considerable class relief. She will be tasked with trying to beat older runners for the first time, however, there’s not many strong races in the running lines of the majority of her opponents. Postino’s Idol (#10) is the main danger, returning to Monmouth for her nine year old season. She was a winner at this level when in for the tag last year,and she rarely runs a bad race on this course, winning 4 of 24 starts, hitting the board in 17 of them. The outside draw isn’t ideal, as Castillo will be tasked with keeping her from losing too much ground early on. Her tactical speed should help him out there. 

 

On dirt: Perspacacious (#9) should be tough coming off the layoff with Paco Lopez. Her trainer, Joan Milne, doesn’t have great numbers off the layoff, but she’s run well fresh in the past and I think this will be a softer group. Postino’s Champion (#5) should get a forwardly placed trip in her second start off the layoff. She’s better a two turns and should be more fit in this spot. 

 

Meet Statistics:

Top Pick Winners: 30/118 (25%) – $265.90/ $2.25 ROI

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