Monmouth Park Racing Preview – 6/19/21 – By Eric Solomon

There are twelve races on the Saturday afternoon card at Monmouth Park, highlighted by The Get Serious Stakes, which is a very good turf sprint stakes for three year olds and up. There are definitely some good betting races and sequences on the card today.


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






Race 1: Top Pick: 2

The 2nd-7th place finishers from Race 4 on 5/30 here at the same $8K-$7K N4L claimers are all back in this race at nearly identical conditions, plus one new shooter. Plato (2) was 9 lengths better than his nearest competitor in the slop in that race, and he looks very tough to beat here, even if he bounces a bit off his last effort. His last four dirt efforts were all likely good enough to win this race. However, he has bounced off his biggest efforts in the past, and you’ll be taking a very short price. If he does bounce, New Mexico (6) might be the most logical contender. There’s no way of sugar coating his last three efforts, as they were not good at all. However, he did catch a sloppy track in his local debut and he faced a faster speed horse (Brice) last out. Chasing that one seemed to take a lot of starch out of him. His best races have been when he can dictate the terms of a slow early pace, which is a certain possibility with this group. Speed Syndrome (1) was 4th beaten 18+ lengths last out, so he clearly has a lot of ground to make up on Plato. However, the slop certainly could have been an excuse, as he’s shown the ability to close into a slow pace with similar at Parx. His rail draw should keep him a little closer to what is likely to a be a slower early tempo.


Race 2: Top Pick: 2

A field of seven older geldings has been assembled here, running with an $8K-$7K tag. The race is carded for non-winners of a race in six months, however, races where horses have run with a tag of $5K or less don’t count toward this condition. As a result, you’ve got a few horses that have been in very good form, winning some cheaper races of late, and some other horses that haven’t made a start yet in 2021. I made William Crotty (2) my top pick after running a dull race with open $10K claimers last out at Tampa. Prior to that, he ran a few sharp races, including two wins when competing with the $5K tag. He drops in class and goes back to a two turn race after sprinting most recently. I think he can produce the first local win for trainer Cody Axmaker. Cutter Helm (3) has won two straight, including a win here in the slop on June 4th. He’s run very well in his last three starts, winning his last two races by open lengths. This is a bump up the class ladder, but his current form is strong and we know he likes the local course.


Race 3: Top Pick: 3

$16K-$14K N4L claimers go in the first turf contest of the day. There aren’t a ton of N4L races on the grass out there, so as a result, this race drew a fairly interesting, and evenly matched group. I’ll use Pretendant (3) as my top pick, as I think this a pretty savvy move by Patricia Farro, to drop this horse in class from open claimers to restricted claimers, but to also start him with a higher claiming tag. He was 5th beaten 3 and ¾ lengths last out, beaten by Projected, who is better than anyone is here. He ran well at Gulfstream during the Championship with restricted claimers on turf, winning three back with $20K N3L claimers. I think he’ll sit a forwardly placed and ground saving trip with Jose Ferrer aboard. Shendam (7) drops in class after a wide run with better horses at Delaware last out. He was running quality efforts in starter handicap races at Tampa this winter. The last time he ran with a claiming tag was a Gulfstream Park West in October, he was a much the best winner when breaking from post 12. He definitely fits with these and should improve in is second mid-Atlantic try. Mr. Who (6) has two wins in his last four starts, which is never a bad thing in these restricted claiming races. He won here with N3L claimers on the dirt last month, however, this four year old is certainly capable on the grass as well, hitting the board in his last four turf tries, winning one of them. On deeper tickets, Sadler Bay (4) making his first start of the year, could be live for Douglas Nunn, who has already had success at the meet with a horse off a long layoff. He was a decent second at this condition last August, despite still being eligible for N3L company at the time. He ended his 2020 campaign with a win on the grass. He usually runs well on this course and may offer some value in the exotics.


Race 4: Top Pick: 6

This is a maiden special weight race carded for three year olds and up, but only three year olds have entered. I think the one to beat is Newbomb (6) making his three year old debut this afternoon for Kelly Breen. He ran his first two races with Todd Pletcher in New York and he ran into some quality colts in his two starts, while running not too far behind them. He debuted in the slop at Saratoga and finished third. The second place finisher that day was Highly Motivated, who went on to break his maiden, and then dominate the Nyquist Stakes on the Breeders’ Cup undercard, before finishing a close second to Essential Quality in the Blue Grass. Nova Rags narrowly defeated him last out, and that one went on to win the Pasco and hit the board in three graded stakes, including the Grade 1 Woody Stephens. He has been working well at Belmont for his return and he looks to have the best early foot in the group here. Juan Vazquez brings in a pair of Parx based maidens, and of the two, I prefer My Cousin Rich (2). He is a More Than Ready gelding who was purchased for $17K in May of 2020. He debuted with $40K maiden claimers at Parx and just missed, running a professional race for his first start. He tried a turf sprint with maiden special weight company at Belmont, which was a big jump up in class. He caught a good course going 7 Furlongs and had a less than ideal trip wen finishing 8th that day. He’s back on dirt, and cutting back to 6 Furlongs, where he might have the best late speed of the group. If one of the firsters really pushes Newbomb early, he could be the benefactor. Kelly Breen and Todd Pletcher both send out well meant first time starters here, Whata Guy (1) for Breen and Montgisard (3) for Pletcher. Whata Guy is locally based and has some solid works. Nik Juarez, who has been riding most of Breen’s horses at the meet thus far, is on Newbomb, but Ferrer, who was won 5 of 10 starts when riding for Breen over the last 18 months, is certainly a strong second option. Montgisard has been working well at Saratoga and is scheduled to ship in for his debut. There’s a race at Belmont for maiden special weight horses in the condition book in one week, going 6 and ½ Furlongs. With a purse that is $30K higher, I would think that Pletcher would have chosen that race if he thought this was one of his better horses. For the lower purse here, this is a decent field with some proven runners. I’ll play him defensively here, but I prefer others.


Race 5: Top Pick: 5

I think Chad Brown is in the driver’s seat in this N1X turf allowance. I really like Junkanoo (5) and I’m hoping there’s a little bit of value to be had on him as there is another Chad Brown horse and a Todd Pletcher horse entered in here as well. Junkanoo won on debut on a yielding course, beating future Grade 1 winner Halladay back in 2018. Since then, he’s only ran five other times, but he has some legitimate excuses in many of those starts. His best race was when he finished 3rd behind Colonel Liam at this level at Saratoga last summer, when Colonel Liam announced himself as a big time runner. The 10 Furlongs at Belmont against another salty field may have been too far for him in his next start. He met a runaway pace setter at Aqueduct, when he closed well to get third that day. Toss his most recent start on the Pegasus World Cup undercard at Gulfstream, when he was as at the back of the pack in a merry-go-round race. He should find some pace in ere to set up his late close, and I think he’s simply better than his rivals here. On deeper tickets, the other Chad Brown, Assiduously (6) may be worth a look in his four year old debut. He was third at this level at Belmont last year when facing straight three year olds and he proved to be no match for Get Smokin and Decorated Invader in the Hill Prince. I think he’s a nice gelding, who could be a useful runner, but I am concerned that his two best races had easy pace set ups for him, and I’m not sure that scenario will present itself today.


Win-Early Pick-5 Ticket: $48.00 Ticket

Race 1: 1, 2, 6

Race 2: 2, 3

Race 3: 3, 4, 6, 7

Race 4: 1, 2, 3, 6

Race 5: 5


Race 6: Top Pick: 3

This is not the strongest group of filly and mare maiden claimers in this race. I give the advantage to Practically Dizzy (3) who gets back on the main track after two dull turf races. She was claimed at this level in her debut on the dirt a Laurel back in April. Gonzalez moved her up in class and tried a pair of turf races at Pimlico sprinting and on here going two turns. She had difficult post positions for both races, and neither race was awful, but neither effort was as good as her lone dirt try. I think she finds a soft group here and should get the job done. Divine Choice (2) appears to be the main danger, dropping in class and shipping in from Oaklawn. She was moved from the Steve Asmussen barn into the Kate DeMasi barn after her last start in April. She’s worked twice at Parx and makes her local debut today. She adds blinkers and should be more forwardly placed at this level.


Race 7: Top Pick: 3

Big Easy Empire (3) should be tough to beat in this $40K-$30K maiden claiming race on the grass. His two career turf tries are considerably better than his dirt debut at the Fair Grounds back in December. He ran third at 8-1 in his second start back in February when getting on the grass for the first time. He shipped to New York and finished 4th, beaten only 2 and ½ lengths at the maiden $40K level at Belmont. He should be more effective at two turns and faces a softer group than he did last out.  Tiz A Prince (7) drops back to maiden claiming company after running a decent 4th with maiden special weight foes here last week. He’s been much better going two turns on the grass and his trainer, Anthony Margotta, has had success wheeling horses back on short rest. He should fit better at this level today. Steve Asmussen is still looking for his first win at the meet, and he’ll send out Chrome Finish (4) as one of two live runners he’s sending out today. He was 5th beaten less than two lengths in his lone turf try when facing maiden special weight foes at Sam Houston two starts back. He struggled most recently on a sealed track with maiden claimers at Oaklawn. He’s been given two months off and returns, after trending upward before struggling last out. I think he can move forward here today.


Race 8: Top Pick: 8

The late Pick-5 sequence kicks off with an optional $25K claiming/N2X allowance race for fillies and mares going one mile on the main track. All eight are entered under the N2X condition here. Sousa (2) has been the heavy favorite in her first two starts in Tampa and Maryland, and she has not disappointed, winning both, while going gate to wire at 6 Furlongs. She makes her third career start after pairing her first two Beyers. She is the one to beat, but she will be a short price doing something new for the first time, which is always a cause for pause. I will definitely use her on my tickets, but I’m looking for value elsewhere. I’ll try B.B’s Busted (8) on top, thinking that she’ll get a solid pace to set up her late close. She’s making her second start off the layoff after a strong effort at this level when going 7 Furlongs at Parx in her first start of the year. She has run well at the distance and should be gaining late as there are at least three horses that will want to be on or near the lead here. Moma Tiger (3) has improved in her last two starts when going two turns. She cleared the N1X condition last out when going seven furlongs (a two turn race at CT). West Virginia shippers have been holding their own at this meet and some of the biggest prices thus far have been from horses that have come up from Charles Town. I think she could easily be overlooked in this spot, but she is worth using as she has never run a bad race.


Race 9: The Get Serious Stakes: Top Pick: 6

Three of the eight entered on the grass for the feature race today are coming out of the Jim McKay Turf Sprint on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico. The Critical Way (7) led every step of that race except for the last one, while both The Connector (2) and Boldor (6) encountered trouble, while down on the inside in a 13 horse scramble. I thought Boldor ran quite a good race as he was gaining ground late to be 4th, in spite of the trouble, and I think he can turn the tables on The Critical Way here. The Critical Way was fast enough to clear the field and run uncontested on the front, which isn’t a bad thing in a turf sprint. However, he’ll have to deal with Francatelli (1) and French Reef (8) who are both equally as quick early on and both have the same running style. This should set the table for Boldor to close into a more contested pace. Drawing near the outside, instead of the rail is also a positive for him.  Despite the less than favorable set up today, I still think you need to respect the heavy favorite, The Critical Way here. He’s been in very good form since joining the Delgado barn last year. He beat Imprimis at Tampa earlier in the year and was only three lengths behind Bound For Nowhere at Keeneland going 5 and ½ Furlongs on a softer turf course. He definitely runs better races at this 5 Furlong distance, and he’s kept better company than anyone else in here lately. I think he’ll be a stubborn foe to run down.


Race 10: Top Pick: 4

The final Pick-3 sequence of the day starts with an absolutely wide open $7,500-$6,500 multi-conditioned claiming contest. The morning line favorite, Flash Town (5) is worth trying to beat here. She ran a big race to clear the N2L condition at Tampa in her last start, two months ago at Tampa. Schistl claimed her and brings her here with one published workout after not racing in almost 70 days. Her form is up and down, and while she has some races in her running lines that would likely easily win this race, she’s been inconsistent. I’m thinking she’ll regress here, so I’ll play her definisively in the multi-race tickets, but try to beat her. I made the undefeated filly, Mama May I (4) my top pick after winning at this level on Memorial Day. She remains eligible for this same condition, because she’s a three year old filly. She defeated a nine horse field with a strong four wide rally to blow by everyone last time out and she used that same move in her debut to beat maiden claimers at Tampa. You don’t see too many undefeated horses at this level, where I think she can be tough to beat again. Awesomenewyear (2) wheels right back after making her first start of the year last week against better fillies and mares. She ran a much better race in her second race off the layoff last year, when she was second on this course with $10K maiden claimers. She broke her maiden here in September and was competitive against winners for the first time in October. I think she’ll take a step forward today. Smokin Class (11) drops after two tough starts against better at Tampa and Parx. She was claimed three back for $16K when she broke her maiden, so it’s not great to see her entered with a $7,500 tag. However, she draws favorably for this race and should appreciate the class relief and dry track. Trapped N My Mind (8) has never crossed the finish line first, which is not ideal for a horse with 21 career starts. However, she drops to her lowest level of competition yet, and ships in from NYRA. Her speed figures are good enough to contend in this wide open affair.

Race 11: Top Pick: 9

This is another good betting race with a large field. Fillies and mares are going 1 Mile and 1/16, using the turf chute, running with a $30K-$25K tag. This race is eligible for three year old fillies or four year olds and up that have never won twice. I thought Why Not Tonight (4) was an interesting longshot facing winners for the first time. She tried turf for the first time with $25K maiden claimers at Pimlico on the Black-Eyed Susan undercard. She drew post 13 and despite a wide trip, she was very game in the stretch to graduate at 27-1. She clearly ran a better race on the grass, and will need to improve to beat these. However, she conceded ground on both turns and was still able to win, so there’s reason to believe that her performance was better than her speed figure indicates. She draws closer to the rail today in another large field, while running for very capable connections. I think she’s live at 12-1 (ML) or better. Speed Salsa (9) showed some turf ability at Tampa in her first two career turf tries this spring. She had no interest in running in the slop last out in her local debut, so I’m willing to draw a line through that effort. She debuted a winner on the dirt in January, and hit the board in her next four tries, including both turf races. She drops from allowance company, to this restricted claiming spot, where she should fit better. She has some tactical speed, so my hope is that Montalvo will be able to secure a good position without losing much ground on the first turn. The favorite, Princess Nina (11) breaks from the outside with Jose Ferrer aboard. She’s another one that didn’t appreciate the slop when she was entered in the same off the turf allowance race that Speed Salsa was in. Princess Nina is a three time winner, with all three of those wins coming since joining the Jose Delgado barn at Tampa during their recently concluded meet. She faces older horses on the grass for the first time, so that will be the next challenge she’ll have to overcome. She’s in good form and should be tough if she can work out a trip. On deeper tickets, Ball Lightning (3) is another horse that would be worth thinking about adding to your multi-race sequences. She’s another three year old filly that has two wins. She faced older horses for the first time last month at Pimlico, and ran a credible third against better. She was much farther off the pace than usual, and left herself too much work to do that day. She doesn’t have a ton of early speed, but I think Diaz will have her closer today than she was last out.


Race 12: Top Pick: 8

The nightcap is a two turn, multi-conditioned, $5K claimer for three year olds and upward. Purimeter (8) was second at this condition when chasing a loose leader in the slop last out. He should get a good set up in this race as there are four or five horses that could go for the early lead. That should allow him to get over and save some ground going into the first turn, and establish a faster pace to set up his late charge. He’s probably better at longer one turn races, however, that’s not an option here, so for now, this nine year old gelding will be running in two turn contests. He’s second off the layoff and Jose Ferrer gets the return call as he tries to win his 10th career race. I think both Allied Invasion (2) and Han Sense (7), the other two shorter priced horses in this race, are vulnerable, so on deeper tickets and in the vertical exotics, I’m looking for a few prices. Dohko (3) was dull with better last out at Delaware, but he was really good three starts ago at Tampa, dominating a field of $8K N2L claimers. He’s 0-5 on this track, but he hit the board all five times, finishing second four times. He clearly likes the track, and he fits the pace profile of this field. The last time America’s Simmard (1) found the Winner’s Circle, it was on this course at this condition in October. His last few at Tampa have been dull, but he could wake up with the change of scenery. Sparty (4) is making his second start off the layoff for Miguel Penaloza. He tried $8K starter allowance company last out at Parx, when going 7 Furlongs. Prior to going off form, he was regularly running quality races with better horses in the mid-Atlantic region. He stretches back out to two turns and could be a factor at a price in this spot.


Meet Stats: 29/99 (Top Pick Winners) – $211.80 / $2.14 ROI per $2 win bet


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