There’s a very nice 12 race card this Saturday at Monmouth Park with decent field sizes and competitive races. The feature today is the Goldwood Stakes which is a 5 and ½ furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares, which drew a full field. There’s tons of great wagering opportunities throughout the day here, so definitely make sure to check it out! First post is the normal 12:15 ET.
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|
|2||4||1,4||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|7||6||5,6||4||1||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|8||7||7||1,5||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|9||10||1,10||8||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Three of the seven runners look considerably better than the other four in this optional $16K claiming/$8K starter allowance race that kicks off the day of racing at Monmouth. Steadytillready (#5) was claimed by Jesus Cruz for $16K out of an optional $16K claiming/N1X allowance race at the beginning of the month. He was very sharp last winter at the Fair Grounds and appears to be rounding back into the top form after some stops and starts. He makes his second start off a three month layoff and debuts for a sharp barn that has won at a decent clip locally over the past year. Get The W (#1) invades from Parx for Haleem Lee this afternoon. Lee was able to get this horse to steadily improve under his care after initially claiming him for $5K back in September. Michael Pino claimed him in April, but Lee re-claimed him in his next start. He has rewarded Lee with three very sharp efforts over at Parx, winning twice and narrowly losing last out in a similar spot. He has the best recent speed figures of this group, so I’d expect him to go into the gate as the post time favorite. However, his 0-17 record at this six furlong distance concerns me enough to seek some coverage in this race. Commanding General (#7) ships in for the first time after a pair of wins in allowance company at Charles Town and Pimlico. KIeron Magee taps Paco Lopez to ride this five year gelded son of Buffum. He’s another horse that is trending in the right direction, but may not be an ideal fit for the six furlong distance.
$10K maiden claiming fillies go six furlongs here. There’s several professional maidens and some horses that don’t look like they’re able to compete on this circuit. Taking a first time starter like Just Stuff It (#4) as the top pick isn’t the worst idea in the world. She’s a PA bred daughter of Jump Start debuting for Derek Ryan, who has been able to connect with a longshot in spots like this from time to time. She’s shown improvements in the morning suggesting that she could be live in a race like this. Nobody’s Secret (#1) will likely be the post time favorite in her first race over the local course. She struggled last out when going a one turn mile at Gulfstream, but her three previous efforts with $12,500 maiden claimers would likely be good enough to get the job done with this group. I’ll ride with these two, as it’s hard to make a case for many others in this spot.
This is the first of five races on the program carded for the turf, and there are big fields in each of those races this afternoon. $16K-$14K N2X claimers go 1 mile and 1/16 here. Ten of the eleven entered for the grass have only one win. Mystic Dreams (#2) drops in class after a dull effort when getting a rough trip last out. She just missed at this level four starts back and was very competitive two back on the grass at Tampa. I’m willing to put a line through her last race and use her on top here, thinking that she could be flying home late if there is a decent pace that develops in front of her. Empires First Lady (#8) makes her third start off the layoff, while dropping in class in this spot. She was a decent third when getting back on the grass last time out. She’s clearly a better horse on turf than she is on the main track. Jomar Torres getting on for the first time is a rider upgrade. Rainout (#4) comes into this race with some more upside than some of her rivals. She’s only making her 5th career start this afternoon, and her third after a long layoff. She was very good when winning from the ten hole at Tampa in her first start off the layoff to beat $16K maiden claimers on the turf at Tampa back in April. She showed up a month later at Belmont where she faced $16K N2L claimers on the dirt, which was her first main track race in her career. She didn’t run a step that day, but stumbling at the break certainly didn’t do anything to help her chances. She gets back to the grass and moves back to a more appropriate circuit for her talent level. She’s a player if she’s able to build off her maiden victory. My Beauty Princess (#9) was trending up in her grass races last season at Gulfstream, breaking her maiden with $12,500 maiden claimers in her last turf start. She had three races on the Tapeta to end her three year old campaign, going off form a bit in her last two tries. She is set to make her four year old debut today for Jose D’Angelo, who has good numbers with horses coming off the bench. Her game is front end speed, so she’ll have to contend with stretch out sprinter Little Red Button (#7) early on. That one didn’t go hard for the lead in her previous two turn tries, but she has been showing more early foot lately. There is a chance they’d hook for a duel, but if that can be avoided, My Beauty Princess is live.
With a pair of wide open turf races in this Win-Early Pick-5 sequence, this six horse optional $25K claiming/N2X allowance race feels like the spot where I’ll need to take a stand. On paper, I think this race should be between Famished (#1) and Bourbon Frontier (#6). I tried to single Bourbon Frontier in a race at this level last out. My rationale there was that the horses that he was facing at Oaklawn were significantly better than what his six other rivals were facing on a regular basis. He ran a sharp race that day, but was beaten by a longshot that stepped up with a big performance. Bourbon Frontier had the rail position and pretty much had the run of the race that day. He now draws outside here, and may wind up going wide into the first turn while trying to establish position. Meanwhile, Famished has more gate speed and the rail draw for this race. He’s been facing higher quality runners in New York. His last two races have been on the grass, where he’s finished midpack, not too far off the winner, but never threatening. He’s been more effective on the dirt and is getting some considerable class relief in this spot today. Paco Lopez getting the call is a plus, but it will likely limit whatever value he may have offered. Regardless, I think he’s the one to beat in this race at a short number. Bourbon Frontier will go on the C line for me, and would be used as a saver on some deeper tickets.
This is an absolutely wide open $16K-$14K maiden claiming race that drew an overflow field of 14 runners that will go 1 mile and 1/16 on the turf. The second, third, and fourth place finishers from the 5/29 race as this condition are back, along with the second and third place finishers of a $16K maiden claiming race at Tampa on 5/6. Lagerfeldt (#3) feels like the runner that has the most upside in this race. Since trying the turf two starts back, he’s run two credible races, finishing close up in both of them. He was posted near the outside in both of those races, so drawing post three feels like it could be advantageous as the duo that beat him last out for second and third are both stuck in the outside stalls. This feels like a now or never for Committed (#10) who didn’t run a step in his return to the races at Belmont when facing $40K maiden claimers when going six furlongs last month. Two turn racing is his game, so that race seemed like a jumping off point for him to start his four year old campaign. He’s been off form for awhile, so value will be key for me on this son of More Than Ready, When he was going well, he was running decent races behind future stakes winners at the end of his two year old season and his first race as a three year old. He has definitely fallen off though, running four bad races in a row now. Perhaps the steep drop will help him return to some version of his former self. 15-1 (ML) feels like a fair price to wager that he could run one of his better races at this lower class level. Both Urban Beach (#12) and Perpetual Change (#11) ran well in defeat at this level last out, finishing second and third, respectively. Urban Beach overcame trouble early on and was flying home alte to lose by only a half of a length when going off at 25-1 last time out. Perpetual Change was close behind him in a race where he was making his first start in four months and his first race on the grass since last August. He was also involved in some issues in the early stages of that race. Both will need to work out trips from their wide draws, but both have enough positives to make sure they’re covered on your tickets.
WIN-EARLY Pick-5: $48 Ticket
This is a nice first Pick-5 sequence today that certainly could be lucrative. Famished (#1, R4) is a shorter priced runner that I’ll be building this ticket around. I think he has a pace and class advantage over the rest of that field while getting back on the dirt. The first race features three evenly matched horses that appear to be better than their rivals. As a result, all three need to be on my ticket. I think we can escape the second race with only two horses. By doing so, that allows us to go four deep in both of the turf races which feel like there are many viable options at reasonable prices.
Golden Grant (#7) and Obstinate (#3) hook up for the third straight time this afternoon in this optional $12,500 claiming/$6,250 starter allowance race. Golden Grant has been the better horse in the last two starts, finishing in front of her rival both times. However, Obstinate has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite, whereas Golden Grant was made the 3-1 second choice. Obstinate had a better post than her rival in her last two starts, but was clearly second fiddle to Golden Grant both times. Paco Lopez gets the call on Obstinate, thus explaining the odds shift. Golden Grant has been trending up, while Obstinate is not. She’s still garnering wagering interest after having two huge consecutive efforts in February and March at Parx. I’m not sure Paco Lopez will be enough to make up the difference between these two. I’ll use Golden Grant on the A line and cover with Obstinate on the C line. On the B line, I’ll use Indian Bella (#2), shipping in from Parx for Mertkan Kantarmaci. This filly almost always shows up on race day, finishing first two times and second two times in her last four tries. I do wonder if one turn racing suits her better than two turns, however, it’s hard to ignore a horse in good form that has won 11 of 43 career starts.
Another large field goes in this maiden special weight turf sprint for fillies and mares, three and up. Prudent Song (#6) has been so close in four starts on this course at this distance. She lost three straight photos to start her career last summer. She wasn’t as effective in two tries in Florida where one start was at two turns on the turf and the other was on the Tapeta. She looked good when making her first start off a three month layoff when returning here last month, and finishing 3rd. Carvajal has decent numbers with his runners second off the layoff and she looks like she’s found a field where can break through. Izeamalibumoon (#5) makes her first start for Jose Camejo after a long series of AM drills. She’s been working very quickly of late on the main track, suggesting that she’s ready to rock and roll. It remains to be seen if she’ll find the same level of success when running on the grass, but anything coming out of this barn is worth keeping an eye on at the moment. Mispelled Mooon (#4) ships here after a pair of efforts with $40K maiden claimers over in New York. She’s one that likes to be forwardly placed and when she’s left the starting gate in a race, she’s never finished off the board. She feels like a “deeper plays” horse for me though. On deeper tickets, Little Jessie (#1) is an Arrogate filly that may be worth keeping an eye on. She was used hard early in her only career start, which was a maiden special weight race on the dirt. She hasn’t been seen on the racetrack in the afternoon since September, and she’s moving for the turf for her second career try. Sweezy has popped with some prices on some first time turf runners in the past. At 20-1 (ML) or better, she isn’t the craziest longshot to work into your tickets.
I’m siding with Texas Tower (#7) in this $7,500-$6,500 N2L claiming race that starts the Late Pick-5. He broke his maiden at Laurel four starts ago with $8K maiden claimers. His effort threeback with $10K N2L claimers at Pimlico wasn’t bad either. I’m willing to forgive his last two starts with tougher company. He wanted no part of the grass last week after a tardy start. He drops to an appropriate level and wheels right back after a race that shouldn’t have taken too much out of him. I think he’s live in this spot today. Both Skillful (#1) and Knight Ofthe Crown (#5) have realistic chances in this race, but I have some questions about both. Skillful was claimed for $16K on the grass last out in April at Tampa. He’s hit the board in 7 of his last 8 races, with the only bad effort coming on synthetic. He was running well in similar races on dirt at Tampa, so perhaps starting him with a $7,500 tag is just being realistic. Rafael Schistl does have good numbers first off the claim. Knight Ofthe Crown won two straight before biting off more than he could chew in N1X allowance company in his last start. He was a winner with $20K claimers two back in a race just for three year olds. This drop also feels like it’s a bit much, but his good races are likely good enough to win at this level.
A full field of conditioned $30K-$25K claimers go 1 mile and 1/16 on the turf in the 9th race of the day, which kicks off the Late Pick-4. This is a wide open race, where there are plenty of possibilities. I’m going to roll the dice on a price and try Karl Cares (#10) on top at 15-1 on the morning line. He’s an improving three year old that broke through with a maiden score on the main track in an off the turf $32K maiden claiming race at Tampa. He faced winners for the first time against a softer field at this level last month, where he was a bit green in the stretch, but he was moving live a winner before the hole he was gunning for closed up, causing him to slam on the brakes and finish 4th. He was shuffled back early in that race, making for an overall rough trip. I think he definitely has a forward move in him if he can work out a trip in a big field. St. Joe Louis (#1) finally takes the drop into claiming company for Chad Brown after a series of disappointments with N1X allowance types. He was unable to get the job done in three starts at Tampa this past winter and spring, so the drop appears to be necessary. He’s not the same horse that was a smashing maiden allowance winner in his second career start last May at Belmont. However, he doesn’t need to be that horse to win here. If he runs back to his Tampa races, he’ll be right there at the end of this one. Tiz A Prince (#8) is a four year old that wants to be forwardly placed. He doesn’t need the lead, which is a good thing with Tetragrammaton (#9) in the stall next door. I liked his first race of the year when going five furlongs at this level at the beginning of the month. He’s capable at two turns and certainly could move forward on the stretch out.
This is a tricky optional $16K claiming/N1X allowance race for three year olds and up going six furlongs. Paco Lopez will be riding the favorite, Hero Tiger (#3), who is consistently good, but he doesn’t win a ton of races. He feels like a horse that you’ll want to have covered on the multi-race bets, but might be worth taking a stab against in some of the vertical wagers. Tenebris (#7) is interesting while cutting back to a sprint today. He won his debut in maiden allowance company when going 6 and ½ furlongs at Tampa three starts back. He’s run quality races at two turns when facing similar foes. He’s sired by Verrazano out of a Grand Slam mare, so he might wind up being better at one turn. Times Union (#6) ran a strong race when facing winners for the first time three weeks ago. He had some traffic issues, but was gaining steadily on the winner in the late stages of that contest. He seems like the kind of horse that might be better in longer one turn sprints, but he’s handled his business thus far in two starts at ¾ of a mile.
Race 11: The $100K Goldwood Stakes
How I play this race depends on what happens with Robin Sparkles (#4). She’s entered in this race with no rider named. That doesn’t mean she’ll definitely scratch, but that is often the case in those scenarios. She was very fast early in the off the turf Politely Stakes last month. She’s capable at 5 and ½ furlongs, but probably better suited to five. She’s in her third race off the layoff and definitely has a chance, however her presence or lack there of is likely to have the biggest effect on Bay Storm (#5). If Robin Sparkles runs, Isaac Castillo is likely going to be compelled to go with her early. That should set the stage for a closer to have every opportunity to run them down late. If Robin Sparkles defects, Bay Storm should wind up with a fairly easy lead, making her task here much more manageable. Bay Storm comes back to the East Coast after a pair of solid efforts in Kentucky to start her four year old campaign. Jonathon Thomas has done very well with the few horses he’s brought here this season. Regardless of the status of Robin Sparkles, I’ll use her on the A line, but I like her better if that one scratches. My top pick is Honey Pants (#2) with Jersey Joe Bravo in town to ride her for Christophe Clement. She was struggling to gain enough ground while racing between rivals to win the The Very One Stakes at Pimlico last month when she went off as the betting favorite. She may have bounced a bit off a big effort in her prior start at Gulfstream. I see her as a horse that should relish the 5 and ½ furlong distance here. The lightly raced Bout Time (#6) will also be on my tickets in this race. She makes her stakes debut after clearing the N1X allowance condition at Churchill last out. This race might have been a Plan B race when Churchill suspended turf racing for the remainder of the meet. Regardless, she looks like the kind of horse that can get first run on the pacesetters here.
It’s not very creative, but it’s hard to look past Classy Union (#5) in the nightcap. He drops from $16K maiden claimers at Laurel to $10K maiden claimers where he faces a soft field for the condition. He will be trying to get two turns for the first time, which is an angle that I don’t love, especially for short prices. However, he comes from solid connections, and adding distance in Maryland hasn’t phased him when facing better rivals so far. He looks like he’ll be very tough to beat at this level. While I’d be comfortable using him as a single, I will try to back up with Picarde (#2) in his third career start. He paired his Beyers in his first two races on off tracks. He debuted at two turns with maiden special weight runners then dropped to face $12,500-$10,500 claimers in a sprint two weeks ago. He should get a fast track for the first time today while getting back to a route of ground. This will be the softest field he’s seen yet.
Top Pick Winners: 46/165 (27.9%) – $397.10/ $2.41 ROI