There’s a competitive, 12 race card this afternoon at Monmouth, with six of the twelve races carded for the turf. A quick moving, soaking summer storm came through around the 7th race yesterday that forced the track maintenance team to seal the main track and move the last two turf races of the day to the dirt. The sun quickly reappeared, and there’s been little to no rainfall since, at least from what I can tell on the radar. The forecast tomorrow appears to be dry, so I’ll plan for all the races to be run on the turf course. If changes need to be made, as a result of a surface switch, I’ll post updates below.
|1||7||6||2||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|2||3,5||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|7||1,2||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|8||7,9||1||6||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|9||8,9||6||1||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 1: Top Pick: 7
Maiden special weight fillies (six three year olds and one four year old) start the Sunday program on the turf. I really like Spatial (7) for Christophe Clement in this spot. She cuts back to 1 Mile and 1/16 after running nine and ten furlongs in her last three. She’s bred to be more effective at this distance, being a daughter of War Front out a Galileo mare. I think she’ll be a lot stronger in the stretch at this distance after laboring a bit in her last two tries at farther trips. Estival (6) was cross entered in a race at Pimlico yesterday for Graham Motion, but scratched out of that race when it was taken off the turf. She was very wide and sat far off a slow pace in her first start of the year and her second career try last time out. She closed a good amount of ground to get up for 7th, beaten only 2 and ¼ lengths. There’s reason to believe she can improve off that start, but she’s going to have to show a little more life early on, in order to avoid leaving herself with too much work to do. Martique Miss (2) ran on the dirt in her first three races before trying the turf last out. She caught a good course here three weeks ago at identical conditions and finished third behind a pair of horses that battled all the way to the wire. She should be more effective on a firm course, while her understanding of the turf game a little better.
Race 2: Top Pick: 5
It’s not very creative, but the 6-5 morning line favorite, Wish You Were Mine (5) is going to be tough while running back at this level first off the claim for Jose Delgado. She dominated a race at this condition two weeks ago and can run back at the same level, since she’s still eligible for this condition because she has not won twice in six months. Isaac Castillo gave her a great ride that day, waiting behind horses while saving ground with her rail draw, before exploding off the turn to win by five lengths. He gets the return call for the new connections in a race where this mare should be tough to beat. Reina La Kelsey (3) may have the best shot to beat the favorite as she has outrun her odds in her last two races with significantly better fields. She’s a two time winner at the track and she figures to have an impact at this level.
Race 3: Top Pick: 1
This multi-conditioned $20K-$18K multi-conditioned claiming race for fillies and mares sprinting on the turf, definitely feels like a race where you want to try to spread. I made the only two-time winner in the field, Destinique (1), my top pick in her first race on the turf. Her lone sprint on synthetic was her best effort this winter at Turfway, and her pedigree (Munnings out of a War Front mare), definitely leans turf. She tried allowance company in her first race off the Kent Sweezy claim and she struggled against a strong field that day. She drops in class while changing surfaces here. R Averie Lynn (2) has one turf start, but it was the best in her career, sprinting last out at Tampa. She just missed that day against a field that is similar to this one. I like betting horses back that significantly move up in their first turf race. Baby Dragon (4) made her first start on the turf last time out as well after being a synthetic horse for the majority of her career. She showed some late interest to get third with better horses last time out, when she was making her first start since October. She wheels right back seven days later, where she should definitely be more fit. Karen’s Way (8) has two turf starts in her five race career. Her first one was forgettable, but her last turf try two back was solid, sprinting five furlongs at Gulfstream. Her first local effort was washed off the turf, but she clearly felt comfortable here in Oceanport, New Jersey, dominating that $16K maiden claiming field by 8 lengths. This is big step up, but she’s definitely got a confidence building race last out and I think she could be better on grass. She Broke My Heart (10) is the morning line favorite that should definitely be on the ticket as well. She’s second off the layoff after a decent maiden breaking win with $16K maiden claimers two weeks ago. She faces winners for the first time, so I’m not rushing to take a short price on her, but she’ll definitely be worth covering.
Race 4: Top Pick: 2
I like Dalton (2) a lot in this optional 16K claiming/N1X allowance race, going a quick 5 and ½ Furlongs on the main track. He was very good here last year, breaking his maiden and narrowly missing in stakes company behind Pickin’ Time, who went on to win the Grade 3 Nashua at Aqueduct. His first two starts this year have not gone as planned. He probably needed his first start at Parx, coming off a six month layoff. His last start on Memorial Day at Delaware was a disaster from the time the gate latch sprung open. He was away slow, then he ran up on heels after losing position. He never really had any clear path to run. I’m willing to totally toss that race, and hope that he can find his 2020 form today in his third race off the layoff. On deeper tickets, Sagamore Mischief (1) ran a strong race to be third in his first start in four months last month. He also has some solid efforts on this course, but he’s usually one that gets close, but can’t seal the deal, as he only has his maiden win in 16 career starts. Bottle Rocket Man (5) ran okay here for Chad Brown in the slop off an almost ten month layoff to break his maiden. He now faces winners for the first time, but should run a better race on a dry track and second of the layoff. New Farm sends out Latin Casino (4), who is trained by Kelly Breen. His last race was solid, just missing against a weaker field at this condition that he’s facing today. He’s 9-5 on the morning line, which feels way too short for me in this spot. I could play him at longer odds and might use him defensively on a few multi-race tickets, but I prefer others.
Race 5: Top Pick: 8
The final leg of the Win-Early Pick-5 is a $16K-$14K maiden claiming race on the turf that feels like another spread race. I’m hoping to catch a price with Flatlander (8) on top. He’s had some gaps in his starts, as he’s had one race per year going back to December 2019. I thought his effort in December 2020 was deceptively good while facing $25K maiden claimers at Tampa. He missed the break and was wide around both turns that day, but still ran on gamely to finish 5th, beaten 3 and ½ lengths. He made his first start of the year on the dirt at this level where he finished a distant third, beaten 10 lengths. He’s sired by Flatter, so it’s not surprising that he seems to prefer the turf. I think he could be dangerous at double digit odds if Navarro can navigate a decent trip from post eight. Drum and Drummer (4) is the logical morning line favorite, losing in a photo to Big Perm last out at this level. He was finishing with interest that day and should continue to improve after showing three solid efforts on the turf. Curlin’s Thrill (7) has been moved to the Wayne Potts barn after a decent campaign in Florida and Canada in 2020. He ran eight times last year, only hitting the board once, but facing significantly better competition than what he’s up against here. He hasn’t raced since October, so whether or not he can be as effective off the longer layoff remains to be seen. His prior form is good enough to consider using him today though. Relator Danny D (3) makes his third start since joining Jose Delgado’s barn in March. He took a step forward when finishing 5th at this level in his local debut last time out. Delgado removes the blinkers, which may help him relax off the early pace before making one run late.
Win-Early Pick-5 Play: $40.00 Ticket
Race 1: 6, 7
Race 2: 3, 5
Race 3: 1, 2, 4, 8, 10
Race 4: 2
Race 5: 3, 4, 7, 8,
Race 6: Top Pick: 5
$7,500-$6,500 N3L claimers go two turns here where Wayne Potts looks to be in the driver’s seat as he sends out both Trappeze Artist (5) and Vitesse (6). Trappeze Artist will almost definitely be the shorter price of the pair, and is definitely the one to beat. I thought his effort last with $12,500 N3L claimers was very good. He was three to four wide around the first turn, before making an early run at the loose leader, Mr. Who. He headed him at the top of the stretch before Mr. Who fought back and prevailed by ¾ of a length. He was definitely the better horse that day despite finishing second. My concern with him last out was whether or not he was going to be able to have the same amount of success at two turns, after racing exclusively at one turn for his first 19 tries. His last race was one of his best, so I’m expecting him to clear this condition today while running back in route race. Wendigo (7) wheels back in eight days after finishing 4th beaten 14+ lengths with $8K N4L company last out. He technically is dropping in class, despite being offered for only $500 less, as he is facing N3L claimers as opposed to N4L. I think he’ll improve off his effort from last week. Vitesse wasn’t as good as his stablemate last month, and his decent figure is clouded by the fact that he never looked like a winner at any point in his last race. Nicholas Arrigada, who had a little bit of a rough afternoon yesterday, gets the call.
Race 7: Top Pick: 1
The Jersey Shore-6 starts here with filly and mare N1X allowance horses going 5 and ½ Furlongs on the turf course. I think the pair closest to the rail will be tough here. I made the Penn National invader, Cinque Amore (1) my top pick after a strong front running win, sprinting on the grass in Grantville, PA. She looked like a much improved horse when racing on the grass last time out. She cleared the field early, and despite getting out a bit on the turn after opening up, and then bearing out down the stretch, she was still able to maintain her advantage. She faces winners for the first time, but should be able to build off that last effort. Odramark (2) is definitely the one to beat, as she gets back on the grass after finishing third at this level in an off the turf race. She’s been in the money in seven of her ten turf sprints, and has never been off the board on this course. The extra half furlong should work to her advantage here, as there are some that may be struggling to find in the final furlong.
Race 8: Top Pick: 7
The late pick-5 sequence begins here with a starter allowance restricted to three year olds that have started for a claiming tag of $25K or less. Race Craft (7) continues to gradually improve while running solid races. He was claimed by Greg Sacco off of Steve Asmussen. He’s hit the board in his last four dirt starts, winning once. Getting Nik Juarez aboard to ride is an upgrade on this course. Hangar One (9) is an interesting player in here with his outside draw. He was solid with similar at Parx before throwing a bit of a clunker last time out. He was disqualified in that last start, but still run a credible race prior to the infraction. Saafen (1) graduated from the $40K maiden claiming level two back, and followed that performance up with a near miss with similar competitors. He’s faced his elders in his last two tries, while some of his rivals have never done so. On deeper tickets, I’m interested to see what we’ll see from Diablo D Oro (6) whose lone start was a maiden breaking win at Parx earlier in the month. He certainly had a good trip to be able to surge up the rail late. This is a big step up from the $20K maiden claimers that he dominated on debut, but I thought his late surge was visually impressive.
Race 9: Top Pick: 9
This optional $30K/N2X turf sprint allowance looks very competitive on paper. I’m looking to the outside with Blessed Arion (9) to get the job done with Paco Lopez aboard. This five year old, gelded son of Kantharos has had several races rained off the turf over the few years. He was up against much better competition in the King Leatherbury Stakes last out on the grass. Prior to that, his other two turf sprints at Colonial Downs in 2019 at this 5 and ½ Furlong distance were more productive. He’s second off the layoff and could spring the mild upset here. Baby Boomer (8) threw in a clunker in an off the turf sprint last out at Delaware. Prior to that effort, he was in great form, winning three out four starts, two of which were turf sprints. The extra half furlong is a question mark for him, but there’s no denying his front end speed. Lonhtwist (6) was formerly based in New York with Keith O’Brien before being moved to the Saffie Joseph barn to start his six year old campaign. He cleared this condition at Aqueduct back in 2019, so he’s one of three entered with the claiming tag in here. He only had four starts in 2020, and none of them were very good, despite facing stakes foes in all four. He fits on speed figures if he can run back to those races in his first start in seven months. On deeper tickets, Fox Rox (1) may have lost a step, but this 10 year old gelding is as honest as they come. He chased a blistering early pace in the Get Serious Stakes last week, before fading to 6th. He drops to a level where he could be more effective.
Race 10: Top Pick: 3
The feature race is a handicap for New Jersey bred fillies and mares at one mile on the main track. The top three finishers from the Spruce Fir Stakes at 6 Furlongs last month are back in here. Diamond Play (3) was the runner up that day, but I absolutely love her in this spot today. She’s capable on either surface, but has done her best work on the grass. She’s better at longer distances, but she held her own when sprinting last out. She stretches out to a mile where she’s drawn well and finds a field with several horses that aren’t interested in going this far. Nik Juarez opted to keep this mount instead of riding Princess Georgia (8) in the Spruce Fir for his father, Calixto Juarez. Dad got the better of his son that day, but I think the tables will be turned here. Groovy Surprise (1) was favored in the Spruce Fir, and she finished third that day. Like Diamond Play, she’s better suited for longer races, despite never winning at two turns. She’s been very productive locally, hitting the board eight of nine times with two wins on this course. Morning line favorite, Stay Smart (2) is unraced since March for Kelly Breen. Bringing horses back off the shorter layoff is not the best angle when playing his horses. I’ll use him defensively, but I prefer the other two.
Race 11: Top Pick: 2
The start of the late double is also the last turf race of the afternoon. Fillies are mares go 1 Mile and 1/16, while running with a $22K-$18K tag. Like some of the other turf races on the card, this one feels like a race where spreading will be important. I think the value, at least on the morning line, lies with Fiery Lady (2), who is one of two being sent out for Jerry Hollendorfer today. She hasn’t been on the grass since before COVID (November 2019), and her last four dirt tries aren’t the best. However, her best career races have come on the turf in California, as she was stakes placed with Cal breds out there. Hollendorfer gave her two months off and brought her to a track where turf is an option. It will be interesting to see if anyone goes with VIP Nation (8) in the early stages. She’s coming off of three straight one turn turf races on the NYRA circuit. She was a solid winner two back with open $25K claimers at Belmont two back. Fed Up Fired Up (9) will have to work out a trip from the outside post, but this daughter of English Channel has been very sharp in her last three. She’s making her third start off the layoff today and shipping here for a change of scenery after struggling with similar over the last several tries. On deeper tickets, the other Hollendorfer, Champagne Horizon (3) drew a tricky post when racing on the turf last out. If she can get back to her form from 2020, she could factor at this level.
Race 12: Top Pick: 7
The nightcap is a $40K-$35K claiming contest at 6 Furlongs on the main track. Urban Warrior (7) debuted smartly here with the $25K tag before dabbling with the maiden special weight level last out. He caught a sloppy track though, and showed very little interest. Schistl and Diaz teamed up with a winner on the card yesterday, and they reunite with this one today. Violent Gigi (3) is cutting back to a sprint and is the prohibitive choice on the morning line. His last was not good as he faded badly while trying two turns for the first time last time. If he runs back to either of his Oaklawn sprints, he’ll be very dangerous in this spot. Jo Jo Katz (2) debuted here two weeks ago and ran on okay race first asking. He came with a four wide surge to narrowly miss the win. This is a bit of a step up, but there should be some improvement from his first try.
Meet Stats: 37/140 (Top Pick Winners) – $259.80 / $1.86 ROI per $2 win bet
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