We have a turf heavy, eleven race Sunday program today where six of the eleven races are carded for the turf. The last two races yesterday were able to be run over the course, and with warm and dry weather expected again, all six races should go on the grass as scheduled. Yesterday, both pick-5 sequences were tough, but they paid very well, with the early Pick-5 paying over $10K and the late Pick-5 paying a shade under $6,800. I think both sequences this afternoon have the potential to pay just as well today, and there’s a horse in both sequences that I feel strongly about using as a single. The feature today is the Lady’s Secret Stakes, which will be the stakes debut for Chad Brown’s four year old filly, Altaf. First post is 12:15 for the Sunday card. Good luck to everyone playing this afternoon.
|1||2||9||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|2||1,6||3||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|3||4,7||5,10||12 (AE)||DBL, PK3|
|6||2||3||4||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|7||5,9||6||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|8||1||3,4||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|9||8,10,11 (AE)||6||DBL, PK3|
Race 1: Top Pick: 2
Open $12,500-$10,500 claimers start the afternoon on the turf at one mile. This race oversubscribed and was split into two divisions, the second one bookending the card in Race 11. Of the nine entered in this race, only four have more than one win in their career on the grass. Friendly Fella (2) is one of those four, winning twice and hitting the board in all four career turf tries. I’m a little confused as to why he was so focused on dirt racing in Florida this fall and winter after showing turf ability early on in 2020. He got back on the grass against open $10K claimers last out at Tampa and led every step of the way, winning comfortably. I don’t see anyone that will challenge him for the early lead, and I think he can handle the ship and slight rise in class. The main danger will be Cash Call Kitten (9) on the outside with Paco Lopez riding. He is the best closer in the field and the most consistent runner here. He’s a seven time winner on the grass, but his only wins in the last two years have come with time restricted claimers on turf. When he has faced open claimers, he has run well, but come up short. No one rides this course better than Paco, so it’s a safe bet that he’ll get a good ride, however, I think Friendly Fella is going to be tough to run down today.
Race 2: Top Pick: 6
The early double ends with a maiden special weight for three year olds and up on the main track at 1 Mile and 70 Yards. Do note that only three year olds entered this race. Todd Pletcher has Mr. Briggs (6) cross entered in a turf race as a main track only entrant at Belmont today. The forecast is good this weekend, so I’m expecting this speedy three year old son of Super Saver to ship here. He’s been all out in his first two races at the one turn mile, running fast early, and then fading late. I think he has a good foundation and will improve going two turns. He’s quick enough to get the early lead from post six, and I think he’ll be tough to run down late here. Exalted Charm (1) is also logical for Kelly Breen, after showing a steady improvement pattern in his four career races in New York and Florida. He has shown more early speed in his last two starts, but he doesn’t seem to need to be on the lead. He finished in front of Mr. Briggs at Belmont last out, when both were on the early pace. I think he would also benefit from getting the two turn trip for the first time. Antigravity (3) has the best speed figures in the field and plenty of two turn experience, however, he’s been unable to win in his first ten starts. He’s been facing quality fields at high level tracks like Del Mar, Keeneland, Churchill, and Oaklawn, but he keeps coming up short. He does get a good set up today with his two main rivals wanting to be forwardly placed. I’ll cover him in his 11th start, but I prefer the other two.
Race 3: Top Pick: 4
This $16K-$14K maiden claiming contest on the turf like a race where coverage will be important. This looks like the right level of competition for One Most Wanted (4), who is one of two live runners from the Kent Sweezy barn. His two starts at this level are solid efforts where he came within two lengths or less of the race winner. His efforts with better horses were not nearly as good. I thought his last race was visually impressive, as he made an eye-catching move between horses, only to be run down by the race favorite in the stretch. He fought gamely when headed, but the winner, Vigo, had all the momentum at that point. I think he’s very dangerous in this spot if he can improve off his last effort. Woodbine invader, Curlin’s Thrill (7) is live making his first start of 2021, on the drop in class and running for Wayne Potts for the first time. He’s been working well at Keeneland for his return and he looks like he’ll fit nicely at this level if he’s good enough off the layoff. Drum and Drummer (10) is the likely pacesetter in this race, but he might have to work a little bit to get that lead from his outer draw. His two turf starts are significantly better than his two dirt starts at the beginning of his career. It is interesting to see that Paco Lopez, who rides a lot for Breen and has ridden this one in his last two starts in Florida, is not riding him back here. Nik Juarez has the mount and Paco ends up on the less talented Realtor Danny D (9). Big Perm (5) is a bit like Antigravity in the previous race. He has 11 starts and has hit the board in 6 of them. He runs good figures and good races, but hasn’t been able to seal the deal. On the AE list, Inappropriate (12) is very interesting to me if he can draw into this race. He’s second off the layoff and dropping in class while shipping in from New York. He is definitely bred to appreciate the grass, and he may dropping to the right level of competition.
Race 4: Top Pick: 3
Fillies and mares that have never won three times, run six furlongs with a $20K-$18K claiming tag. On paper, this looks like a race where you’ll only need to cover two horses, both of which seem very logical here. Luann (3) has three starts in her career, all at Gulfstream. She’s won two of them, rather easily, and was second most recently in state bred optional/claiming allowance company. She’s been claimed twice already, and now runs for a $20K tag, after being claimed for $12,500 two back. Kelly Breen has this fast closing filly in her second race off a brief layoff. Princess Corey (4) will likely be the horse that she is trying to run down in the stretch here. She ships in from Pimlico for Kieron Magee, who has found the Winner’s Circle 25% of the time this year with 105 starters. She was claimed for $32K two back and now runs with a $20K tag, so that is a bit of a concern. However, she has been improving and she simply looks better than some of the others here.
Race 5: Top Pick: 7
I’m going to try to get as much coverage as possible in the last leg of the Early Pick-5 and Early Pick-4. This is a tricky maiden special weight turf sprint where there few of the runners have experience in turf sprints. I ended up with Sneer (7) on top here. She has one turf race in her running lines which came at Tampa at 9 Furlongs in February 2020. After a promising start to her career when she was trained by Christophe Clement, she has tailed off dramatically, losing her last four races by double digit odds. She was moved to the Kent Sweezy barn, and he gave this filly some time off. She returns to the turf, which may be a positive for her. This race might be a touch short for her, but her pedigree (Into Mischief out of an Elusive Quality mare) leans one turn. I’d demand value in this wide open race, but I think she has a shot. In Vain (10) is the only horse in the field with steady experience in turf sprints, getting close, but fading in her last four starts at Gulfstream. She’s been freshened a bit for a summer campaign and draws a softer field for this condition. Emirates Affair (3) makes her 9th career start after finishing second at 7 Furlongs on the turf at Belmont when facing $40K maiden claimers. She was a lukewarm favorite in that race, so I would think that field at a lower level of competition was comparable to this group. She’s improved a little bit since her last turf sprint on this course last September. I think Dance For The Gold (6) has the nicest pedigree in the field, as her dam was the Grade 1 winning sprinter, Dance To Bristol. However, I’m not sure her pedigree screams turf sprint, which will be something new she’s trying today. She is second off the layoff though and gets Paco Lopez to ride. She probably won’t offer proper value, but she’s worth covering. On deeper tickets, two of the first time starters, Love and Money (4) and Duneagle (5) would be worth including in this race. Both have pedigrees that suggest they’ll run well on the turf. Love and Money has some sharp drills on the dirt, which bodes well for a debut in a sprint at 5 and ½ Furlongs. Duneagle is the longer price of the two, but it certainly wouldn’t be a shock if this daughter of Uncle Mo, out of a Galileo mare, got the job done.
Early Pick Five: $48.00 Ticket
Race 1: 2
Race 2: 1, 6
Race 3: 4, 5, 7, 9
Race 4: 3, 4
Race 5: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10
Race 6: Top Pick: 2
Maiden fillies and mares run one mile with a $12,500-$10,500 claiming tag in the first leg of the Jersey Shore Pick 6. It’s not very creative, but Our West Indy (2) should be tough in this race at a short price. She could have run yesterday as a main track only entrant against a soft field for a $16K tag, but Kelly Breen opted to keep her here with an inside draw that should complement her early speed. Nik Juarez gets the mount as Paco Lopez ends up on Sip ‘n Dip (3) who ran last week and was claimed for $10K by Patricia Farro. Lopez typically rides for Breen, but I’m thinking that he had booked Juarez on several mounts, not knowing if Paco was coming back to Monmouth or not, as this is not the first time this scenario has come up this weekend. Sip n’ Dip was checked early in her last race and never was able to secure decent early position. She gets a significant rider upgrade from a ten pound apprentice to a seven time Monmouth riding champion. The two turns on dirt will be a question that she’ll have to answer, however she does have two turn experience on grass. Super Melody (4) debuted last week in an off the turf sprint at 5 Furlongs while running with a $16K tag. She makes her second career start and stretches out for Potts today. She’s definitely bred to get better at two turns.
Race 7: Top Pick: 9
The late Pick-5 starts here, and this is another strong sequence that has the potential to pay handsomely. There’s three turf races and a stakes race on the main track in this series. This race is a N1X allowance where I think Fair Grounds invader, Takafumi (9) will be tough to beat off the two month break. He’s run two strong races on the turf since being claimed by Jose Camejo in December. He narrowly missed to a nice turf sprinter, Bad Beat Brian, in January when racing at this level. Bad Beat Brian cleared the N2X in his subsequent start. Takafumi finished last in an off the turf race, but followed that up with a credible effort at one mile on the turf on closing weekend in New Orleans. I think sprinting on the turf is where he’ll run his best races. Town of Gold (5) is going to be the one to beat making his first start of 2021 for Jorge Duarte. Duarte does very well of the layoff, winning 30% of the time when horses make their first start for him in over six months. He was getting good toward the end of his two year old campaign, finishing second two back in stakes company at Aqueduct at 58-1. Facing older horses in his return isn’t the easiest assignment, but if he’s improved as a three year old, he’ll be dangerous. Unprecedented (6) has some good early foot and is dangerous when sprinting on the turf. He was a winner on the dirt in his first race off the claim, but his form on grass is better. This is a decent step up in class, but he has shown enough ability in the past to play him here.
Race 8: Top Pick: 1
Multi-conditioned $5K claimers start the late Pick-4. This race was written for horses that have never won three times or horses that have not won a race in 6 months. All seven horses that entered, did so using the latter condition. I’m not in love with the two favorites, Royal Asset (5) and Jersey Joe B (2) in this spot as I think both are vulnerable today. Royal Asset was dull in his first start in five months last out at Gulfstream. Breen brings him back to New Jersey and drops him in class while also switching surfaces. This kind of feels like he’s trying a lot of different things to see if that will help him return to his best form. I can play that angle with a longshot, but not so much on a 9-5 (ML) favorite. Jersey Joe B ran a big race last out in February, his best effort in quite some time. Then he went away for three and a half months and resurfaces here for Delgado. Most of his recent efforts prior to his last would likely not be enough to beat these. I think Batterbatterswing (1) is a strong single in this race. NYRA shippers have been performing well at this meet (4 of the 12 winners yesterday alone last race at Aqueduct or Belmont). He moves into the Wayne Potts barn, and drops after a dismal effort with $16K claimers last month at Belmont. Prior to that flop, he was consistently running races that would likely be fast enough to win this race. He has good speed from the rail, and rider Christian Navarro has made the most of the limited chances he’s had thus far at the meet, winning two races for Potts already. Between the two favorites, I think Royal Asset has a better chance to run a race that would beat these. I’d use him as a saver on some deeper tickets. Successful Zip (4) might be another horse worth adding to deeper tickets. He was running well at Parx this winter before turning in a dud two back. I thought he might have run a better race with similar here last week, when he was facing another NYRA invader that was moved to the Wayne Potts barn, (Kosciuszko, who was also ridden from the rail by Navarro). He finished a dull 6th that day when Potts’ horse dominated that race. If he can turn things around, he has shown that he can compete at this level.
Race 9: Top Pick: 8
This $16K-$14K claiming turf sprint for fillies that are either three years old or older fillies and mares that have never won twice. No one in this field has won more than once, and the current turf form is not strong here. I’m going to try a few horses that have never been on the grass before. I made my top pick Twin Bridges (8) shipping up from Tampa for Skip Einhorn. Although he hasn’t visited the Winner’s Circle yet, all five of his starters at the meet thus far have hit the board. I like playing horses sired by Two Step Salsa in turf sprints, and this daughter will try that for the first time today. Her last two races with better have not been good, but prior to that, her form was improving. She adds Lasix for the first time and might be the fastest horse in the early stages of this race. Baby Dragon (10) has been a dedicated closer on synthetic courses, running mostly at Presque Isle in her 13 race career. She has never been on the turf, but her figures on the Tapeta are strong enough to win here if they will translate to grass. Jose Ferrer, who rode two longshot winners yesterday with some savvy rides, gets the mount on her. Shannon’s Girl (11) will need at least one scratch for her to run here, and since she’s based at Belmont, I’m not sure she’ll be making the trip when she’s not guaranteed a spot in the starting gate. However, if she does go, she has the best turf form of anyone in here. While it isn’t great, I’d expect her to be able to carry that form here on the drop in class. Take It Off (6) is another one that will be running on the grass for the first time this afternoon. Her dam sire is Broken Vow, who, despite being a strong dirt horse, has produced many solid turf runners (Imprimis, Field Day, The Grass is Blue to name a few). She’s sired by Goldencents, so there’s some speed influence there as well. She hasn’t been very sharp off the Avila claim three back, but she could possibly wake up on the grass.
Race 10: The Lady’s Secret Stakes: Top Pick: 3
The feature today is a $100K stakes race for fillies and mares, three and up, at 1 Mile and 1/16 on the main track. I think two horses stand out over the rest in this eight horse field. I’ll try Lucky Stride (3) on top to return to her better form after a dismal effort in the Grade 3 Allare DuPont on the Black Eyed Susan undercard last month. She’s been very good in these types of races for Trombetta, winning the Wayward Lass at Tampa and the Nellie Morse at Laurel earlier this year. She’s had trouble in her last two breaking cleanly, so that is a bit of a concern, but I think she’s playable here, especially at 4-1, when the favorite is lightly raced and unproven. Altaf (2) is that favorite for Chad Brown, who ships her here to make her stakes debut in hopes of sweeping the weekend’s stakes here (Devamani won the Monmouth Stakes for him yesterday). She was visually impressive when dominating a maiden special weight field at Churchill last year, inhaling the field and drawing off by 5+ lengths in her second career start. She wasn’t seen again until running in a N1X allowance race in April at Aqueduct, coming from off the pace to beat a nice field that day. She’ll have to answer the two turn question, which she has never done on the dirt. However, she looks like a nice homebred for Shadwell, and I’ll think she’ll be tough here today.
Race 11: Top Pick: 6
It’s hard to look past the favorite, Projected (6) in the nightcap, which is an open $12,500-$10,500 claiming contest on the turf. This nine year old gelding is a proven winner, winning 10 times in 45 career tries. Paco Lopez rode him brilliantly two starts ago to win at this level at Gulfstream and he is reunited with this veteran gelding today. He shipped to Pimlico and was a dull 5th in a thirteen horse field on the Black Eyed Susan undercard. He moves to Kieron’s Magee’s barn, which does well with new runners. Ty Ran A Homer (5) took four months off after a dull effort at Tampa in February. Prior to that, he ran a big race with $16K claimers there when he got back on the turf. He had some strong efforts on grass at this meet last year, and while he might be better next time out, I think he’s worth covering today. Drillomatic (3) is coming off a career top at Tampa, that was 10 Beyer points better than his previous top. That was his first race in 6 months, and perhaps he got better from the end of his four year season until now. I think a bounce is possible, but I’ll use him as a saver on deeper tickets.
Meet Stats: 17/55 (Top Pick Winners) – $110 / $2.00 ROI per $2 win bet
Leave a Reply