Monmouth Park Racing Preview – 7/1/22 – By Eric Solomon

July starts off with a four day race week, as there is a special July 4th card on Monday, which will be drawn later on today. Today’s card is the typical Friday, eight race program, where the rails are out to 36 feet on the turf course. There are a few nice allowance races on the program with the featured race being an optional $50K/conditioned allowance for three year olds and up, racing for a $65K purse. There’s a very contentious seven horse field signed on to run six furlongs in that race. The first post is 2:00 ET this afternoon.

 

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 7 6,7 1 5 DBL, PK3, PK5
2 5 5 1,6 DBL, PK3, PK4
3 6 2,4,6 8 DBL, PK3, PK6
4 1 1 4 DBL, PK3, PK 5
5 1 1,4,6 2 DBL, PK3, PK4
6 2 2 7 3 DBL, PK3
7 5 2,5 7 DBL
8 8 8 3,5

 

 

 

Race 1: 

The day starts off with New Jersey bred maiden special weights, sprinting six furlongs on the main track. Five of the seven runners in this race are coming out of turf races. Of the other two,  Kobe’s Rhythm (#2) didn’t show much in his debut on the dirt and first time starter, Young Gun (#3) is not really tearing up the track in the AM. Cathal Lynch has good numbers with second time starters, and Exaggerateddefence (#7) ran well enough on the grass last out to think that he has some ability. His works on the main track are solid, and while there are some turf influences in his pedigree, I’d think he would be more likely to have success on dirt. Being forwardly placed on the main track wasn’t a bad thing last week, and he was quick from the gate in his debut. Kaz Sweet Heist (#6) cuts back to a sprint for his 4th start of the meet. His dirt sprints to start his career in open company at Penn National over the winter weren’t bad. He struggled off the layoff against a decent field in his first start here. He tried two turns and then turf in his last two starts. He wasn’t bad in those races, but I think he’s better suited for sprints. I’ve done very well betting sprinters on turf and dirt that are sired by Freud, and he’s represented with second time starter, Hello Pop (#1) in this race. I don’t love the rail for him in his first try on dirt, but I think he could definitely improve after getting some valuable race day experience. He did use up some energy before the race when he was not interested in going into the starting gate. Seeing him look more relaxed in the paddock and warming up on the track would be a good sign. On deeper tickets and underneath, Changing the Karma (#5) might be worth a look. He was 4th at long odds two back when running at this condition. He tried the turf, and his speed figure improved for the third straight time. He’s trained by Linda Simon and ridden by Shannon Uske, both of whom are looking for their first wins in 2022. He is trending upward, and looks to have more upside than some of the others. 

Race 2: 

Two year old fillies sprint five furlongs in this maiden special weight race. Todd Pletcher sends out two runners, both of which cost their owners over a half million dollars at the sales. Two Fridays ago, Pletcher sent out a filly that was owned by Robert and Lawana Low, Munny’s Gold, who ran a monster race, crushing the field by over 14 lengths and earning a triple digit Beyer Speed Figure. I mentioned that race could be an important race for jockey Jairo Rendon, who was getting the opportunity to ride for Pletcher for the first time when riding that filly. Obviously, at least on that day, that filly was breathing different air than her rivals, but Rendon earned the another mount for this barn with Mirabella (#5). She cost the Low’s $690K this past March at the Two Year Olds in Training Sale. She was previously sold for $345K at the Fasig-Tipton Sale back in 2021. Obviously she has given signs that she can run a bit in the morning. She is the second foal and the first to make it to the track from the mare Vaudevillian, who only ran once in her career. While there wasn’t much on track performance to speak of, she is obviously doing just about everything right so far. Her stablemate, Bisset (#1), has also been working well in the mornings up at Saratoga. She’s sired by Quality Road out of the Yes It’s True mare, Yes It’s Jackie. Her full brother, Kendall Square, has started three times and has never finished on the board, and the dam, as far as I can tell, has never produced a winner. However, this is another one that must be doing everything the right way for Pletcher. Paco Lopez taking the mount is a positive sign. These blue bloods figure to have an advantage over their rivals. On deeper tickets, Comoda (#6) was a horse that I made a case for in the Munny’s Gold race. However, she had a few issues that day and retreated, finishing 27.5 lengths behind the winner. She did get some race day experience, which is valuable. Her bullet work prior to her last race indicated that she has some ability, and that was enough to get me to consider her in that last race. I’m not ready to completely give up on her yet. 

Race 3:

The first turf race of the day is a five furlong sprint for three year olds and upward that have started a race for a $50K tag or less and have never won two races. This is a wide open race with many chances, so I’m going to try to get a bit of a price on Baagy (#6) trying the turf for the first time for Michael Pino. He ran second, getting nailed on the wire on opening day with $25K starter allowance company on the dirt. Pino has great numbers with a limited sample of horses trying the turf for the first time. He’s sired by Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner, Tamarkuz, who was sired by Speightstown. The dam is an Irish filly, so there’s reason to believe that he can excel on grass. I always say that not all starter allowance races are equal and this race is the perfect example of that. On paper, it looks like Immortalization (#2) is moving up in class, going from $30K starter allowance to $50K starter allowance company. However, the reality is that he is getting quite a bit of class relief, as that race was an open starter allowance, and this one is restricted to horses that have never won twice. The winner of his last race was stakes placed in his prior start, so this field is nowhere near as tough. He was a winner two back with open $40K maiden claimers at Aqueduct, taking a decent step forward getting on the grass for the first time. Lindros (#4) is another runner that took a big step forward two starts back when trying the turf for the first time at Laurel. He closed well from last to run by all six of his rivals to win that afternoon when going 5 and 1/2 furlongs. His last start was rained off the turf at Belmont, and he showed no interest there in the slop. I’d prefer him at 5 and ½ in a race out of the chute, but I still think there might be enough pace signed on to set up his late charge. On deeper tickets, I’ll cover with Worlds on High (#8) making his second start off a 15 month layoff today. He returned in an allowance race a month ago, while also trying turf for the first time. He didn’t embarrass himself that afternoon, finishing 5th, beaten only two lengths with a solid group. Paco Lopez hops aboard today, which is a rider upgrade. 

Race 4:

My hope is that we’ll be able to be a slightly better price on Harpoon Harry (#1) in this conditioned $30K-$25K claiming race. He stumbled at the start as the heavy favorite in a $25K starter allowance race last month. The track that day was slow and tiring, and the inside wasn’t the best place to be. Of the six races that were run on the main track that day, five of them were won by horses that were off the rail, rallying from an outside lane. He was headstrong in his race, and ran an aggressive second quarter before tiring late. The track was more fair last week and less demanding, which should suit him well. He drops in class and should be more effective this afternoon. I’m willing to draw a line through his last race and use him as a confident single in the Win-Early Pick-5. The horses I’ll use as a backup will be Willy Mc (#4), making his second start of the meet for Jose Camejo. His horses have been live here thus far at this meet with a limited sample. This gelded son of Overanalyze was improving this winter at the Fair Grounds. He appeared to be in over his head with optional claiming/N1X allowance company last month, when he was facing a tougher group. I think the top pick is better suited to win here, but I think he’d be the most likely one to get the job done if Harpoon Harry misfires. 

Race 5:

We’re back on the turf for this $30K-$25K maiden claiming contest for fillies and mares going 1 mile and 1/16. I like the progression I’ve seen in the last few races from Kazachan (#1), shipping in today from Delaware for Victor Carrasco Jr. She was a fast closing third when going 7 and ½ furlongs last month when facing $25K-$20K maiden claimers. This is a step up in class, but she’s coming off a pair of solid efforts on the grass. She’s sired by English Channel out of a Dynaformer mare, so she might be better going a little longer. She showed some potential, running a respectable 4th in her debut at Saratoga last year as a two year old. I think she can take another step forward today. Hard Rock Warrior (#4) could be a speed threat in a race where there doesn’t seem to be too many interested in taking the initiative from the start. Her last three starts have been rained off the turf, so we haven’t seen what she can do at this distance on the lawn. Her only turf start was in a five furlong dash at Gulfstream back in February. I think two turns on the turf will be where she does her best work, and Trombetta has good numbers dropping horses from maiden special weight and going from dirt to turf. Wi Fi (#6) gets a bump up in class after a strong effort at long odds on synthetic with $12,500 maiden claimers down at Gulfstream back in April. She makes her first start on the grass, which she is bred for up and down. I think she has some upside at a possible price in this spot. Cocoa Icing (#2) will likely take some attention at the windows in this race. Jersey Joe Bravo is looking for his first win since his temporary return to the Jersey Shore. She’s been knocking on the door, finishing second in her last three starts. She’ll likely be in the mix, but I think some of the others have more upside. 

WIN-EARLY PICK-5: $72 Ticket

I really like this sequence this afternoon, so I’ll be investing a little more than usual. I think Harpoon Harry (#1 , R4) is a solid single here. I can forgive his last when he ran against the grain on a demanding surface. I think both of the turf races are wide open and have longshot potential. 

Race 6:

The featured race this afternoon is an optional $50K/conditioned allowance race for three year olds and up going six furlongs. Two runners are entered for the $50K tag and the other five qualify for this race under the N3X condition. Bank on Shea (#2) won the Pelican Stakes at Tampa three starts back, but has struggled in his last two tries. However, two back, he ran his race, but that came against Speaker’s Corner in the Grade 1 Carter Stakes. He came back three weeks later to try to defend his title in the Affirmed Success for New York breds, but he had a rough trip when facing Ny Traffic that afternoon. Handal gave him two months off, and now brings him down to the shore where he’s getting class relief.  He’s shown the ability to rate just off the pace, which looks like the winning style with this group. Quick Tempo (#7) got swallowed up on the rail in the Mr. Prospector Stakes last month. There was a ton of speed signed on for that race, and being down inside was less than ideal for him in that spot. He was a winner four starts ago in a race with similar conditions at Gulfstream. Paco Lopez takes over on this speedy son of Tapizar who is stakes placed on this course. Sagamore Mischief (#3) might be a cut below the better ones here, but he makes a lot of sense underneath. He’s only finished off the board once in eight tries on this oval. He’s coming off a game third place finish in a similar race at Delaware. He’s at his best when he makes the front end, but that doesn’t look like it will happen here. However, he is very game and I think he’ll hold his place while others might be backing out. 

Race 7:

The last turf race of the afternoon is a N1X allowance for fillies and mares going 1 mile and 1/16. There’s not a ton of early speed signed on here, so I’m thinking that La Costa (#5) can repeat with a gate to wire performance, while moving up the class ladder off the claim. She beat conditioned $30K-$25K claimers last month when trying the turf for the first time. That race was on a Friday afternoon when the rails were out at 36 feet like they are today. If Nik Juarez can get her back on the lead, I don’t think she’ll be under a ton of pressure. She’s a lightly raced five year old that has some upside in a wide open race. Midnight Diva (#2) was Grade 3 stakes placed in Southern California as a three year old, but her last three starts have not been her best, including a disappointing effort at Gulfstream in her most recent start. That group was definitely stronger than this one, so this is a bit of class relief. Paco Lopez gets the mount and will likely have her in a good position from her inner post. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a better effort from her. Champagne Horizon (#7) makes her first start since crushing an optional $10K/$5K starter allowance field at the Fair Grounds. She has struggled at this level in the past, but I don’t think this field is as deep as some of the other races she’s been in at this condition. She might be better in her next start, but she gets a rider, Angel Rodriguez, who has been riding extremely well at this meet so far. She is not without a chance in this race. 

Race 8:

$10K maiden claimers, which is the bottom level at Monmouth, go 5 and ½ furlongs in the nightcap today. There’s a few new faces to the division that seem to have an edge over the runners based here that typically fill this race. Pop Pop Susi (#8) just missed at this level at Laurel for Claudio Gonzalez last week. He wheels him right back where he finds a field where he should be able to make the front rather easily. JD Acosta rode him last week in Maryland, but he is named to ride Palace Intrigue (#3), who is an absolute wild card. My guess is that Acosta had already committed to that ride that one, and with the quick turnaround for Pop Pop Susi, he wouldn’t be available. Apprentice Andy Hernandez, who has ridden very well with limited opportunities at this meet, gets the call, which is fine by me. Palace Intrigue hasn’t started in almost two years after a debut at Presque Isle that was nothing short of disastrous. In that time span, he’s been moved to the barn of Cathal Lynch, who has done well with his limited starters at the meet. His recent works at Delaware aren’t bad. I have no idea what to expect from this one, who plummets to the bottom after debuting with maiden special weight company. At long odds, I’d be willing to take a small shot, and possibly use as a saver on deeper tickets. Robbedinthebahamas (#5) is another one that I’d save for deeper tickets, while shipping in from Gulfstream. He drops in class after finishing 7th in a rough race against better runners at seven furlongs. He drilled a 46:1 bullet over this course last Friday, so he might be on the muscle while cutting back in distance and sliding down the class ladder. 

 

Meet Statistics:

Top Pick Winners: 53/186 (28.5%) – $453.50/ $2.44 ROI

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