Monmouth Park Racing Preview – 7/1/23 – By Eric Solomon

July begins with a 10 race program at Monmouth Park, highlighted by the $100K Regret Stakes. A field of seven fillies and mares is set to dash six furlongs there. Paco Lopez and Jorge Vargas Jr. are not riding here today as they both have mounts in some of the stakes races this afternoon at Delaware Park. First post for the Saturday card is 12:40 (ET).


I’ll be covering the Monmouth Park meet for the third consecutive 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 9 9 4 10 DBL, PK3, PK5
2 6 6 5,7 DBL, PK3, PK4
3 6 2,4,6 DBL, PK3
4 1 1 8 DBL, PK3
5 6 1,6 4 2 DBL, PK3, PK6
6 5 1,5 DBL, PK3, PK5
7 9 1,9 8 DBL, PK3, PK4
8 3 3 4,6 DBL, PK3
9 1 1,8 9 11 DBL
10 5 5 2,7


Race 1:

The day opens with a $12,500-$10,500 claiming race going 5 and ½ furlongs on the turf. There was a race at this condition last Friday slated to go five furlongs, however that race was taken off the turf. I like Town on Gold (#9) a decent bit in this race. Once turf season ended in the Mid-Atlantic region, he was one of a small number of horses that Jorge Duarte brought to Gulfstream over the winter. He ran on Tapeta twice and wasn’t a big fan. Duarte brought him back to Colts Neck Stables and after a few scratches due to weather and not drawing into a race, he was able to compete in a conditioned $25K claiming race at Pimlico. He was favored that day and while that race doesn’t look like much on paper, he had a rough trip, where he was pinned inside for the majority of the race. He did finish with interest once he had some room to operate. He’s a much better horse at 5 and ½ furlongs as opposed to five furlongs, which is likely why Duarte opted to enter him here as opposed to the race last week. I think he’ll be flying under the radar and has a big shot, especially since there is a decent amount of early speed signed on this race. Balistico (#4) was an easy winner at this condition three weeks ago, leading from gate to wire with Paco Lopez piloting. Jose Ferrer is a capable replacement, but there is more speed for him to contend with in this spot. He’s an eight year old gelding that has been in consistently good form, but I do feel there’s a good chance that he’s going to be overbet in this race. On deeper tickets and underneath, I’ll use Fair Catch (#10) in his first start of the year, in hopes that he’ll wake up from a sleepy 2022. Several of his efforts from 2021 are good enough to win this race with ease. However, it’s been a while since we;ve seen those kinds of races from him. Perhaps that is who he is at this point in his career, however, he has run credible races when fresh in the past. At 12-1 (ML) or better, he’s worth considering here. 

Race 2:

Yesterday we saw New Jersey bred two year old fillies compete against each other for the first time, and today, the boys get their shot. I think the outside trip has the upper hand in this race, but I think J.T. Three (#6) is very interesting here. He’s a full brother to the Pennsylvania bred sprinter, Fortheloveofbourbon. That one ended 2022 on a six race winning streak, including three straight stakes wins. He was a winner on debut when Patricia Farro was his trainer. She trains this one, and while her recent numbers with first time starters are good, she has only debuted two juveniles in the last five years, and both of them won at first asking. His sire, Bourbon Courage also was an easy winner of his debut, and his first time starters are hitting at 13% in dirt sprints. For him to be racing in July, he is clearly showing Farro the right signs in the mornings. Bingo’s Boy (#5) is another Sea Wizard first time starter for Jose Delgado. His stablemate, Bingo’s Birkin, was a tough luck third place finisher in her race yesterday. Delgado continues to struggle to find his first debut winner, however, his horses aren’t running poorly. He’s the first foal to race from Mel’s Gone Wild, who was a debut winner. Having Samy Camacho aboard certainly won’t hurt his chances. Spiritinthenight (#7) draws the outside post for his career debut. He’s sired by Preakness and Haskell winner, Exaggerator. Out of the dam, Poochy. She has one other foal to race, which is Here Comes Billy, who was second in his debut on dirt. Exaggerator is getting 12% winners from first time starters in dirt sprints. 


Race 3:

Conditioned $5K claimers are sprinting six furlongs in this race. Wicked Jane (#6) was a distant fourth that day, but she was claimed by Claudio Gonzalez, despite going off at 16-1 that day. He brings her back three weeks later to make her third start off the layoff. Her last three starts have not been good, and there’s a chance that this six year old mare is no longer interested in competing. However, her form from last summer and fall would play very well at this level. Gonzalez has hit with 26% of his runners first off the claim since the beginning of 2022, so there’s reason to believe that she can revert to form, and if she’s near that 8-1 morning line figure, I see that as a gamble worth taking. Takestwotowiggle (#2) is one of two horses running from Clarence King in this race. She joined his stable after a dull effort against a stronger field of open $6,250 claimers at Gulfstream back in May. She has the best early speed in this race and will likely be trying to take them gate to wire. Richard Mitchell almost stole a race against similar types at Tampa two starts back. If speed is holding well, she’d certainly be an upgrade. Kashan (#4) was third in that same race, about five lengths better than her rival. She was the post time favorite in that race, making her first start since April. Her form has been declining since her last win, which came on this oval last year, however, there have been some gaps between starts. She fits from a speed figure perspective in this race, but I have some questions, especially at short odds. 


Race 4:

$16K-$14K maiden claimers sprint 5 and ½ furlongs on the turf here. Moon Flyer (#1) makes the most sense, shipping in from New York while taking a steep drop in class for Rudy Rodriguez. He showed potential in some two turn races at Saratoga and Aqueduct last year, but fell off the map when moving to the dirt. He ran better, albeit not great, races at Belmont since returning to the races. The turf sprint is a bit of a question mark, but at this level, he certainly fits. Liotta (#8) made his first start since February last time out at this level, and was moving well late to be third, beaten only a length. I expect him to take a small step forward in his second start off the layoff .


Race 5, The $100K Regret Stakes:

I see this a wide open race where the experience and class of the five year old mare, Oxana (#6) may be the difference. She had a tough trip in the Skipat last time out, being relegated toward the back of the field. She ran on well to be 5th, beaten less than two lengths in that race. She has decent efforts on this track and Jairo Rendon rode her capably in this race last year when Paco Lopez, her regular rider, was out of town. David Jacobsen has Self Isolation (#1) is currently in excellent form, dominating fields in her last two wins. She was a handy winner with high priced claimers here at the end of May. She took her talents to Laurel last month when she beat a solid optional claiming/allowance field there. I think the short break after some dull efforts at Aqueduct, coupled with the cutback in distance has been key for this Square Eddie mare. Olivia Darling (#4) is the morning line favorite, who is looking for her first stakes win. She was narrowly defeated in the Skipat last out and was second in her last two tries with handicap and stakes company at Tampa. This distance suits her better than some of the others in this field, but at short odds, I am a bit concerned that she hasn’t sealed the deal at this level. If her odds float up a little bit from the 2-1 morning line, I’d be more inclined to play her more aggressively. On deeper tickets, My Beautiful Belle (#2) is the most interesting longer priced runner in this field. She ran a very strong race on this track last year when clearing the N2X allowance condition. She has finished first in her last two races against softer fields at Penn National and Delaware. This is a hearty step up in class, and she has been more forwardly placed than usual in her last two races. However, she’s run well when sitting just off the early pace in the first quarter, then making her move for home on the turn. That’s the kind of trip that I see winning this race. Whether or not she’s good enough to execute that is another story. 


WIN-EARLY PICK-5, $54 Ticket:

There are three horses that I have by themselves on the A line in this sequence, so I certainly could pare down this $54 All A/B ticket in a number of ways. I’d be comfortable using any or all of the three runners as singles. In order or preference, I’d rank them Town of Gold (#9, R1), Moon Flyer (#1, R4), and J.T. Three (#6, R2). I opted for a little coverage in the two year old race, and Balistico (#4, R1) is in very good form in the first race. The 4th race is cheap maidens so backing up with Liotta (#8, R4) seems like a wise decision. 


Race 6:

The Late Pick-5 begins with a $25K-$20K maiden claiming race going 1 mile and 70 yards on the main track. Perspicacious Boy (#5) debuted with $10K maiden claimers on Opening Day here, but he ran into a buzzsaw when Excess Demand ran off the screen. He was in range early, but couldn’t go on with the winner late. He was claimed by Diane Morici, who has hit with 14% of her runners first off the claim since the start of 2022. He’s been gelded since that last start and moves up in class on paper. However, he’s not facing anyone as talented as the horse that beat him at first asking. Threethirtythree (#1) is the 5th runner to hit the track from the mare Yara, who was a 64-1 upset winner of the Davona Dale at Gulfstream back in 2012. Her best runner to date is the stakes winner, Moon Swag. This Brody’s Cause gelding has shown ability in sprints and has been away since the end of March. I don’t love going two turns for the first time off the layoff, but I don’t see many others that should be serious threats to him. Jose Hernandez has done well with limited runners (6) at this meeting, winning twice and hitting the board with three others. 


Race 7:

I’ve been waiting for Affable Monarch (#9) to get back on the track after a strong 3rd place finish against a strong N1X allowance field here last month. Kingmax appears to be stakes bound after a dominating performance that day, but despite breaking slow, Affable Monarch settled nicely and made a solid run, finishing a neck behind the runner-up. He went off at 26-1 that afternoon, and while we’re not going to get close to that number today, I do believe his odds could go over the 9-2 morning line. I think he fits from a pace standpoint and will be tough in this spot. Great Britain (#1) is bred for grass top and bottom, as he’s sired by English Channel out of the multiple graded stakes winning mare Rutherienne. He’s coming off a strong meet at Tampa where he cleared this condition. He was a competitive 4th in the first leg of the Malouf Auto Group Starter Handicap Series, losing only by a length. This race became Plan B when the second leg of that series was rained off the turf on Sunday. He’s in career best form and should be a player with this group, while getting a rider upgrade to Samy Camacho.. The morning line favorite is Bullet Force (#8) coming here after facing N2X allowance company in Tampa this winter. This is a drop in class as he’s faced some talented turf runners like Never Explain, whose win in the Grade 2 Dinner Party Stakes in May at Pimlico certainly flatters him. While there isn’t anyone of that caliber in this race, this is not as deep of a drop in class as it appears. Delgado has good numbers off layoffs like this, so perhaps that will be the cure for what has ailed him. 


Race 8: 

Jersey breds are set to travel 1 mile and 70 yards on the main track in this optional $15K claiming/N1R allowance race. Trying to figure out who is going to be setting the pace in this race feels like a total challenge. While I don’t think he’ll be setting the pace, I think Royal Coup (#3) has enough tactical speed to sit a very cozy trip just off the frontrunners in this one. After the Monmouth Meet concluded last year, he went off form at Parx and was claimed a few times during that span. JT Servis gave him a few months off prior to racing here again in May. He was third at long odds in an allowance race that day, signaling that he could be reverting to his better form that he showed in 2022. He’s second off the layoff, so this seems like a logical time for him to step forward once again. I think he can get revenge on Cash Kid (#6) who was 1 and ¾ lengths better than him last time out. I think he’s a player in this race, but the lack of any early speed presence concerns me somewhat with him, especially as the favorite. He does have the same owner and trainer as Royal Coup, so that one may be asked for a little more than usual early on. Pal (#4) might be an under the radar horse in this race. I think he’s better on the turf, but  Ithink James Frangella sees that these races on dirt aren’t as deep as the turf races right now. He did break his maiden in an off the turf race here in 2021, where he pretty  much went gate to wire. That kind of trip might be a winning one here. 


Race 9: 

I’m going to be against the morning line favorite, Siempre Elegante (#3) in this race. She makes her 9th career start and her first for Chad Brown. Her best career race came on the Tapeta when she was running for Saffie Joseph, however, her turf form just doesn’t stack up with the best runners in this field. Sure, she could improve enough to win this race while running for a barn that has been winning with seemingly everything they are sending out at this meet. However, 7-2 (ML) is way too low of a price for me to consider. I think if just about any other trainer’s name were attached to hers, the morning line figure would be closer somewhere between 6-1 and 8-1, which would be the price point I would need to be at to consider playing her. Conversely, if there’s a lot of money on Chad Brown, there’s a lot of others being overlooked. I think No Valla (#1) makes a lot of sense in this race, making her second start off the layoff for Kent Sweezy. She finished 4th, beaten a little more than four lengths in her return where she drew the outside post and was wide throughout. She’s a versatile mare that can win on the front end or come from off the pace, and her rail draw gives Nik Juarez every option. She was competitive at this level last year, finishing second to Finest Work, who would win a contentious state bred stakes race in her next start. She finished in front of Royal Dame last time out, who was a much the best winner with conditioned claimers yesterday afternoon. Uncorked (#9) is an Australian bred filly that ran her first nine races Down Under. She came to the States and has been paired with Brittany Russell. Her first effort here was a strong effort at Delaware, where she nearly took a N1X allowance field from gate to wire, but she was nailed on the finish line. She finds a slightly larger field, but it’s another field where there isn’t a lot of early speed signed on. She could be able to carve out another relatively easy trip, despite her wide draw. Unruly Julie (#8) was putting up big speed figures and running competitive races at this condition on tougher circuits last season. She’s had a few different trainers, including Javier Contreras, whom she reunites with in this race. She was a game second in both of her races at Colonial where he was her trainer last year. Her last race on the dirt was a total toss, as she’s never run well in any race on the main track. Expect her to rebound from her last and be more competitive with this group. On deeper tickets, don’t forget about Ruda (#11) who is stuck is the widest post in this race. She’s lightly raced, making only three career starts, all of which came while racing with a claiming tag. This is her first move into a protected allowance field, so she’s going to have to bring her A game. However, her last win, where she was opening up in the stretch, suggests to me that she hasn’t hit her ceiling yet. 


Race 10:

The nightcap, which is a $10K maiden claiming sprint at 5 and ½ furlongs on the main track, seems to run through the morning line favorite, Bodontknow (#5). He makes his third career start after pairing his Beyer Speed Figures in his first two tries. Jose D’Angelo saw fit to claim him for $12,500 last month and he brings him back for a slightly lower tag here. That drop isn’t quite a red flag, but it should at least be considered. However, I think we’re going to see a big effort from this Mineshaft gelding for connections that excel with runners first off the claim. Big Popper (#7) is a bit of an interesting longshot here. She absolutely missed the break when going 6 and ½ furlongs in a slow race at this level at Parx last month. She was moving well late though, and got into 4th, beaten about a length on the wire. The slow time and the slow Speed Figure are undoubtedly a concern, however, if she’s completely overlooked, she has a few races that would put her right there at this level.Vegas Playboy (#2) ran well in that race to be about a length and a half behind Bodontknow in that same race. He was cutting back from a two turn race on dirt to this 5 and ½ furlong race, which is a completely different kind of race. He held his own that day and could improve while getting to do the same thing twice. 


Meet Statistics/Notes:

Top Pick Winners: 39/181 (21.5%) – $223.80/ $1.24 ROI


Both surfaces appeared to be fair yesterday, with horses winning on both from a variety of different positions on the track. Keep an eye out for Bingo’s Birkin in her next start. She showed some interest while stalking the frontrunners in a 4 and ½ furlong dash. She tried to come through a narrow opening on the rail, but it didn’t seem like she was ready for that kind of maneuver, especially when making her career debut. She was forced to check, but she still finished with interest, which matters to me when playing back a horse like this. She took some money at the windows, going off a bit of a surprising post time favorite. I think she’s going to much improved when she makes her next start. 

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