The Sunday card is highlighted by the $75K My Frenchman Stakes for three year olds sprinting 5 and ½ Furlongs on the turf. Eight are scheduled to run in that race, but two are entered without a jockey named, which is never a good sign about their intentions to run. The five turf races for the Saturday card were taken off the turf as a result of the heavy rains that fell Thursday into Friday. The last 48 hours have been dry, so my hope is that they’ll be on the turf this afternoon for the five turf races scheduled for today. I’ll make the adjustments in the morning if the course is deemed not suitable to race on. Jose Ferrer and Paco Lopez are continue to dominate the rider standings, both winning three races on what was a pretty chalky Saturday afternoon yesterday. Both riders have several live mounts again on today’s program.
|1||4||5,6||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|2||3||4,6||1||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|6||1,8||2,4||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|7||2||1||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|8||4,5||7||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|9||8,9,12 (AE)||14 (AE)||DBL, PK3|
Race 1: Top Pick: 4
This is the 3rd time this meet that Uncle Skeets (1) has shown up in the entry box in maiden claiming company, and was installed as the heavy favorite. He was scratched out of the first two races, both of which I tried to beat him. I’m still against him here, maybe even more so than before, as his two works since being scratched from his most recent start have been very dull. I’m taking Downtothehonkytonk (4) on top after debuting in fast heat at the $40K maiden claiming level two weeks ago. He certainly got an education after being roughed up a bit at the start and steadying on heels going into the far turn. He drops in to the $25K maiden claiming level and gets a rider upgrade to Jose Ferrer. Military Drill (5) has been awful in two dirt starts, but showed some steady progress while racing on the turf at Gulfstream. He struggled most recently there at two turns, so Kathleen O’Connell ships him here and cuts him back to a sprint. He’s bred to like the main track, so I can give him another chance at this level. Diamante de Oro (6) finished 7th, a little less than two lengths behind Downtothehonkytonk last out with better, without having as much trouble as the top pick. He showed improvement from his first start though and could improve again while dropping in class.
Race 2: Top Pick: 3
Yesterday, Brice became the first horse to be a three time winner at the current meet, and Algebraic (3) has the chance to accomplish the same feat this afternoon while stepping up into N1X allowance company. He’s been popular at the claim box, switching hands in three of his last four starts. Jose Delgado re-claimed this three year old son of Algorithms on behalf David Gruskos last out after they visited the Winner’s Circle together two starts ago when facing $20K multi-conditioned claimers. They have decided to keep him protected this time around and they look to strike while the iron is hot. Both Latin Casino (4) and Dalton (6) were disappointing last out at this level when going 5 and ½ Furlongs on 6/27. Latin Casino was moved out of the Kelly Breen barn and into the Jerry Hollendorfer barn after that effort last time. He nearly won at this level two starts back going today’s 6 Furlong distance. Dalton was pretty much in chase mode the entire way around last time, breaking a little flat, while the winner, Sagamore Mischief asserted his dominance early from his rail position. He has gradually improved this year, but has struggled to get back to the form that earned him two consecutives second place finishes in stakes company last fall. I’m going to give both another chance, as I think the 5 and ½ Furlongs was just too short for both last out. I’d prefer both at 6 and ½ or 7 Furlongs, but that trip is not an option here. Tiz Handsome (1) is a longer priced horse that might be an interesting addition to deeper tickets. He was quite sharp here last October breaking his maiden in his second career try. He tossed his rider at the break in Florida bred stakes company in his next start down at Gulfstream West. He came back in February a little flat when facing state bred N1X foes at Gulfstream. He’s worked well here for his return, working the fastest 4 Furlongs of 108 horses working on Independence Day. He could be upset minded in his first start in five months.
Race 3: Top Pick: 9
Maiden two year olds sprint 5 Furlongs on the turf here. Jose Camejo won the filly version of this race yesterday with a Star Guitar horse, after the race was taken off the turf. He sends out second time starter, Tambourine Star (9) today, trying the grass for the first time. Giant’s Causeway is the dam sire, and progeny of Star Guitar seem to run well on any surface, so grass shouldn’t be a huge stretch. He took a good amount of money in his debut where he led until getting caught in the final strides to finish second. Wesley Ward brings in Ali Alley (1) to debut on the grass with Paco Lopez at the helm. This son of Quality Road was a $260K purchase at the OBS April sale this year. He’s been working well at Keeneland for his debut, where he will have to overcome the rail draw with a big field. Angeli Blu (4) debuted at Belmont at 6 Furlongs on the grass last out for Kelly Breen. I don’t necessarily love the cutback in distance for him, but he is able to race with Lasix here, as opposed to New York where he can’t. On deeper tickets, I’d be inclined to toss in the 20-1 (ML) longshot Chief Engineer (7). Russell Cash is still looking for his first win of the meet, but he usually wins with an unexpected horse a few times a season here. This is a pedigree play for me as I think a horse by Midshipman out of a Freud mare could make for a good turf sprinter.
Race 4: Top Pick: 4
There’s not a ton to say about this $12,500-$10,500 maiden claiming field other than it would be a pretty big surprise if someone other than Lady Normandy (4) won the race. She was sucked into a speed duel when facing New York bred $25K claimers last out, when she wilted to 9th in a field of 12 that day. She went off at 8-1 that afternoon, speaking to the quality of that race compared to this race with open company. Her previous two tries would have been good to beat these by open lengths. The second choice in this race is Sip n Dip (6) who has been beaten double digit lengths in her last three starts, which speaks to the lack of quality in here. Perhaps Weddingnightjitters (1) would be the one I’d use underneath in a cold exacta, as she gets a ten pound weight break off her last where she was improving position in the mud.
Race 5: Top Pick: 5
Monmouth has carded several races at this $16K-$14K N4L condition, and what makes these races tricky for handicappers is that you often find horses that have been stuck at three wins for a while, which is the case with many in here. I’ll try Pretendant (5) on top in hopes that Jose Ferrer will be a little more aggressive with this four year old Kitten’s Joy gelding in the early stages of the race. The pace was a little hot on a firm course last out for him, and he never really got involved. He’s been more effective sitting closer to the pace, especially when the pace is a little slower, which could very easily be the case here. Ninja Dust (11) cleared the N3L condition last out rallying smartly with Isaac Castillo down the center of the course. He had been running with tougher on the NYRA circuit before shipping here last out and two of his three lifetime wins have been on this course. The post isn’t ideal, but his game is coming from off the pace, so he should be able to settle into a good position going into the first turn. Nutzforboltz (8) hasn’t won since November of 2019 at Aqueduct, but he’s running for the lowest level on grass in his career today. He’s run races that have been consistently good in his last four turf tries, all at Belmont. Orlando Noda has hit the board with all four starters he’s brought here this meet, including this guy, who finished third at this level three back in a race that was taken off the turf. On deeper tickets, Sadler Bay (9) is making the first start of his six year old campaign this afternoon for Douglas Nunn. He was in decent form here last year, winning once and finishing second three times in five starts on this course. He was a game second the last time he ran at these conditions.
Win-Early Pick 5: $72.00 Ticket
Race 1: 4, 5, 6
Race 2: 1, 3, 4, 6
Race 3: 1, 4, 7, 9
Race 4: 4
Race 5: 5, 8, 11
Race 6: Top Pick: 1
The third, fourth, fifth, and sixth place finishers from a race on 6/20 at this maiden claiming $25K-$20K condition, are back at this level, traveling an extra furlong. Tambourine Star, who was second in that race, goes in the maiden special weight race on grass earlier on in the card. Big Boy Potts (1) had the trouble line last out, breaking a little slow in a 4 and ½ Furlong dash. He moved up four wide on the turn, before levelling off and finishing 3rd that day. There’s reason to believe he do more in his follow up to his debut. Give It a Go (8) debuted while chasing the pace in between horses last out. He shied out of that battle and faded toward the back of the pack that day. He may improve second out, while getting the advantage of the outside draw. Claudio Gonzalez sends out a pair, Sloe Gin Biz (2) who also had a tardy break in the aforementioned 6/20 race. Ridiculous (4) is making his first career start after some tepid workouts over the local course. Gonzalez has good numbers with two year olds in their debut and in their second start, so both are playable.
Race 7: Top Pick: 2
I’m not getting very creative in this maiden special weight turf sprint for fillies and mares three and up. Frosted Blue (2) was really good on the turf last out, finishing a strong second, while being sent off at 30-1. Her Beyer speed figure took a massive jump in her turf debut after three dullish tries on the main track. Her pedigree doesn’t necessarily scream turf, but after her last race, it’s hard to imagine her getting off the turf any time soon. Imwaytoocoolforyou (1) would be the other one I might include in the multi-race wagers. She took a big step forward last out when finishing third in an off the turf maiden allowance at Pimlico. Miguel Vera doesn’t train a ton of horses, but he’s visiting the Winner’s Circle 29% of the time (15/51 in 2021 thus far). She’s a speedy type whose form could certainly transfer to a different surface.
Race 8: Top Pick: 4
The late Pick-4 starts off with a New Jersey bred optional $20K claiming/N2X allowance sprint. Our Man Luke (4) has been struggling a bit of late in open optional claiming/N1X company in his last few starts. However he has won the last two sprint races that he participated in when running exclusively with New Jersey breds. He’s shown the ability to come from off the pace, which could be key in a race where there are some solid speed horses that should be going for the early lead. Chublicious (5) is one of those early speed types, coming off a win with optional $15K/N1X state bred allowance company. He has long since cleared these conditions, so he continues to be entered for the tag. He went off form this winter at the Fair Grounds, but he sure seemed to relish getting back to his favorite track, winning his 10th career race in 17 starts on the Oceanport oval. He was getting a little tired late last out, but this classy 10 year old gelding should be more fit after that start. Wallercito (7) is the morning line favorite, but it’s hard to take a short price on a horse that has never won in 11 tries at this 6 Furlong distance. His only win on this track in 14 starts came in a two turn contest. He often runs a quality race, and he’s been in the money in 66% of his starts, however, he may be one to try to play against in the multi-race sequences.
Race 9: Top Pick: 9
This is a tricky turf sprint where there’s not a lot of turf form to go off. There’s also some considerable talent on the AE list on the outside looking in at the moment. I’m going try Barahin (9) who is making his 4th start since returning to the races after a 28 month layoff. He was a promising dirt sprinter who ran some quality races on the NYRA circuit back in 2018. He clearly isn’t the same horse, but he definitely showed some life last out when going two turns with better horses last week on the grass. He’s never sprinted on the turf before, but seeing as how he was a quality sprinter at one time on dirt, perhaps he could figure at this level on the turf. Deo Forte (12) was entered last week but scratched when the race was taken off the turf. He now winds up on the also-eligible list after getting back on track last out at Gulfstream. He figures to be very tough in here from a speed figure standpoint, however, he has only one win in 20 career starts. Dreaming Thousand (8) has two awful races in a row, one on dirt and the other on a turf course rated good. Prior to that, he has two nice turf sprints in a row at Gulfstream, breaking his maiden three starts back. I’d be willing to give him a shot at this level. American Quality (14) is another one that will need some defections in order to participate in this contest. He ran a monster race on this course at this distance last August, when sent to post at 50-1. He was 8th last out with N1X allowance types, but he definitely could figure while dropping to this level.
Race 10: Top Pick: 4
We have a case of the dreaded claim and drop in this spot with the morning line favorite, Star Sign (7). Jesus Cruz claimed him for $12,500 out of a turf race last out, after clearing the N1X allowance at Parx two starts back. His speed figures and class lines are simply better than his six rivals, however, the question becomes, why is he running back with a $5K claiming tag? He has one very slow work here since the claim, but he also had a very slow work at Parx back in April, before running a solid race 10 days later. There are definitely mixed signals, and I’ll try to beat him, but I can’t ignore him either. I’ll look to Coach Adams (4) to rebound after a dull after behind a talented, free running leader last out in optional claiming/starter allowance company. He’ll be getting some class relief here, depending on what version of Star Sign shows up. Cutter Helm (5) comes into this race riding a two race win streak, but he remains eligible for this condition as one of those wins came when running with a $4K tag at Penn National two back. He’s definitely in good form in a condition where form can be all be over the place. Kaleidoscope Kid (6) has also been running well in recent tries. He was very strong three back at Tampa, then regressed a bit after a two month break. He came back to narrowly miss at this level at 8-1 last out. He’s another one that is live here, especially if the favorite isn’t up to his usual efforts.
Race 11: The My Frenchman Stakes: Top Pick: 2 (5 if the 2 is scratched)
The feature race comes at the end of the card today, with eight three year olds set to blaze 5 and ½ Furlongs on the turf course. Two horses, including the 2-1 morning line favorite, Chasing Artie (2), have entered without a jockey named. Often (not always), this is an indication that a horse will be scratched from a race. Chasing Artie would definitely be my top pick if he goes. He’s undefeated in two turf starts, breaking his maiden going to gate to wire in a solid effort at Gulfstream in February. He went on to win the Palisades Turf Sprint at Keeneland going last to first in his next start. He’s definitely versatile and classy, which should equate to a win over this group if he goes. If he stays home, Momos (5) becomes the lone speed and could be a loose leader that would be hard to run down, while getting back on the grass. Both of his career wins have come on the main track, but he is very capable on turf as well, finishing a close third in the Grade 3 Futurity at Belmont last year. Fauci (8) got back on track when beating N1X allowance foes last month, scoring his second career victory. He was a runner up in three straight turf sprint stakes prior to that effort. He’s another versatile type that can handle just about any pace scenario or turf condition that is thrown at him.
Meet Stats: 53/191 (Top Pick Winners) – $349.40 / $1.83 ROI per $2 win bet
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