The Haskell Eve card starts with a six race Friday night program. There are some good opportunities to potentially build a decent bankroll for the blockbuster 14 race card tomorrow. There’s been unsettled weather all week in the mid-Atlantic region, so I’ll handicap the grass races for both surfaces, especially since I suspect track management will be overly cautious with the turf course tonight, knowing there’s some high quality races being run on it tomorrow.
|1||3,4||2,6||1,5||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|DBL, PK3, PK5|
|3||1,3,8||7||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 1: Top Pick: 4
This looks like a nice two year old filly maiden special weight contest with some well bred horses coming from barns that are very capable winning with first time starters. On paper, there doesn’t seem to be much separating the half dozen making their debut, so coverage will key in the opening leg of the Jersey Shore 6. I like the workout pattern from Lady Mosler (4) going into this race. She drilled a 4F bullet three weeks ago, and then ran a pair of solid 5F works in preparation of her debut at 5 and ½ Furlongs today. The co-leading rider at the meet, Jose Ferrer gets the mount for Wayne Potts, who continues to win above his yearly average here. Classical Romance (3) debuts for Asmussen after speedy 47:4 workout last week. She’s from the freshman crop of two year old champion, Classic Empire, so there’s reason to believe that she can win early. Miss Yum Yum (2) might have the best one turn pedigree of the group, being sired by Dialed In out of a Wildcat Heir mare. New Farm has had lots of success with the Wildcat Heir sire line, and I like that she debuts with open company, instead of with New Jersey breds. Greg Sacco is an underrated trainer, and he sends out Wand of Power (6) who has been working out since March for her debut. Isaac Castillo hasn’t ridden often for him, but they are winning at 50% when they team up, with a strong ROI. Opening Night (5) debuts for Kelly Breen, who has had some success with two year olds already at this meet. He and Wayne Potts are the two trainers in this race that have a positive ROI with first time starters since 2020. I would have likely rated Jumeriah (1) a little higher had she not drawn the rail for her debut. She’s sired by Twirling Candy, who is proving to be a tremendous sire, and Carlos David is a very good trainer.
Race 2: Top Pick: 2 (Turf) / 3 (Dirt)
The Friday Pick-5 starts with a $30K-$25K maiden claiming race, carded for 1 Mile and 1/16 on the turf course. I’m going to try a bit of price play on the turf and use Larger Than Life (2) as my top pick. He debuted with $40K-$30K maiden claimers in June, looking a little sluggish early on, and running better later in the race. He moved up to maiden special weight company two weeks later in a race that was taken off the turf and he showed no interest. He’s sired by Temple City out of a Medaglia d’Oro mare, who was a multiple allowance winner over this turf course. Shaldag (3) is the one to beat here coming off a dull performance with maiden special weight foes at Churchill going 9 Furlongs. He cuts back and faces maiden claimers for the first time, which will be major class relief for him. He was a very good third in a maiden special weight race two back on the Louisiana Derby undercard at the Fair Grounds, beaten by an odds on favorite. I will completely be against Lumino (8) for Todd Pletcher here. He is a four year old that cost his owners 2.1 million dollars in 2018. He ran once at the meet with maiden special weight company. He was dismissed in the wagering that day, going off at 12-1, and he ran poorly, finishing 8th, beaten 13 lengths, never really showing interest. The drop in class, while being made available for a $30K purchase, tells you everything you need to know about this one.
On the main track, Shaldag ran well enough in New Orleans in his one start on the dirt, which came in an off the turf maiden special weight race. He should be very tough to beat at this level on either surface. Super Houdini (4) is another one that I’ll use on my ticket on the main track after finishing second at this level in a race that was taken off the turf last out. He’s been up against it from a pace standpoint in his last several tries, as he lacks early speed, and the pace has often been slow in front of him. I’m not sure that changes on the dirt today, but he looks to have an advantage over many of his other rivals.
Race 3: Top Pick: 1
This is a fairly wide open, multi-conditioned $5K claiming race going a mile on the main track. Starship Aramis (1) was well back with similar last out when he broke poorly, stumbling at the start and relegating him to the back of the field. He made a middle move to get within reach of the leaders before fading on the final turn. He’s typically a horse that runs best when he’s on or near the lead, and his bad break not only took him out of his game, but it also put him up against the pace scenario of the race. He had some very strong races at this two turn distance at Gulfstream West last year. He gets a rail draw in a race that is not loaded with speed, so he should control his trip today. Gio d’Oro (8) is the main danger, making his second start over this course and his first since joining the Wayne Potts barn. He was a respectable 4th against better last out, while sitting off the pace, which is not typically his game. Paco Lopez gets the call today, and will likely have him on or near the lead as well. Lolita Shivmangal has one winner with one starter at the meet, and that came with a longshot that was shipping in here from the NYRA circuit, Our American Star (R2, 7/4/21). She brings in Blugrascat’s Smile (3) today, who is dropping from four straight open claiming races at Belmont. His figures have regressed since being claimed for $8K in the winter at Aqueduct, but the open claiming races in New York are always tougher in the spring. He probably doesn’t have a chance in the open claiming races at Saratoga, but he does fit at this level. He hasn’t run a two turn race in a while, but he’s certainly had success in doing so in the past. Hardcore Folklore (7) burned a lot of money when finishing a lackluster 3rd here at this level in a four horse race last month. He never looked like a winner that day, and perhaps, running back in a week was not the right move for him. He makes his first start for Cody Axmaker today, and will likely be well-backed at the windows. I’ll play him if his price floats up, and I’ll cover with him on deeper multi-race tickets, but I can’t take another short price on him today.
Race 4: Top Pick: 3
The feature race is an optional $15K claiming/N1X allowance for New Jersey bred fillies and mares, sprinting 6 Furlongs. D’tiger Lily (3) looked like a much improved horse in her second career start, drawing off to beat a suspect maiden field by 7 lengths two weeks ago. She looked like a winner every step of the way that day. She’ll need to improve to beat winners for the first time, but she isn’t facing the saltiest group for the condition. She’s never seen a fast track in the afternoon, so there’s reason to believe that could help her case, as it’s likely the track will come up fast today. Joy’s Pride (5) is going to be the one to beat here, just missing at this level two back. She tried the turf in a two turn race last out, and came up a bit short. She wheels back in two weeks and gets back to the main track. She’s never won a dirt race in her career, so I’m not willing to take too short of a price on her. However, she’s in better form than most in this spot. Taffy Candy (4) was the morning line favorite in a race at this level when she was slated to face a better field. She scratched that day and worked swiftly on 7/5 instead, drilling a 5F bullet in 59:3. She had another strong work this past Sunday and should be set to make her seasonal debut today. Her debut win was visually striking, but the speed figures came back slow as she beat a weak group to break her maiden on debut last year. She has a high ceiling, but might be better next time out, after getting her first race of the season under her belt.
Race 5: Top Pick: 4 (Turf) / 5 (Dirt)
This is a tricky $12,500-$10,500 N3L claiming race on the turf, as the current form for many of these fillies and mares is not great. Regardless of the surface, I’ll want to have some coverage in this race. I ended up with Jaydine (4) as my top pick on the grass. She’s a four year old filly making her third start off the layoff today. She was dull in her seasonal debut in an off the turf race here, but she showed improvement with better fillies and mares when getting back on the turf at Delaware last out. She had a few very nice races on this course last year where she went gate to wire and she could be in a good spot to do that same against this group today. It was interesting to see Vladimir Cerin’s name show up as a trainer in the entries here, as he brings in Saburai (8) from Belmont Park. Her form is starting to decline a bit in her seven year old season, so the drop in class is logical, and she’s still better than many of these. She’s made six starts this year after being on the shelf for almost all of her six year old season. She hasn’t won a race in 2021, but she’s hasn’t turned in a poor effort either. Blame The Gods (9) may offer some value here after running poorly last out at Delaware. I’m willing to draw a line through that race since there are some horses that do not run well on that course. Two starts ago, she was competitive at long odds against $20K N3L claimers on the turf here. She ran her best career speed figure on a good course at Aqueduct, so perhaps she’d be one to upgrade if the course is listed as less than firm. Terpeye (6) has made only six of her 32 career races on the turf, and while she hasn’t won any of them, she has hit the board in four of those six races. She takes a slight drop in class while running for the cheapest level she’s ever competed at on the grass.
On the main track, Effimeister (5) becomes my top pick in her second race off the layoff. She was very keen in a six furlong sprint here last month, fading badly after showing a lot of early speed. She has limited two turn experience, but her one race that came off the turf at two turns at Tampa was excellent. Jaydine (4), Terpeye (6), and Saburai (8) have all ran races that could be competitive at this level if the race comes off the turf. I’d use all three on my tickets if they opt to stay in the race with a surface switch.
Race 6: Top Pick: 6
Seven fillies and mares compete in an $8K starter allowance/optional $16K claiming race. No one is entered for the tag in here and four of the seven entrants are making their first ever start at Monmouth Park. Free to Fly (6) is one of those four, as she ships in from Parx, after an excellent winter in South Florida. She has been first or second in eight races in 2021, winning five of them, including several similar races. Paco Lopez has won 6 of her last 7 races on her back and she comes back to him here where she looks like she is clearly the one to beat. There are a few horses that I’ll consider as savers on some deeper tickets. Chelsey Moysey is based at Delaware for the summer and she hasn’t had a starter at the meet here yet, but she has two entered in this race, War Ballad (4) and Skamania (5). Of that duo, I prefer Skamania, who is coming off a win at the $8K starter allowance level at Delaware in her most recent start. She’s been in good form since Moysey claimed her off of Robertino Diodoro at Oaklawn back in March, winning twice and finishing second in her other race. She meets a tough foe today directly to her outside, so she’ll be tested in her local debut. Brian Pedroza, who rode War Ballad to win last out, gets the call on Skamania, while Jose Ferrer ends up on War Ballad. Caramel Cream (3) may have the best closing kick in the group and could be the beneficiary of hot pace. There is some early speed signed on here, but there’s not many need the lead types. Regardless, she is cutting back from a two turn race to a sprint, and she would definitely be one to upgrade on a wet track.
Friday Pick-5 Play: $48.00 Ticket
Race 2: 2, 3 (Turf) / 3, 4 (Dirt)
Race 3: 1, 3, 7, 8
Race 4: 3, 4, 5
Race 5: 4, 6, 8, 9 (Turf) / 4, 5, 6, 8 (Dirt)
Race 6: 6
Meet Stats: 55/200 (Top Pick Winners) – $359.40 / $1.80 ROI per $2 win bet