There’s no Haskell hangover in Oceanport, New Jersey today as there’s a strong 12 race program that ends the racing week at Monmouth Park. There are a pair of nice turf races, the Jersey Girl Stakes and the 2nd leg of the Malouf Starter Series, both of which have drawn large fields. There’s also a pair of maiden special weight races for two year olds. The multi-race sequences are solid, as there’s some vulnerable favorites and some good opportunities to single some horses throughout the card.
Edit 7:45 AM: Heavy rains rolled through overnight and as a result, all races carded for the the turf, have been moved to the main track. I’ll post a few quick opinions on those races over the next hour.
Edit: 8:31 AM: I have added some opinions for the six races that were carded for the turf and changed to the main track. I have also updated the Win-Early Pick 5 play to reflect the change in surfaces for the three races in that sequence. Good luck playing this afternoon!
|DBL, PK3, PK5|
|2||6,8,9||2||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|DBL, PK3, PK6|
|8||5||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 1: Top Pick: 3 (Turf) / 2 (Dirt)
The first race of the day is a maiden special weight contest on the turf. Delaware invader Mohs (3) is going to be the one to beat after a strong effort in his turf debut, while facing a stronger field last time out. He hit the front after a decisive three wide move, but was just nailed at the wire. That was also his first two turn effort, so it’s realistic to think that he’ll be more fit today and can improve off a solid turf debut. Urban Warrior (5) is an interesting horse trying the turf for the first time after a series of sprints here and at Tampa. He’s sired by Temple City, so there’s reason to believe that he can be successful on the grass. He’s shown speed in sprint races, so he could get to the front end, especially if Exalted Charm (2) doesn’t take to the grass. He’s been gelded since his last start, but his connections have opted to keep him protected. He could be a sneaky longshot in this field.
On the main track, Exalted Charm has the advantage. He’s been facing tougher competition on dirt and should be able to control the pace. If Urban Warrior stays in and winds up forcing the pace, Mohs, is likely the be the benefactor.
Race 2: Top Pick: 8
Maiden two year olds go 5 and ½ Furlongs in the kickoff leg to the early Pick-4. This race oversubscribed, so the racing office split it into two divisions, with the second heat being run as race 6 on the card. Summer Ash (8) is a son of Frosted who has drawn a favorable outside post for his debut today. Claudio Gonzalez does very well with first time starters, winning 25% of the time. His works are competitive and the morning line odds of 12-1 suggest he may be overlooked in the wagering. He’s Got Jump (6) was second to Due Vini who showed up in the Grade 3 Sanford yesterday. He ran a very professional effort in his debut, coming within less a length of the winner at the wire. He’s very logical in this spot today. Ten Gauge (9) fired a strong bullet work here on 6/29, the fastest 4F work of 45 that day. He’s sired by Gun Runner out of an Empire Maker, so there’s reason to believe that he’ll get better as the races get longer. Asmussen had a two year old winner at Saratoga this week already, so his babies are doing well. In Due Time (2) has been installed as the morning line favorite while making his debut for Kelly Breen. This son of Not This Time has a very familiar workout pattern for Breen’s two year olds that have debuted thus far. I don’t love the inside draw for him, but he’s well bred and certainly is another one that looks live in a wide open race.
Race 3: Top Pick: 7 (Turf) / 10 (Dirt)
This is an evenly matched $30K-$25K multi-conditioned claiming race for fillies and mares going 1 Mile and 1/16 out of the chute on the turf. Five of the nine entered are three year old fillies, four of them having two wins, and the other four are older fillies or mares that have only won once. I think you could build a case for several here. I ended up making Positive Power (7) my top selection, as she is coming into this race off the claim, now running for Claudio Gonzalez, who wins at a significantly higher percentage than her former trainer. She was third as the beaten favorite last out when facing $16K-$14K claimers here. She was a little further behind than usual in the early stages and left herself a little too much work to do. She has only one win in 23 starts, so that’s never ideal for a top pick, but her turf form stacks up well here and the barn change may be enough to put her over the top. Freddymo Factor (6) comes in from Belmont for Mark Hennig after finishing 5th with similar in the slop when her last race was taken off the turf. Prior to that, she ran second three straight times with N2L claimers at Gulfstream, losing in photo finishes in two of those races. She’s second off the layoff and she appears to fit nicely with this group. Grey Charlotte (8) may be one of the better value plays in here. She’s one of the three year old fillies in this race, and she’s exiting a win at this level, upsetting a nice horse last out on the main track (Pink Shoelaces). She broke her maiden three starts ago on the turf with maiden claimers at Gulfstream. She’s in her third race off the layoff and goes back to two turns after a pair of sprints. I like the pattern leading up to this race for her. Speed Salsa (1) would be a horse that you’d think would be more apt to be a sprinter as she’s sired by Two Step Salsa out of a Big Drama mare. However, she’s been right there in her three career two turn turf tries, most recently finishing third, beaten less than a length at this level. She went off at 32-1 that day, and she’ll likely be nowhere near that number today, but she’s another one that is live in this wide open race.
On dirt, the main track only entrant, Mit Mazel (10) is going to be tough to beat. Her last two route races on the dirt were strong, where she controlled the pace early. She was a winner last out at Pimlico while in for the tag in an optional claiming/starter allowance race. This should be a softer field than what she saw last month. Grey Charlotte (8) will be the main danger as she’d be trying a two turn route on the dirt for the first time. She’s third off the layoff and coming off a pair of sprints before stretching out.
Race 4: Top Pick: 5
This is a tough $10K maiden claiming race, where twelve start maiden, Relator Danny D (2) is the 4-5 favorite on the morning line for Jose Delgado and Jose Ferrer. He was a distant second last out at this level when Curlin’s Thrill ran a monster race for the condition in his first ever dirt start. My concern with this one is that his sprint races are nowhere near as good as his two turn races. He’s been improving at routes on turf and dirt since joining Delgado’s barn, but his sprint form at Gulfstream was not good. He may win this race as the opposition is not the greatest, but I can’t endorse him on top at that number. I’ll use him in the multi-race exotics, but I’ll try Neptune’s Revenge (5) as my longshot top pick. He’s been beaten by double digit lengths in every career start, so you’ll have to get some value on this cleverly named son of Poseidon’s Warrior. However, his dirt sprints have been his best efforts. He dropped to this level for the first time while making his first start seven months last out. He showed some speed before fading to third, 13+ lengths behind the winner, and 2 and ¾ lengths behind second choice, Awesome Yet Again (3). He’s only caught a fast track once in his six race career, and he ran his best Beyer figure that day, so there’s reason to believe he can make a forward move at this level in his second start off the layoff. Wisecrack (1) is 0-38, which is a tough pill to swallow, however, he has moved to the Wayne Potts barn, which has won at a much higher percentage than his previous barn. He also drops to the lowest level in his career. There’s not a lot jumping off the page in this race, so I’ll include him as well.
Race 5: Top Pick: 8
If I can get out of the first four races in the Win-Early Pick 5, I will be singled to Valmont (8) in this race, shipping in from Belmont. He’s been outrunning his odds in some contentious, New York bred, optional claiming/allowance turf sprints in his last three starts. Shipping here and going to an open N1X allowance will be class relief for him. Most of the horses that Raymond Handal has shipped down here have been live. I think the change in scenery and drop in class will be enough to push him over the edge. Abe Honestly (7) intrigues me a little bit as he ran huge to beat four foes in maiden special weight company two weeks ago. His Beyer figure jumped 27 points from his previous start and 24 points from his career top, so he is definitely a bounce candidate, as he moves up in class and wheels back in only 14 days. However, he has never run a bad race in a turf sprint, and he’s only run four career races, so he may just be getting good. I’ll use him as a saver on some deeper tickets. I’m going to watch and see what happens with second choice, Bam Bam Blu (5). He hasn’t started in over two years and has only one race on the books since August of 2018. He was definitely fast when running for Jason Servis early in his career, but 25 months is a long time to be out of commission. I’m not sure how the public will react to him at the windows, but I’m willing to play against him, and simply shrug my shoulders if he beats me.
On the dirt, Unprecedented (1) could get the run of the race, sitting off the early speed of Breithorn (2), Bam Bam Blu (5), and R Boy Bode (6). He was a winner on the main track three starts ago at Gulfstream. Of the speedy trio, I prefer Breithorn who was a winner in the mud three starts ago at Parx. He just got caught late in an off the turf race last out.
Win-Early Pick 5 Play: $48.00 Ticket
Race 1: 3, 5 (Turf) / 2, 3 (Dirt)
Race 2: 2, 6, 8, 9
Race 3: 1, 6, 7, 8 / 8, 10 (Dirt)
Race 4: 1, 2, 5
Race 5: 8 (Turf) / 1, 2 (Dirt)
Race 6: Top Pick: 4
The second heat of the maiden special weight race for two year olds is another wide open contest. Forty Stripes (4) is bred to be quick, as he’s sired by Munnings out of a Forty Tales mare. New Farm and Jerry Hollendorfer sent out a well-meant first time starter on Friday (Miss Yum Yum), who came within a length of winning. She’s had a decent series of works and looks ready to go. Anthony Margotta sends out I’m Over U (9) who gets the benefit from an outside draw in her debut. She’s sired by Overanalyze out of a Henny Hughes mare, so there’s some speed and precocity there. She’s been working steadily since May and could offer some value in here. Deep Faith (8) was 3rd behind the eventual winner of the Bashford Manner, Double Thunder, in her debut here on June 5th. She came back 15 days later, and battled hard on the front end to finish a close third that day. Chuck Spina adds blinkers today in hopes of getting him to take another step forward. Act of Valor (1) draws the rail, which is not ideal for the morning line favorite. He, too, like his stablemate in the second race, has a familiar workout pattern for Kelly Breen’s two year olds. He certainly has a chance in this spot, but I’m thinking the value will lie elsewhere.
Race 7: The Jersey Girl Stakes; Top Pick: 1
The Jersey Shore-6 kicks off with the featured race of the day, the Jersey Girl Stakes for New Jersey bred fillies and mares going 1 Mile on the turf. This race seems to set up nicely for the two favorites. I’ll give the slight advantage to Diamond Play (1) with the rail draw over the morning line choice and defending champion, Bramble Bay (10). Diamond Play loves this local course winning five of eleven races here, and hitting the board in four other starts. She’s run solid efforts on the main track at this state bred stakes company, but her game is definitely on the turf. She ran some solid races at Gulfstream this spring, and is going to try to make amends for her dull effort in this race last year when lost all chance at the break. Bramble Bay was a decent third last out in her first start of the year at Belmont. She came within a length and three quarters of Chad Brown’s Kalifornia Queen, who finished second in the Grade 3 Matchmaker Stakes on yesterday’s blockbuster card. She rallied late to get up to win this race last year and, like her rival, she has run well on the course and at the distance.
On the main track, the top four finishers of the Smart And Classy Stakes last month finished within a length and a half of each other, and all are back in this race. Stay Smart (12) has the most upside in her second race off the layoff. She was in good form on this course last year and should have a forward move today. Diamond Play (1) is better on the turf, but she paired her Beyers in her last two dirt races. She was closing well late last out and should be rolling again in the stretch. Groovy Surprise (4) was the 5-1 winner of that race last out. She’ll likely be forwardly placed again today, and if some of the other speed scratches out, she’ll be dangerous to repeat on the front end.
Race 8: Top Pick: 5
Assuming the track is playing fairly, I’m all in on Nice of Me (5) in this $30K-$25K multi-conditioned claiming race that starts the late Pick-5. The two favorites, Don’t Losemymoney (1) and R Goodtime Charlie (6) are both speed oriented, and there is some other speed signed on as well. They are both exiting a starter allowance race exclusively for three year olds, where Don’t Losemymoney ran huge, dominating the field at 16-1, leaving R Goodtime Charlie 4 and ½ lengths behind as they crossed the wire. Speed wasn’t a bad thing to have that afternoon, and Don’t Losemymoney is going to have to prove that he can run that race again. He’s already been a successful claim for Patrick McBurney and RU Packing Stable, so I would think if they were confident that he could repeat that effort, he would have been entered in the optional claiming/N1X allowance on the card yesterday. Instead, he’s in this race for a $30K tag, which if he was claimed, would be 4.5 times the claiming price he was purchased for in May. R Goodtime Charlie is more consistent than Don’t Losemymoney, but he has a long string of on the board finishes that were not wins. Meanwhile, I think Nice of Me could sit the perfect trip, closing into a fast pace. He nearly pulled off the upset when he was defeated by Algebraic in June with $20K-$18K multi-conditioned claimers. He got up for second in a 5 Furlong, off the turf race at that condition last out, which was also won by Algebraic. The 5 Furlong distance is not ideal for him, so getting back to 6 Furlongs should help. He’s in his third race off the layoff and there’s a good chance that he could be the benefactor of a pace meltdown today.
Race 9: Top Pick: 8 (Turf) / 11 (Dirt)
The second leg of the Malouf Starter Series goes here at 1 Mile and 1/16 on the turf. Speaking of pace meltdown, Mid Day Image (7) and Abiding Star (8) created the biggest one of the meet thus far when they met in the first leg of this series. They dueled for the first 6 Furlongs of a one mile race, going 1:08:4 before both faded badly to finish 11th and 10th, respectively, when Belgrano (5) blew by them and drew off to win by 6 lengths, stopping the clock in a swift 1:33:4. Both jockeys, Hector Diaz and Paco Lopez have retained the mounts on both horses, so there’s reason to believe that tactics are going to have to have to change. Mid Day Image has shown the ability to rate, so I think Diaz will concede the lead to Paco Lopez on Abiding Star. If that scenario plays out, I think Abiding Star is going to be very tough to run down. There isn’t a ton of early speed to go with him and his game is all about running free on the front end. He hasn’t won in five starts on the course, which is a bit of a concern, however, this might be the time to play him and get some decent value on a horse that has 15 wins in 56 career starts. Pubilus Syrus (11) is an interesting new face to this series. He’s making his first start for Raymond Handal, who claimed him for $16K at Belmont, in a race where he won going a mile on the main track. He has ability on both surfaces. He’s in his second race off the layoff and could be a closing force in this race while getting back on the grass. He has run better races on the dirt of late, but his pedigree definitely leans to the turf. Bold Daddy (2) is making his first start since narrowly missing in the final leg of this series last year. He won the third leg of this series going 9 Furlongs in 2020, and has been proven to fire fresh. Belgrano ran a career top last time out, dominating at the mile distance, while getting a dream trip and set up. He loves the local course, but he starts to struggle as the distances get longer. He’s in good form, so I’ll cover with him, but I think there’s value in trying to beat him, as I am concerned about a bounce and the extra 1/16 of a mile.
16 entered this race including the also-eligibles, and some of them have decent efforts on the main track. However, the two that standout on the dirt are Pubilus Syrus (11) and Lookin At Roses (12). Pubilus Syrus has won five out his last seven dirt contests at Belmont and in Southern California. He’s never caught a wet track before, but there’s a good chance that the track will be dried out by post time of this race. Lookin At Roses was beaten by a salty allowance on the dirt at Parx last out, but prior to that he had won two straight. He has the versatility to adjust and sit near the pace if there isn’t much speed.
Race 10: Top Pick: 1
Royal Asset (1) feels like he’s strictly the one to beat in this multi-conditioned $5K claiming race. He was claimed by Jose Delgado at this level last out when he hopped at the break, leaving him much further off the pace than usual. He still rallied late to just miss as the beaten favorite that day. He’s been right there in his last two and he finds a softer field today with a suspect dropping horse who is the morning line favorite. I think he’ll get the job done today. Double Chubble (6) is the suspect dropper here who was just claimed for $15K out of a New Jersey bred optional claiming/allowance contest last month. Even though the financials can make sense if he wins and is claimed, I can’t imagine that this was the plan for this five year old gelding. I’ll cover with him on deeper tickets as there isn’t much depth to this field, but I think Royal Asset has the edge here.
Race 11: Top Pick: 10 (Turf) / 1 (Dirt)
$16K-$14K maiden claimers go 1 Mile and 1/16 to start the late daily double. I was a fan of Sea City (10) on the drop when he entered in a race at this condition, but scratched when it was taken off the turf. While I don’t love his outside draw at this distance, I’ll try him again on the drop as a horse that could offer some value in this sequence. He ran a decent effort in his first start off the layoff on this course, when facing $40K maiden claimers while coming off a year long layoff. He tried maiden special weight company eight days later at Belmont, going 10 Furlongs, and was overmatched that day. He’s been given a little more time and is making his third start off the layoff while getting noticeable class relief. I think he could be sitting on a career top effort today. Le Coste (8) returned at this level last out after a 13 month layoff, and he ran a solid effort to finish 2nd, gaining on the eventual winner late. He looked sharp getting back to the races, and there’s no reason to think he can’t duplicate that effort today. Drum and Drummer (7) was claimed by Mike Dini at this level last time out. He’s been close in three starts at this level, and figures to be close once again. I don’t love him in this spot as the favorite though, as I think others might offer better value. I’ll cover with him, but I’ll look to others to try to beat him.
This race becomes very difficult to figure on the man track. I’m not sure how many will hang around, and I wouldn’t be against hitting the all button, especially since there are singles on the dirt that I feel good using in the prior races. Lend America (1) came up with a big effort on the dirt at this level when his last race was washed off the turf. He has some other efforts that support that race. He’ll be the one to beat. Giovane’s Promise (4) may improve in his second race off the layoff. His debut on the main track at Tampa wasn’t bad. He got away slow in the same race that Lend America is coming out of, and he never really got comfortable. I expect the main track to be drier, and I think he’ll have a better shot today.
Race 12: Top Pick: 6
The get out race today is a five furlong dirt dash for multi-conditioned, $5K claiming race for fillies and mares. I think there’s two viable singles in the late Pick-5 sequence, so this feels like a spread race to me. Evan’s Nice Now (6) won a race that was decimated by scratches at this condition two starts ago. She was lone speed that day and she certainly looks to have the best early speed among this group here. Toss her last when she didn’t run a step with better and she fits well with these. When a Charles Town horse showed up in this race, I was thinking it would be a horse that excelled at their 4 and ½ Furlong races. However, Raelyn’s Star (7) has done her best work at the two turn sprints there. She was second in the slop last out at 7 Furlongs there, but had three straight wins prior to that. While I’m not sure about the distance for her, and I realize she will get a class test, she is coming from a barn that has been sharp at this meet, and she’s in better form than just about everyone else here. Ragtime Suzy (5) won gate to wire in the slop at this level last time out. There wasn’t much pace to contend with that day at 6 furlongs, and she cuts back in distance, which may not be ideal for her. However, there’s not a lot of depth here, and she still is a major player. On deeper tickets, Fiore (8) hasn’t been in the best form of late, but she likes the distance and she has a decent record at the track. Toss her last in the slop and she may have a forward move in her at long odds.
Meet Stats: 61/220 (Top Pick Winners) – $392.00 / $1.78 ROI per $2 win bet