Make sure you’re up early for the thirteen race Saturday program, which is highlighted by The Irish War Cry stakes for New Jersey breds. There’s a $30,373 carryover going in the Win-Early Pick-5 pool, which kicks off at 12:15 in the afternoon. That sequence is tough, but definitely playable, especially with free money seeded into the pool. The Saturday forecast is beautiful with high temperatures around 80 degrees and sunny skies.
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|2||3||1,5||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|6||1,5||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|8||2||7||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|9||5||8,9||4,6||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|10||3,4,9||8||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 1: Top Pick: 7
Maiden special weight horses, three year olds and up, sprint 5 and ½ Furlongs on the turf in the Saturday opener. Aktham (7) should finally get the chance to compete on the turf for the first time after running second in three consecutive off the turf races. He’s sired by Candy Ride out of a Munnings mare, and he has decent tactical speed, so he certainly could be a quality turf sprinter. He was a $435K purchase at the Keeneland September sale back in 2018, and while I’m not sure he’s ever going to being living up to that hype, I do think he can take a decent step forward while getting on the turf. High Limit Room (4) is another one that has a pedigree to be successful sprinting on the turf. He’s sired by the speedy Kantharos out of a Stormy Atlantic mare. He made two starts in 2020, one on dirt and the other on a yielding turf course at Laurel. He definitely looked much more comfortable on the turf, finishing third, beaten less than two lengths that day. He’s been working well for Jose Camejo and could definitely be a player today if he can fire off the bench. Jerry’s Turn (8) tries a one turn sprint for the second time in his seven race career. His three turf races are definitely better than his four dirt efforts, so I like to see Timothy Hills getting him back on the grass. He adds blinkers and cuts back in distance from a pair of two turn efforts. Second time starter, Noble Cross (10) chased home Abe Honestly, who was dominating when breaking his maiden that day. There wasn’t much else in that race in terms of competition, so I’m a little skeptical of that effort. He will likely be well backed in here, and I will want to make sure I’ve covered him on my tickets, but I’ll be trying to beat him.
Race 2: Top Pick: 3
If Awesome Anywhere (3) runs the race that he has run in his last six races on fast tracks, I don’t think the other five can beat this seven year gelding. He was favored in the Mr. Prospector Stakes last out in May on this course when the track came up sloppy. He retreated early and finished last of six that day. However, his last poor start prior to that came in the mud at Oaklawn, and he rebounded nicely in his next start. He drops in class and is in for the $25K in this optional claiming/N2X allowance sprint today. I can’t fault those trying to beat him, thinking that he is trending downward, however, I think he’s better than his rivals today, and he makes a lot of sense as a short priced single. On some deeper tickets, I’ll use both Sagamore Mischief (1) and Seanow (5) as savers. Of the two, I slightly prefer Seanow, as he has shown a new dimension to his game lately, looking more comfortable rating off the early pace instead of being a need the lead type. He cleared the N1X condition last out at Delaware and has won three of his last four. Sagamore Mischief is also coming off a win at the N1X allowance level and both the second and third place finishers out of that race came back to win in their next starts. However, he’ll need to prove that he can run two big races in a row. Plus I feel he took advantage of a speed favoring track at 5 and ½ Furlongs that day. He does like this course though, having never run a bad race locally.
Race 3: Top Pick: 7
This is a two turn $10K maiden claiming race for fillies and mares at one mile. I’m going to break one of my rules and make Horseshoe Falls (7) my top pick, despite the fact that she’ll be a short priced horse trying something new for the first time. She makes her third start this month on this oval and she’s dropping from the $25K maiden claiming level, after finishing last of six two weeks ago in her first career dirt race. She’s trained by Wayne Potts, who is winning at 23% at the current meet, and he has good numbers with horses stretching out to routes from sprints. I believe she’ll be successful tackling two turns at this level today. Lady Normandy (2) will be the main danger, also making her first try at two turns. She was improving with New York breds this spring at the NYRA tracks, but she has gone off form in her last two. Perhaps, stretching out to two turns will help her ration her early speed. She shouldn’t have a ton of pace pressure here, and running half that’s close to 50 seconds while on the front end isn’t out of the question for her. Upper Speed Ds (1) crossed the wire first at this level at Tampa three starts ago, but was disqualified and placed second. She has been dull in her last two starts in Florida, going two turns at Tampa and one turn at Gulfstream. She makes her first local start, and while her current form is not great, she is the only proven commodity at the distance. If the stretch out sprinters are losing steam in the stretch, she could be the one to pick up the pieces.
Race 4: Top Pick: 1
Consistency is not a hallmark for many of the entrants in this $7,500-$6,500 N3L claiming contest. Mebs Web (1) takes a big drop in class after finishing third with $20K N3L claimers here last month. She was a winner at Aqueduct back in March with $16K N2L claimers, but has struggled with better horses at this N3L condition. Her speed figures are fairly consistent, whereas there are many in here have been up and down. My Blonde Mary (2) may be the filly that is on the upswing in this race. She was a solid second at this level last month, coming within a length of pulling the upset at 7-1. That was a career top figure for her, but it was not too big of a leap to expect a bounce. She’s been first or second in three of her last four starts, and she’s run well in both of her local tries. Tuff Bird (5) dropped to this level last out after two dismal starts where she went really went off form. She showed a little more life last out, when finishing 3rd in the same race that My Blonde Mary came out of. Since that start, she’s been moved to the Jose Delgado barn. He takes off the blinkers and keeps her at this level. I fear her price with the barn change might be a little too short for my liking in this race, but if her odds creep up, she’ll be more enticing to me.
Race 5: Top Pick: 7
I’m going to roll the dice with a longshot play here in this $30K-$25K multi-conditioned claiming race. Money and Honey (7) will need to improve to win, but I think this three year old filly has some upside and should offer some decent value, starting off at 20-1 on the morning line. She was a winner three races back, breaking her maiden at Tampa in March with maiden special weight horses. She has struggled in her first two tries against winners while facing tougher fields. Isaac Castillo, who has been riding very well at this meet, returns to ride for Rafael Schistl. Blinkers go on for the first time, which could help her take that next step forward. Both of these factors are positives in my book, especially after re-watching her last effort in allowance company. She broke well, but was not aggressively ridden, so she lost ground on the bend onto the main course and was wide again going into the turn, before she was guided closer to the rail halfway on the turn. She finished with some interest on the good course there, but could have benefitted from being pushed a little harder in the earlier stages. Exact (9) was a dominating winner in an off the turf race with $16K-$14K claimers two weeks ago. She was claimed off of Pletcher that day and makes her first start for Douglas Nunn today. She’s never been off the board in four turf starts, winning two of those four races. She is the deserving favorite in this spot as she may better on turf than dirt. Speed Salsa (3) has no early speed, but she has a sprinter’s pedigree, and one that could factor in a turf race. She’s sired by Two Step Salsa out of a Big Drama mare, so you’d think she’d be better at one turn. However, her best races have been at two turn on the grass. She still could pull the upset as a closing sprinter on turf if she can stay in contact with the field in the first quarter. Cinque Amore (2) might be the quickest in the early stages of this race. She broke her maiden two back with maiden allowance company at Penn National. She struggled a bit here last out, facing winners for the first time on a good course. Perhaps dryer ground will be the key to getting her back on track.
Win Early Pick-5 Play: $72.00 Ticket
Race 1: 4, 7, 8, 10
Race 2: 3
Race 3: 1, 2, 7
Race 4: 1, 2, 5
Race 5: 2, 3, 7, 9
Race 6: Top Pick: 1
Since there’s 13 races today, Monmouth offers a mid-card Pick-4 that starts with this New Jersey bred maiden special weight for fillies and mares, three years old and upward. Only six are entered here and on paper, it looks like a match race between the two favorites, Sunnyridge Jamie (1) and Pomtini (5). I’ll give the slight nod to Sunnyridge Jamie who lost second by a neck to Pomtini last out. I think her ability to show early speed will give Sunnyridge Jamie the advantage here. She fought with D’tiger Lily, who cleared the state bred N1X allowance condition in her next start, for the lead last out and eventually gave way as that one was too good. She showed improvement from start one to start two and finds a very soft field for start three. Pomtini is definitely capable, but she needs to get away from the gate cleanly. She’s been slow to go in her first two tries. That definitely left her with too much work to do last time to come close to the winner. She is second off the layoff today, so there is reason to expect some improvement.
Race 7: Top Pick: 6
Some familiar rivals square off again in a $12,500-$10,500 open claiming race on the grass for fillies and mares, three and up. A race at this condition was carded three weeks ago, but was rained off the turf. Several in here still ran that day and are back today where they should be going on their preferred surface. There’s not much separating the top four horses on the morning line, so to me, this race is going to come down to pace. I think the rider and horse that could affect the outcome of this race is Carlos Montalvo aboard U Know I Be Lion (1). This horse hasn’t shown enough yet to make me believe she can win at this level, but she is a pace factor here. She drew outside of Omnia (2) in the 7/3 race and dueled her with her early while two wide. She fell apart late, as Omnia kept finding on the rail. If she can show the same speed on turf, she can keep Omnia off the rail, where she’ll have to work harder to win again at this level. If she doesn’t employ the same tactics, or if her early foot isn’t as sharp on the turf, Omnia should wind up with an easy early lead, which should make her very tough to run down late. I’ll lean to the first scenario being the more likely outcome, which could be advantageous for Towa (6), who faltered as the favorite on the main track at this level last out. Jose Ferrer takes over on this five year old Goldencents mare, who runs her best races when she’s able to sit off the early leaders. She’s been knocking on the door at this level, and will be dangerous if Ferrer can get her to relax off the leaders. The threat for Omnia to wire is still there and she’s shown that she’s capable of winning back to back races in her career, so I definitely think she’s one to use here as well. She’s proven that she can still fight hard in the stretch, even if she’s softened up on the front end. Lucy’s Town (7) is the new face to this level as she’s taking a decent drop in class out of the $22K-$18K claiming level. She is probably the most pace dependent horse in the race, so she’s definitely counting on Montalvo to force the issue early. She was 5th in a merry-go-round race last time out, where she was squeezed back at the start, however, she hasn’t shown an early speed in her last several races, so I don’t think that affected her that much. Miss Jen (5) may be more on an underneath horse in this race, as she’s very consistent on the grass. She did beat Towa three back at Gulfstream, but at this point in her career, her ceiling isn’t quite as high as some of the others. She’ll need a lot to break her way to finish first, but she should also be in thick of it when they turn for home.
Race 8: Top Pick: 2
The Jersey Shore 6 starts with this $8K-$7K N4L claiming race at 1 Mile and 70 yards on the main track. This is the 4th time this race has been carded at the meet, and Plato (3) has burned money in the first three of those races. He’s the co-second choice here and one that will not be on my multi-race tickets, as I think this race is definitely tougher than his last two races where he was sent to post as the heavy favorite. He had a big runner up effort three back in the slop, narrowly missing to Brice, who was a next out winner, however, his regular efforts seem a cut below what the top pair are capable of. I think Mr. Who (2) has the pace edge here and is likely to take this field gate to wire. He’s been facing better on the grass in his last two, where he hasn’t been able to use his tactical early foot to his advantage. He cleared the N3L condition on the main track three back, going gate to wire and getting the better of Trappeze Artist (7) that day. Mr. Who had the pace and post advantage that day and he has the same edges today. I was confused when I saw Trappeze Artist entered in a N1X allowance on the turf last week, in the race that kicked off the Haskell Card. He is in great form, so I don’t have an issue with taking a swing at that level, however, he’s definitely proven to be more effective on the main track. I’m expecting a better effort, switching back to his preferred surface, but he’s running for a lower percentage barn, and he cedes some advantages to horse that was a little bit better when they last met.
Race 9: The Irish War Cry Stakes; Top Pick: 5
The late pick-5 kicks off with the Irish War Cry Stakes, a race for New Jersey breds, named in honor of one of the more successful New Jersey breds in recent history. He was the winner of the 2017 Wood Memorial and the runner up in the Belmont that year. He went on to win the 2018 Pimlico Special in the second to last start of his career. While Irish War Cry was best known for his dirt wins, this race goes at 1 Mile on the turf. I think the pace could be hot in this race, which should set things up nicely for He’spuregold (5) who got up to break his maiden in his first try when dropping to state bred company. He’s run well when facing some very nice horses in open maiden special weight company, including eventual stakes winners, Annex and Kentucky Pharoah. He makes his third start of the meet and his third start since being moved to the Kelly Breen barn. I think he’ll be finishing fastest of all here. Prendimi (9) is a little interesting in his second start off the layoff, and going to the turf for the second time in his career. He was eased up in his only other turf race, which came against an open field of optional claiming/allowance horses in 2019. The course had some moisture in it that day and he was drawn wide in a race where they went hard early, and he couldn’t keep up. The course should be firm today and Paco Lopez, who rode both Kratos (6) and Quiberon Bay (8) in their last starts, ends up on this one. There’s other speed signed on, but don’t be surprised if Paco sends this veteran hard early, and then gets him to relax and slow the pace down in the second quarter. From there, it would be a question of if he likes the turf or not, as he’s shown that he can be a force at this level of competition on the dirt. Quiberon Bay beat some nice horses to clear the open N1X allowance condition here last week, changing tactics to get up in the final strides. Joan Milne has wheeled him back off quick rest before, most recently in September when he came back in eight days to finish a decent third in a state bred handicap race on the grass the week after narrowly missing at the state bred N1X allowance level. Ferrin Peterson, who had ridden him before, comes back aboard, as it’s likely that Lopez had previously committed to ride Prendimi. Kratos is listed as having no rider, however, according to the most recent DRF Formulator PP’s, Ferrer will get the call as both Stefano (1) and Optic Way (2) may have already been declared out of this race. (Kratos was cross-entered in a state bred maiden special weight race on Sunday where he was installed as the 4-5 favorite). Don’t be shocked if longshot Passport (4) outruns his long odds in this spot. He may be better suited to be slotted underneath in the vertical exotics, but he should get a solid pass to set up his late kick. He has run well in open company at Parx when the pace has been lively. Kratos makes only his third career start and is still a maiden, but he’s been very game in defeat both times. He gave He’spuregold a true fight in the stretch when he was lone speed in their maiden special weight race last month. There should be more pace competition today which will make this a more complicated race for this lightly raced son of Tamarkuz. I’ll save him for the deepest tickets if he opts to race today.
Race 10: Top Pick: 9
Some of the $10K maiden claiming races at this meet have been pretty weak, but as this condition goes, this five furlong dash drew a decent and competitive field. I was all in on Chispita (9) last month, when she was the 7-5 post time favorite with $12,500-$10,500 maiden claimers here. However, she ducked out and lost the rider at the break. I made her a horse to watch, and I wrote about her for the ITM newsletter, thinking that she could be dangerous coming back at this level, and drawing an outside post. I think the far outside post is beneficial, although, I would prefer a 5 and ½ or 6 Furlong trip for her. She does have two sharp dirt efforts at Gulfstream, and if she runs one of those races today, she’ll likely graduate. Lolita Shivmangal brings in Honorable Dreams (4) who is getting significant class relief, shipping in from state bred maiden claiming races on the NYRA circuit. Blinkers are going for the first time today, which could be a plus for her at this short distance. Brooklyn Tale (3) has been second in her two career starts at this level, one going six furlongs, and her most recent start, going one mile. Cutting back to five furlongs feels a little short, but she’s proven already that she’s a competitor. On deeper tickets, I think there’s value in using Chubby Warrior (8) making her second career start. She debuted in maiden special weight company, when D’tiger Lily dominated in the mud. That one was a next out winner and it would be a surprise if one of the runner ups from that race, Pomtini or Sunnyridge Jamie, didn’t graduate from the maiden allowance ranks earlier in the card. She drops into open maiden claiming and should get a fast track for the first time. Hey Chub is an underrated New Jersey bred sire, and she could be worth a shot at 20-1 (ML) or better.
Race 11: Top Pick: 10
The last Pick-3 of the day starts with a N1X for fillies and mares sprinting 5 and ½ Furlongs on the turf. Strongerthanuknow (10) might offer some solid value as she’s 10-1 on the morning line and I think she has a decent shot in this race. If you draw a line through her two Belmont races where she folded up badly after contesting lively paces on the front end going 6 Furlongs, she has progressed nicely while sprinting on the turf. She was finished 3rd and was placed second when she tried the turf for the first time while still a maiden in the Colleen Stakes here in 2019. She broke her maiden two starts later in June 2020, beating New York bred maiden special weight horses at Belmont. She was well beaten in her next two before running a much better race here last out. She’s now third off the layoff and she should be getting back on a firm course. She draws the outside post where she might be able to throw down the gauntlet and lead all the way in this spot. Hera (2) is going to be the main danger as she’s cutting back to a sprint for the first time in a while. She is bred to be a sprinter and has a solid effort last year going 5 Furlongs at Gulfstream. She’ll need to work out a trip, and I’d like to get better value than her 3-1 morning line figure, however, she is dangerous in this spot. Pretti Tricki (9) is 20-1 on the morning line, but I don’t think there is that big of a gap between her and some of the shorter priced horses here. She was dull last out, but she’s a horse that has needed a few starts to find her best stride. She’s in her third race off the layoff for Rory Huston, and she has a few efforts on this course that would get her very close with these.
Race 12: Top Pick: 7
This race is carded for horse that haven’t won a race in the last six months, running with a $12,500-$10,500 tag. However, races where horses have entered with a claiming tag of $8K or less do not count toward the time restriction. As a result, several of these horses are coming into to this race in good form. This race goes through the favorite, Zitman (7), shipping in from Parx for Jamie Ness. He was a dominating 9+ length winner with $5K N2Y claimers four stats ago. Since then, he hasn’t won, but he’s been right there against some decent fields in Philadelphia. He has run well in five career starts on this oval, winning twice, and hitting the board in two other tries. He has won 11 times in his 57 race career. Here Comes Doc (8) fits the time restriction, and he hasn’t won in a while. However, he has been facing tougher competition. He ships in from New York and drops in class, which has been a good angle for Wayne Potts’ horses throughout the meet. He closed well to finish second at the one turn, 8.5 Furlong trip at Belmont last out when facing open $20K claimers. Relishment (2) has hit the board in his last four starts, winning two of them with easier competition. He’s also won five of his last 11 starts, so he’s definitely in god form as he tackles tougher here. He has a post advantage over the top pick, and was a decent second with time restricted $8K claimers last out.
Race 13: Top Pick: 10
The nightcap is a multi-conditioned $16K-$14K claiming race on the grass, going one mile. This is a wide open race where two of the shorter prices, Red Sorrell (8) and Big Perm (11) after often close, but rarely win. (Do note that Big Perm has cross-entered in a race on Sunday). I’ll use both on deeper tickets, and I’ll try to cover them as much as possible in hope being alive to as many contenders as possible in this last leg, however, I prefer some of the prices in this spot. Kathleen O’Connell sends out both Curlee Fox (10) and Hachacha (4) and I think both have a shot here. Curlee Fox is my top pick, as he looks versatile breaking his maiden two back near the front, but closing well to come from last to be a close 4th in his first try against winners last time out. He’s been away since May 1st and makes his first start of this meet. O’Connell does very well with horses of these short layoffs, winning 24% of the time over the last 19 months. Hachacha should improve while coming back to the turf. Toss his last on the dirt where he chased and came up absolutely empty on the main track. He showed some life while facing open three year old claimers this spring in Florida. He should sit a decent trip, not far off the early pace and from there, it’s simply a question of if she is good enough. Candy Kingdom (6) ran a big race here two back on the grass, coming within less than a length of pulling off the 45-1 upset. He followed that effort up with a respectable second place finish on the main track in an off the turf race at this level. He likes the mile distance, only finishing off the board once in five career starts at the distance. He could be overlooked with these once again.
Meet Stats: 67/237 (Top Pick Winners) – $430.60 / $1.82 ROI per $2 win bet
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