Monmouth Park Racing Preview – 7/3/22 – By Eric Solomon

Sunday at Monmouth Park offers a ten race program, which is highlighted by the Boiling Springs Stakes for three year old fillies going 1 mile and 1/16. This race will serve as a prep for the Monmouth Oaks, which will be run four weeks from now. Isaac Castillo was the headliner from yesterday, winning with 6 of his 11 mounts on the afternoon. He continues to get live mounts and is now within six victories of Paco Lopez for first place in the jockey standings at this meet. First post for the Sunday card is 12:15 (ET).


I’ll be covering the Monmouth Park meet for the second straight 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 1 1 2 DBL, PK5
2 1 1 3 DBL, PK3, PK4
3 5 5 DBL, PK3
4 4 1,4,5,7 DBL, PK3
5 6 5,6 7 DBL, PK3, PK6
6 4 1,4 3 DBL, PK3, PK5
7 7 7,8,13 (AE) 1 DBL, PK3, PK4
8 7 6,7 DBL, PK3
9 1 1 7 3,4 DBL
10 1 1 4,7



Race 1:

Sunday racing gets underway with a conditioned $16K-$14K claiming race for three year olds and upward, going 1 mile and 1/16 on the main track. All six entrants in the race are three year olds and two of the six have won more than once in their careers. Icy Storm (#1) is one of them, looking to win his third straight race while working his way up the class ladder. Even though he’s running for a higher claiming tag, I think the field he beat going one mile at Parx last month was stronger than this group. He passed the two turn test on dirt last out, and he continues to improve for Felix Flores-Coba. Vision Board (#2) appears to be the main danger, making his first start off the Jose D’Angelo claim. He broke his maiden last November at Aqueduct when beating state bred $40K maiden claimers. He was a game 4th with open $20K-$16K claimers at Gulfstream in his last start, when going the one turn mile. He’s sired by Mineshat out of a Flower Alley mare, so I’m thinking two turns on the dirt will be a favorable trip for him. I’m going to ride with this duo while playing against Sunsanddrinkinhand (#5), who scratched out of a race on Friday in favor of this spot. He’s dropping in class after two dull efforts. His maiden score in a sprint was strong, but his last two tries don’t inspire much confidence. 

Race 2:

$7,500-$6,500 N3L claimers go 1 mile and 1/16 on the main track in this race. Claudio Gonzalez has had some success with Maryland invaders at this meet, most recently sending out Pop Pop Susi to victory on Friday. He sends out Bakeneko (#1) today, fresh off a dominating victory at Laurel with $5K N2L claimers. He’s a tapit gelding out of a Tale of the Cat mare who didn’t debut until his five year old season. Gonzalez must have seen something in the morning with him because he claimed him for $25K out of his debut, where he didn’t run a step. After missing most of the spring and all of the summer last year, he started to improve in Maryland during the fall, breaking his maiden at the $25K maiden claiming level when going a one turn mile in December. He ran okay in a starter allowance race three back, but was dull at Pimlico two starts ago. That effort prompted Gonzalez to drop him considerably in class. He was rewarded with a big effort while not losing him via claim. This is not a deep field for his first foray into the N3L ranks. I’m not convinced in the other short prices in this race, so I’ll look to cover my bases with Beatthatflew (#3), in hopes that he can get back on track in this race. His three starts at Belmont last spring would all likely be good enough to beat this group. However, his last three starts since those races have been abysmal. He showed some speed last out when making his first start for Bonnie Lucas and his first start since December. If he has anything left to offer, this would likely be the spot where he’ll show it. 

Race 3:

We transition to the turf for the first time today with this $12,500 starter allowance race for three year olds and up going 1 mile and 1/16. I don’t see anyone in this race putting any serious pressure on Mid Day Image (#5) on the front end, which is likely to make life very difficult for his seven rivals. He’s a ten time winner that has banked over $280K in his career. He’s three races removed from running a triple digit Beyer Speed Figure when clearing the N1X condition at Gulfstream. He struggled in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes in his next start, but I don’t see him as a horse that wants to go that far. He was cooked in a pace duel in the Cliff Hanger Stakes in his most recent start. He rebounded nicely off a similar effort last season and I think he’s a prime candidate to do so again today. My hope is that Outrageous Bet (#6) and Bode’s Maker (#7) take some money in here to create a modicum of value of this runner that towers over this field on his best day. 

Race 4:

We move back to the main track for this optional $12,500 claiming/$6,250 starter allowance for fillies and mares. Free to Fly (#1) is an 18 time winner coming off a dominating performance at this level last out. Paco Lopez is back to ride her, so on the surface it seems like all systems are go for this six year old mare. However, she’s going to be under pressure along the rail in this race and her speed figures have been declining a bit in a her last few starts. She’ll be a short price and is a must use on the multi-race tickets, but while the condition stays the same, I think the competition is deeper today. I ended up trying Lady Munnings (#4) on top, hoping that she can outsprint the favorite and hold off the back markers. She’s shown glimpses that she’s getting back to her 2021 form this year, and if she can, she’ll be a tough cookie to catch. She as claimed by Elisha Perez two back, who has won with 30% of her starters in 2022. Diva Banker (#5) is progressing nicely over the last three starts. She beat a tougher group last out while getting a dream trip and pace scenario. It will be interesting if she’s at the peak of her form cycle or if she’s still getting there. Capturini (#7) is not without a chance here, making her first start off the Jerry Hollendorfer claim. Her form lines are spotty, but she won by open lengths in her last start at this distance. She’s certainly eligible to make a forward move here. 

Race 5:

We’re back on grass with a $20K starter allowance race for fillies and mares that have also never won twice. Empires First Lady (#6) has scratched out of two straight starts, over the last week or two of racing. She didn’t draw in off the AE list Friday, but she’s back again today. Her grass starts are consistently solid, most recently finishing third with conditioned claimers. She was pace compromised that day, but she still got a heads up ride from Panaijo to be able to hit the board. Golden Rocket (#5) starts in the stall next door. He makes his first start since being claimed from Mike Dini last month. Patricia Farro takes over the training, and has opted to keep her protected. She’s a three year old filly, so there certainly could be some upside here, Luli’s Dancer (#7) moves up in class after a pair of solid turf efforts at this meet. She struggled in her first turf start, but that was a race that felt like everything went wrong. Since then, she has a pair of seconds and a maiden score to her credit. She’s another live runner at the back end of this sequence.

WIN-EARLY PIck-5: $24 Ticket

I think the first few races could wind up being fairly chakly and formful. It’s hard to look past the classy Mid Day Image (#5, R3) in the middle of this sequence. He should own the battle to the front end, and I don’t think there’s anyone that is talented enough to catch him if he’s looking along the front end. Since the first three legs feel chalky, we can afford to cast a wider net through the back end here, taking four runners in the 4th and three in the 5th in hopes of landing a bit off price to spice up the ticket.

Race 6:

New Jersey breds go 1 mile and 70 yards in this optional $15K claiming/N1X allowance race. There are several stretch out sprinters here, and I’m not convinced many of them want to go this far. That should set things up nicely for Royal Coup (#4), who has crossed the finish line first in his last two starts. He was a winner at the N1X state bred allowance level in his last start in May, but he was disqualified from purse money after the race. He remains eligible for this condition, and is in some of the better form in his career as a seven year old. Lib’s Contento (#1) is stretching out, going two turns for the fourth time in his career. He ran a big race two weeks ago when sprinting, closing well to get into third, beaten less than a length. He’s had some excuses in some of his lackluster efforts in two turn races, so he’s one that I think could handle the added distance today. Cash Kid (#3) is a four year old that could have some upside in this race. He broke his maiden two starts back when making his 17th career start. He faced winners in open $25K starter allowance company last month and ran a decent 4th. He looks like a horse that is starting to figure some things out, and unlike some of the other shorter prices in this race, he has a proven track record at two turns.

Race 7:

As maiden special weight races on the grass go at this meet, this one lacks some of the depth of the others so far. The heavy favorite will be Street Vendor (#8) who has been based at Monmouth for Todd Pletcher and is set to make his three year old debut. He ran three solid races in New York to start his career, never finishing worse than two lengths behind the winner. He’s been on the sidelines since November and has been gelded since his last start. Paco Lopez aboard certainly doesn’t hurt his chances, but it will likely decrease his wagering value. He’s probably the horse that is most likely to win this race, but I’ll take a chance with Equaljusticeforall (#7) who should be able to run on the grass for the first time today. Joan Milne had intended to run this son of Constitution on turf in both of his career starts, but the weather never cooperated. He debuted last July in the slop and didn’t run much, but he showed improvement last month at this level in the mud. While his pedigree doesn’t scream turf, there are definite grass influences on both sides. I’m expecting an improved effort in his second start off the layoff which would give this longshot a chance in this race. Timo (#13) will need a defection to make it into the body of the field, but he is the first one in off the also-eligible list. He’s locally based for Jonathon Thomas, who has great numbers with first time starters, especially when going longer distances on grass. He’s sired by Temple City out of a Lohnro mare and he has a nice foundation of works for his debut. If he does draw in, it’s not uncommon for those horses to be overlooked in the wagering, so the value could be there for him today. On deeper tickets, I’ll add Hellman (#1), making his first start off the Jose Sanchez claim. Hollendorfer dropped him to the maiden claiming ranks last month, where he finished second at this distance. The winner of that race, Beau Brown, ran a huge race, especially for that level of competition. He certainly seemed to get over the course well, so there’s reason to believe that he can back up that performance while facing tougher foes. 

Race 8: The $100K Boiling Springs Stakes

Seven three year old fillies are looking to punch their tickets to the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks at the end of the month. This race, run at 1 mile and 70 yards, will serve as the local prep for the $250K contest. Morning Matcha (#5) would have been the pick here, but she was cross-entered in the Delaware Oaks yesterday, where she ran and  finished 3rd. Even prior to her defecting, both Green Up (#6) and Radio Days (#7) were going to take the bulk of the attention at the windows, and of that duo, I think Radio Days is more desirable. She’s trained by Shug McGaughey, who has already notched three stakes winners at the meet. She tried two turns for the first time in the Black Eyed Susan in her last start and she was rolling home late after being toward the back of the field in the early stages. Lasix is added today in what seems like a reasonable spot for her to make her next start. Green Up is trying two turns for the first time today, and she’ll likely be closer to the pace than the other two contenders. There’s not a lot of early speed here, which should favor her. She’s won her last two races at Gulfstream by open lengths, and now makes her first start since April. She’s sired by Upstart out of a Two Punch mare, which definitely is more of a one turn pedigree. She may be able to exploit the lack of pace in here though. 

Race 9:

The late double consists of a pair of solid N1X allowance races. This one is a 5 and ½ furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares, three year olds and upward. There are a pair of maiden winners that are likely to grab the headlines in this race. However, I liked the effort from Woohoo Jackie Blue (#1) in her turf debut at the end of May. She shipped here from Oaklawn where she ran three solid races over the winter and spring. She was claimed by Lindsay Schultz, who had a nice winner on the card yesterday,  for $50K two starts back. She tried this Jack Milton filly on the grass and she closed well at this level, gaining ground while running in between horses to finish 3rd. Insatiable (#7) is one of the two horses that won on debut last out. She beat a solid maiden special weight field while coming from off the pace. I appreciate when a horse making their first start is able to pass horses to get the win. The red hot Isaac Castillo has ridden four of the nine horses in the body of the field and he opts to be on her. Band Sweetheart (#3) is a longer priced horse in this race, and deservedly so, as she only has one win in 24 career tries. However, she struggled at Tampa over the winter, but only ran on turf twice there. She ran some big races at this distance on this course last season that would get her very close with these. She makes a lot of sense underneath here. Teen Drama (#4) is another one that I’ll use as a saver. She was impressive when winning in gate to wire fashion with $25K maiden claimers at the end of May. She drew off to win by six lengths, and while she didn’t beat much, she did it in style, stopping the clock in a very quick 55:3 for the five furlongs. This is a big step up in class and the added ½ furlong is a question mark, however, there isn’t a ton of early speed here. If her odds float up a little, I’d be more inclined to use her. 

Race 10:

The nightcap is another N1X allowance race for fillies and mares, this one at 1 mile and 70 yards on the main track. The two main figures in this race were cross-entered in stakes races yesterday at Delaware, but Frippet (#1) scratched out of the Delaware Oaks and Tap the Faith (#7) defected from the Christiana Stakes, apparently in favor of this spot. Frippet is the one they’ll have to beat. Jonathan Thomas opts to take the more conservative route and race her here instead of in stakes company. She’s hit the board in all four career starts, breaking through in an off the turf maiden special weight race on this oval in May. That was her first try at two turns on the main track, and she handled it well, going to the front and never looking back. She can likely carve out a similar trip here with her rail draw. I’m not as bullish on Tap the Faith though. She was bred to be a runner, sired by Tapit out of the Grade 1 winning mare, Embellish the Lace. She beat both I’m a Chatterbox and Curalina in the 2015 Alabama Stakes at long odds. The connections of Tap the Faith paid $1.25 million for her at the Keeneland September Sale of 2020. However, she has yet to look the part on the racetrack in the afternoon. She did win her debut in November, and wasn’t awful when finishing 5th in the Demoiselle. She has caught sloppy tracks in her first two starts of the year on the NYRA circuit, running in one turn routes both times. The two turns could be the key for her, but she’s drawn widest of all here. I think she could improve, and this race may set her up for a 9 furlong allowance race at Saratoga, which may be right up her alley. I’ll cover with her, but I prefer the top choice. I Can Run (#4) is a filly that may be a little longer price in this race, but I think she has some definite upside. She decimated a field of state bred N1X allowance foes in her last start back in May. She moves the open N1X level after acing her first two turn test. Claudio Gonzalez has been red hot here over the last few days and he’ll be looking to extend his lead in the training standings with her. 


Meet Statistics:

Top Pick Winners: 58/206 (28.2%) – $497.30/ $2.41 ROI


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