The Saturday card at Monmouth Park is an 11 race affair, highlighted by the Tyro Stakes for two year olds sprinting five furlongs on the turf. Horses that last ran at Belmont, Saratoga, Churchill, Gulfstream, Santa Anita, and Monmouth all converge for this early season stakes race. There was some rain forecasted overnight, but a sunny, warm, and dry afternoon should be in the cards in Oceanport, New Jersey. First post for the Saturday afternoon program 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||6||6||2,4||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|2||2||2,4||6||1||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|6||5||3,5||1,8||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|7||7||7||6,11||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|8||6||6||2||10||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|9||13 (AE)/4||4,6,13||7,9||DBL, PK3|
We’ll get things started with a six horse maiden special weight race going 1 mile and 70 yards on the main track. Despite being carded for three year olds and up, only three year olds are entered here. Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher are both represented with a runner in this spot, and while I wanted to try to beat them here, I’m not really coming up with anything for the other four runners that would make me think they’re going to be able to get the job done. Triple Elvis (#6) is the Chad Brown runner that breaks from the outside stall. He’ll be trying two turns for the first time in his five race career this afternoon, while making his second start off the layoff. He ran into next out graded stakes winner, Major General in his career debut back in August at Saratoga when he finished 5th. After that, he ran a pair of better races while sprinting at Belmont in the fall, finishing second both times. He was off from November to June, where he came back with a dull effort, also at Belmont. Pedigree wise, he certainly checks all the boxes. The sire is Into Mischief, who continues to be one of the best sires in racing at the moment. The dam is Night and Day, who foaled the graded stakes winner on turf, Made You Look. Her dam was the champion filly, Serena’s Song, who had one of her biggest career wins on this oval in the 1995 Haskell. His speed should be the key today. Loose Goose (#4) is the Pletcher entrant who was second to his stablemate, Commandperformance three weeks ago at this level. He was making his first start off a layoff that afternoon and his first dirt route. His figures dramatically improved while chasing home a graded stakes placed maiden. My concern with him is that he doesn’t have the speed to go with Triple Elvis early, and there isn’t much other early speed for that stretch out sprinter to contend with. I feel there’s a good chance that he winds up chasing him around the track today. I’ll use him on deeper tickets since Triple Elvis is routing for the first time. As a saver, I’d also consider throwing in Strasbourg (#2). Trainer Jorge Delgado has had very good numbers over the last five years with horses running in their second race off a layoff, boasting a 23% strike rate. However, his numbers drop off considerably when running horses at the maiden special weight condition. This one was about nine lengths behind Loose Goose last out, but he did concede a lot of ground in the early stages that day. He does get post relief here though. With the smaller field, he’ll likely be third choice, and I’m not sure the odds disparity between him and Loose Goose will be wide enough to get the value I’d want on him.
Seven runners are entered here in this $40K-$30K maiden claiming contest for three year olds and up going six furlongs. I do wonder if Jorge Duarte had any regrets entering Crack the Code in the previous race instead of this race. He was second at this level last out and this field came up fairly weak for this condition. Three runners are exiting a $25K-$20K maiden claiming race here at the beginning of the month. Amity Road (#6) ran well in that race when getting back on the dirt after a two race turf experiment. His three dirt sprints are solid efforts and a reprea of those tries might be enough to beat this group. However, he’ll likely be one of the shorter prices and his trainer has only a 5% win rate over the last five years. Deep Faith (#1) was third in that race, and probably has the best track record with early speed in this group. However, he’s moving up in class and has yet to be able to hold a lead in nine starts. I’ll try a few of the unproven runners here, making Fatherofthebrides (#2) my top pick. He debuted here at the end of the meet with a ten horse maiden special weight field. He showed some early interest, but wound up stumbling on the turf and falling over. He came back three months later in December at Penn National and showed little interest that day. He’s been working well over the last month on this oval and drops in class in a race that looks to restart his career after a tough two races get things going. Louis Linder has become a very good trainer over at Parx, and he sends out My Gal Val (#4) for the first time. This New York bred son of Brody’s Cause ran twice for George Weaver at Belmont, once on dirt and once on turf. He was never close in either race there when facing fellow Empire Breds. He’s worked three times at Parx and likely shows up here today because there isn’t a suitable spot for him to run there this week before they take their three week summer vacation. Linder’s numbers with new acquisitions and runners starting with 61-180 days rest are both over 20% since 2021. He’s hit with 36% (4-11) of his new runners that are running off that kind of layoff, winning most recently with Parable at Parx in February.
The first turf race of the day is a N1X allowance race for fillies and mares at 5 and ½ furlongs. I’m looking for Teen Drama (#6) to rebound in this spot today. I was surprised that the public made her the favorite at this level last out, facing winners for the first time. She dominated a field of $30K-$25K maiden claimers in her only prior start. She made a miserable journey in that race when pressing the pace early. She was forced to slam on the brakes when Insatiable stumbled and lost the rider. Once she regrouped, the riderless horse then carried her out into the middle of the course, forcing her to last place. I was pleased with the way she finished despite losing all chance after the incident. I think it’s completely fair to draw a line through that race, and give her a shot here, where I believe she’ll go into the starting gate as the third or fourth choice in the wagering. Insatiable is back at this level after a solid effort last time out in the Blue Sparkler Stakes. She ran back 13 days after falling, looking no worse for wear that day. The winner of that race, Benbang, is a nice filly with a bright future, who got an excellent trip. Hector Diaz got to know her that day and he gets the return call, filling in for Isaac Castillo, who remains sidelined after his falling off this runner earlier in the month. Silky Blue (#10) leaves New York for the first time after facing New York breds for the majority of her career/ She cleared the state bred N2X condition last fall at Belmont when going seven furlongs on the turf. She makes her third start off the layoff today while cutting back to 5 and ½ furlongs. I think she’ll attract a decent amount of attention at the windows, but I do worry this trip might be a little short for her.
Maiden special weight runners dash 5 and ½ furlongs on the main track here. I see this as a wide open race, where Frosted Faith (#1) shipping in from Gulfstream is likely to take the bulk of the wagering attention. He is coming off some solid races in maiden optional claiming company at Gulfstream. Since he’s a Florida bred, he was entered with the waiver in those races. He’s been sidelined since February and Anthony Margotta struggles with horses off this kind of layoff. His last winner that made their first start in the 61-180 day range came in December 2020, and that winner came with exactly 61 days between starts. He has the best early speed and he may be faster than these, but I’m going to try to beat him at short odds, thinking that he might need this one. Our Pride N Joy (#3) is coming off a very gutsy effort after nearly blowing up the toteboard at 52-1 last month at this level. He was making his first start in over a year that afternoon, and he overcame a less than ideal trip as well. He blew out three furlongs in his last work, suggesting that he’s on his toes for this one. Tie Breaker (#5) is the lone runner making their first start today. The dam has foaled four winners, three of them winning on debut. Jose Sanchez has decent numbers overall, but his numbers do drop off in maiden special weight races. Golden Wildcat (#6) ships over from Parx, getting a race in here before they take a three week hiatus across the river. I thought he showed a lot of tenacity in his debut, fighting hard once he was headed. He was pinballed around through the stretch and was 4th, beaten less than a length. He is moving up in class from maiden claiming company though. This isn’t the strongest field for the condition though and his trainer, Ernesto Padilla-Preciado has a win in three starts when making this move over the last two years.
Race 5: The $100K Tyro Stakes:
The featured race for two year olds sprinting five furlongs on the turf drew a field of seven runners with horses that last ran at six different racetracks. I’ll take the Belmont invader, Power Attack (#1) on top for Kent Sweezey. He ran a credible race in his debut which was taken off the turf. He came a month later to face a field of ten New York bred runners and he was able to lead them gate to wire that afternoon. He opened up at the top of the stretch to lead by four lengths and ended up being a handy winner. Vargas will need to be aggressive from the rail, but I like his chances moving back into open company today. You don’t see too many Southern California invaders make their way across the country for a $100K stakes race, but that is the case for Doug O’Neill and his two year old maiden winner, Sharp Aza Tack (#6). He’s a Sharp Azteca colt, and the first one from his freshman crop to win in a turf sprint. Like Power Attack, he was a gate to wire winner, setting some spicy fractions early on. He’s been on the East Coast for a few weeks now, working three times at Keeneland since his maiden victory. He’s working well, and perhaps this is a step to see if he’s worthy of competing at the lucrative Kentucky Downs meet in September. On deeper tickets, I’d give consideration to Bart’s Dream (#5) coming up from Gulfstream for Jose D’Angelo. He raced on synthetic when making his debut last month. He’s the only runner that has proven that he can win when coming from off the pace. I’m not sure that style is ideal for this course at this distance, but showing that he can pass horses to win a race is a plus for a young runner.
WIN-EARLY PICK-5: $36 Ticket:
I’m going to single early on with this ticket, under the belief that Chad Brown’s Triple Elvis (#6, R1) can take the group gate to wire in his two turn debut. He’s bred to be a good runner, and there are several talented relatives in his bloodlines. Plus I do believe he’ll be second choice behind a Todd Pletcher runner that was chasing his stablemate the whole way around the track last time out. I feel like the favorites are vulnerable in the second and fourth races, which could help increase the value on this ticket.
While this race is carded for New Jersey bred fillies and mares, only three year old fillies have entered this contest which will be decided at six furlongs. I think that the first time starters in this race are going to take a lot of action at the windows. The morning line favorite is Punk Rock Girl (#3) for Kelly Breen and Jose Ferrer. Her sire, Lord Nelson, sired a debut winner here last weekend (Shiny Slam). The barn has done well with debut runners, winning with 19% of their first time starters that were three years old or older. She’s definitely one that I want to cover on multi-race bets, but I fear that she’ll be overbet in this race. I’ll Lassie’s Notion (#5) on top here after showing significant improvement in her last race at this level. Apprentice Andy Hernandez continues to ride aggressively at this meet, and he put her on the lead last out. After showing speed and fading in her first four tries, she showed more tenacity in that race, digging in late and battling back to lose by two lengths. On deeper tickets, Twyla (#1) makes her second career start for Cesareo Marquez today. She was wide at this level in the same 6-26 race that Lassie’s Notion was third in. She’ll get the services for apprentice Yabriel Ramos, who will be riding just his 4th race on this oval. I see this one as being overlooked in the wagering, but she won’t have to improve that much to have an impact here. Sadie Baby (#8) is the other first time starter that I’ll use. Patrick McBurney hasn’t won with a debut runner in over two years, but he has had three winners in the last five years. All three of those winners were here and two of them came at this state bred maiden special weight level. While I think she has a chance in this wide open race, she might be better suited for grass down the line.
The Late Pick-5 starts with a conditioned $16K-$14K claiming race going one mile on the turf. If Comedic Timing (#7) winds up going off at or near his 12-1 morning line price, I’m going to take a chance with him, routing on turf for the first time. The dam of this runner, Madame Du Lac, does nothing but throw winners. Her foals have won at a 22% clip in turf routes, all but one of them has at least one win in a turf route (that runner broke their maiden in a route on the synthetic surface at Turfway). He’s a half to multiple Grade 1 winner, Divisidero, who was a graded stakes winner on this course at this one mile trip. He makes her second start off the layoff and his first since being claimed out of a $10K maiden claiming race that he won. His lone start on the turf came in his debut here last year when going 5 and ½ furlongs, He was a beaten 5th that day, but he had trouble at the start and at also turning for home. Ludo (#6) is a three year old gelding making his first start since joining Claudio Gonzalez’s stable. He was third at this level last out behind a runaway winner when breaking from post 10. He’s run credible races, while often finding some form of trouble. He’s eligible to improve, assuming he can get things to fall his way. Tetragrammaton (#11) is the 2-1 morning line favorite here, but he’s going to have to overcome his wide post to get the job done today. He came up just short at Parx 11 days ago as the favorite in an optional claiming/starter allowance race there. He has a decent amount of speed, which should help him secure a decent position, but he might have to be used hard to get that spot. Horses coming from off the pace have had a fair shot when the rails are at this 12 foot position, so he’ll have to save something for the stretch run.
Fillies and mares sprint six furlongs in this conditioned $5K claiming race. Nothins Free (#6) was claimed after a dull effort at this level last out, moving from a 6% barn to a 14% barn (Juan Avila). She’s been in dull form of late, but she ran races at the end of 2021 that would dominate this field. When she was running in those races, she was running for a higher percentage trainer. She appears to have the best early speed in the field and she gets a significant rider upgrade to Samy Camacho today after being ridden by a rider that hasn’t won a race in several years. There’s enough positive trends to take a chance on this mare, especially if she goes off at or around her 10-1 morning line figure. Starship Reina (#2) is another mare that is making her first start off the claim. She’s been running for a lower percentage trainer in her last several starts, and she hasn’t hit the board in over a year. As a nine year old mare, I’m not sure how much improvement can be expected, but her effort two back with better would like to get her pretty close with this group. I’m not in love with two of the shorter priced runners, Seahawk Lisa (#7) and Seeds of TIme (#9), so on deeper tickets, I’ll try Salamina (#10), making her first start in two months. She’s had a few sharp works in the interim and drops in class to the lowest level yet in her 14 race career. She won twice last year at Laurel and is coming off a credible effort in her local debut at the end of May.
We’re back on the turf with a $12,500-$10,500 N3L claiming race going one mile. This is a wide open contest where there’s a lot of speed signed on. There’s also some talent that is on the outside looking in, while stuck on the AE list. If Grecian Pharoah (#13) does get to compete, he makes a ton of sense on the class drop. He’s shipping in from Belmont after finishing in the middle of the pack with $35K N3L claimers there. He was very competitive at Laurel in 2021 when facing $16K N2L claimers on the turf, winning at that level back in October. He’ll likely be a little further off the pace, so he’ll need to get a trip. However, I think the table will be set for him. Skillful (#4) would be the top pick if Grecian Pharoah is forced to defect. He has more tactical speed, so he’s a candidate to get first run on the front runners. He has a win and a third place finish in two career turf starts and he hasn’t finished off the board in his last eight starts. Bakeneko (#6) could be a runner that gets overlooked in this spot today. Most of his career races have been on the dirt, but his lone turf start was sharp last fall at Laurel. He was claimed off of Claudio Gonzalez by Jose D’Angelo, who has hit with 29% of his horses in their first start off the claim. He has done this turf to dirt move first off the claim 12 times in the last three years. Two of those runners (17%) were winners and 50% of those horses hit the board. Spark (#9) is a logical player that will likely go into the starting gate as the favorite. This Peruvian bred makes his third start off the layoff and his third start since running for Michelle Hemingway. He drops in class after a second place finish here last month. He looks like a horse that wants to be forwardly placed though, so I do worry about what kind of trip he’s going to get here. Candy Kingdom (#7) was third in that same race two starts back. He’s a horse that is likely better suited to underneath in the exotics. However, I do think he’ll get a sharp pace to close into.
New Jersey bred fillies and mares go six furlongs in this optional $30K claiming/N2X allowance race. Trying to figure out the pace scenario in this spot is tricky as several of these runners want to be forwardly placed, but many have also shown the ability to rate off a hot tempo. I think the three best runners in this spot are Roselba (#4), Mia’s Crusade (#6), and Jersey Jewel (#7). Of the three, I made the three year old filly, Mia’s Crusade the top pick. She’s coming off a solid performance with open N1X allowance foes three weeks ago. She ran poorly at this level two back, but her rebound effort last out suggests to me that she’s improving. Jersey Jewel switches barns after a pair of subpar efforts to start her 2022 campaign. She just missed in the Eleven North Stakes here last year, and a solid effort today would set her up to run back in that race next month. Roselba might be better sprinting on the turf, but she’s definitely capable on the main track. Sher might be the most likely pacesetter here, and if the track continues to be kind to front end speed, she’ll be tough here.
Conditioned $30K-$25K claimers go 1 mile and 1/16 on the turf to wrap up the Saturday afternoon program. I’m looking for a strong effort from Willy Mc (#3) while getting back on the turf for the first time since his debut. He’s improved over his last two starts since joining Jose Camejo’s barn. Camejo sent out a $22 winner last weekend on the grass with a newer acquisition. Catch the Smoke who beat him last out came back a winner in his last start. He makes his third start off the layoff and looks like a tough customer in the nightcap. Harpoon Harry (#9) comes back to the grass after a pair of subpar efforts on the main track. His effort three back against a significantly better field at Tampa was strong enough to be a major contender with this group. He’s never run on the turf at a level this low. Supply Chain (#6) makes his first start off the Jeffrey Englehart claim. He was claimed for $30K last out at Belmont when going seven furlongs. He ran well in his first two races, breaking his maiden at Tampa and running a strong 6th in a loaded N1X allowance at Keeneland. His two efforts at Belmont were not very good, but they were at one turn. The two turn efforts were sharp, so there’s that. However, Englehart has been ice cold at this meet, and the fact that Brown gave up on this one so quickly are things that definitely concern me. With mixed signals, I’ll be waiting to see what the price might be on this one but I’ll likely make sure to be covered to him in the multi-race wagers. .
Top Pick Winners:81/304 (26.6%) – $644.90/ $2.12 ROI