Monmouth Park Racing Preview – 7/4/21 – By Eric Solomon

Happy Independence Day! The forecast for the Jersey Shore is better today after some rainy days where the races were taken off the turf and transferred to the main track. While the weather should be dry today, I’m not sure exactly how much rain fell in Oceanport, NJ over the past few days. I’ll remain cautiously optimistic that they’ll be back on the grass today, but I have handicapped the five grass races for both turf and dirt. The holiday Sunday card is highlighted by the John J. Reilly stakes for the three year olds and up at 6 Furlongs. It should be an exciting renewal of this race as the top three finishers from 2020 are back for more in 2021.

Race A B C Exotics Menu
1 3,7 6 DBL, PK3, PK5
2 3,5 DBL, PK3, PK4
3 Turf: 8

Dirt: 10



4 2 4 DBL, PK3
5 Turf: 3,7

Dirt: 9



6 2 5 4 DBL, PK3
7 Turf: 3,4,7

Dirt: 6,8



8 1 5,6 DBL, PK3, PK5
9 Turf: 4

Dirt: 3,4



10 3,6,7 9 DBL, PK3
11 Turf: 5

Dirt: 10



12 5,6,7






Race 1: Top Pick: 7

Plato (6) disappointed as a 2-5 favorite at this $8K-$7K N4L condition last month, turning in a dull second place, beaten 8 lengths by one of the longer shots on the board that day. I believe he’ll be a short price again, and while I’ll cover with him in the multi-race exotics, I think he’s worth playing against, as it’s been over a year since his last win, and he’s never finished first in a two turn race in his 28 race career. I’ll look to his outside and try House Arrest (7) on top. This four year old gelding has three wins in four starts on this oval. His one off the board finish was when he drew post 11 in a strong optional claiming/N1X allowance race last year that was won by a nice horse, West Will Power. That one was an allowance winner this year at Keeneland and was recently 4th in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile. This level of competition is a far cry from that. He makes his first start since February and could be dangerous if he can secure a good spot on or near the lead, without having to be used to hard from his outside post. Rudy Rodriguez brings in Gio d’Oro (3) from Belmont after a dull try with open $12,500 claimers there. This will be lowest level of competition he’s faced in his career as he gets back to racing at two turns. He does have a two turn win a few years back at Aqueduct.


Race 2: Top Pick: 5

There’s not a ton of true contenders in this multi-conditioned $12,500-$10,500 claiming race at 6 Furlongs. I’ll try Rack Gin (5) on top while coming from Parx. He was a respectable third with similar at 7 Furlongs last out when making his first start outside of Florida. He has some good races at Gulfstream in his past that, if he can run back to, he’ll be very tough at this level here. He might be more effective at slightly longer one turn races, but there isn’t a ton of talent for him to deal with today. The main threat is going to be Stretch The Truth (3) as he has the best early speed of the group. He faded late in his local debut in the slop on opening weekend here when facing better. He drops a level in class and shouldn’t have much real competition for the early lead. If he isn’t pushed too hard, he’s going to be hard to run down.


Race 3: Top Pick: 8 (Turf) / 10 (Dirt)

Maiden fillies and mares, run with an $18K-$16K claiming tag sprint in this race which is carded for the turf. I liked the turf debut for Charliv (8) at Pimlico last out when facing better. She was making her first grass start for Mike Trombetta and her first start in three months when she sprinted five furlongs last month. It took her a few strides to get comfortable, but when she did, she ran into good position, and stayed on well late to be 5th, beaten 4 and ½ lengths when being forced to steady in the late stages. That interference didn’t cost her a win, but might have cost her a placing. She drops in class and goes to 5 and ½ furlongs, which should be advantageous. Ob La Di (6) will be making her turf debut for Derek Ryan, who has a good record with turf sprinters. Her pedigree doesn’t scream turf, but she’s one of only a few that have early speed in this race. She’s coming in from state bred maiden claiming in New York, which is comparable to this field.

If this race is moved to the main track, the main track only entrant, Practically Dizzy (10) will be the one to beat. She has two dirt races and two turf races in her four race resumè. Her two dirt race races are definitely better than the turf starts. She closed along the rail to get up for second with better two weeks ago. I’d also include Ob La Di in my plays on the dirt. She’s had five dirt starts, and while her recent form isn’t the best, she’s changed barns and has a strong effort three back that would play very well at this level.


Race 4: Top Pick: 2

This is a multi-conditioned, $16K-$14K claiming race for fillies and mares going 5 and ½ Furlongs on the main track. The morning line favorite, Nora Radd (2) looks awfully tough in the spot, as she was a winner at this identical condition last out. She’s the only two-time winner in this eight horse field, and she appears to have the best early speed in a field where there are many speed and fade types. She is also sent out by the leading trainer, Jose Delgado, who employs the meet’s leading rider, Jose Ferrer. It’s been difficult this week to close from the back of the pack, but if this race falls apart on the front end, the most likely candidate to pick up the pieces would be Melancholy Blues (4). She was claimed by Tony Wilson for Happy Tenth Stable in December at Tampa. She ran her best career race in her second race off the claim there, rallying to be get third behind a hot tempo with three year old fillies at the open $25K claiming level. She was dull with considerably better in her last start back in March. She’s been given three and a half months off, and she may need this race before we see a better effort from her. However, she’s pretty much the only horse in this field that has shown the ability to pass horses, so she’s definitely one to consider underneath on the vertical tickets.


Race 5: Top Pick: 7 (Turf) / 9 (Dirt)

Eight plus a main track only horse are entered in this multi-conditioned $30K-$25K claiming race, carded for 1 Mile and 1/16 on the turf. All eight horses on the turf qualify under the N2L condition. Service With Honor (7) is lightly raced, running only three times in his career. He sprinted twice on the main track before trying the turf last out, and running a solid race, finishing 4th after setting the pace. He’s sired by Treasure Beach, so it’s reasonable to think that he’ll continue to progress on the grass. He should be more fit after getting a race under his belt at two turns on any surface. He definitely has more upside than anyone in this group. Fly Fly Away (3) is shipping up from Gulfstream and has been installed at the morning line favorite here. He’s been strong on the front end in his last two starts with $20K N2L company in South Florida. I think the fields he saw in his last few starts were better than the group he’s up against today. He’s coming off a three month layoff, which has been a profitable angle for Carvajal’s horses over the last 18 months.

On the main track, the MTO horse, American Fleet (9) has a definite advantage here. He’s been facing straight three year olds in Delaware and Maryland on the main track, running against better fields. He drops in class after a dull try with optional claiming/allowance foes last out. Jamie Ness hasn’t started a ton of horses at this meet, but the runners that have come here have been live. Jeffery Englehart claimed It’s Mandatory (6) last out for $16K and he moves him up the class ladder for this race. He rallied to get third in an off the turf race in the slop on opening weekend here. He looked like he was struggling with the track in the early stages of that race, not loving the mud in his face. He still gathered himself and got up for third that day. If this race comes off the turf, I suspect the main track would be drying out, so I think he’d be able to rebound off his last. Service With Honor ran very well in his debut on the dirt, before struggling a bit second time out in the slop on this oval. I think he’s also playable on a track that is rated better than sloppy.


Win-Early Pick-5 Ticket: ($24 Ticket – Turf / $36 Ticket Dirt)

Race 1: 3, 6, 7

Race 2: 3, 5

Race 3: 6, 8 (Turf) / 6, 10 (Dirt)

Race 4: 2, 4

Race 5: 3, 7 (Turf) / 6, 7, 9 (Dirt)


Race 6: Top Pick: 2

This optional $30K claiming/N2X allowance contest is definitely one of the better races on the card. One of my favorite New York bred horses, T Loves a Fight (2) makes a rare appearance outside of New York, and I think he’s found a spot to finally clear this open N2X allowance condition. This aptly named gelding is as honest as they come, winning 11 times in 52 career starts and earning over $684,000 in his career. He hasn’t won since a very successful season in 2019, but it’s not like he’s running poor races. He’s lost his last two at Belmont by less than a length, and he find a race where he gets a great pace set up, with very quick horses to his inside and outside. I think he’ll run by them all in the stretch. Foolish Ghost (5) is exiting a very strong race at this level at Parx last out where the winner, former Grade 1 winner, Still Having Fun, stopped the clock at 1:08:4 for the 6 Furlongs. I don’t really get caught up in final times, and the track was playing a little but quick that day, but regardless, that was a big race in a strong field. I think he’s likely to win the pace battle on the front end, as I’m not convinced the Wesley Ward horse, Fire Sword (1) is ready for this level of competition. Horses on or near the front end have been doing well here over the last two weeks, and while I think he’ll win the early battle, I’m not completely sold he’ll be winning the war. Croatian (4) is one to consider on deeper tickets. He’s been primarily a two turn horse, but he’s looking to rebound after a poor effort in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile last out. He made his seasonal debut in a 5 and ½ Furlong sprint at Oaklawn against a strong group, and he rallied late to get up for third, while running a big race. He’s 0-2 at this distance, but he’ll likely get a good pace set up here, and could be worth including if his odds float above his 7-2 morning line figure.


Race 7: Top Pick: 4 (Turf) / 8 (Dirt)

The Jersey Shore 6 starts here with a maiden special weight for three year olds and up carded for 5 and ½ Furlongs on the turf. There’s not a lot of turf form to go of off here, so I’m looking at two of the first time starters to have an impact. I made the Colts Neck firster, Spun and Won (4) my top pick, as I like the pedigree, Hard Spun out of Rahy mare. He’s worked ok on the main track at the Colts Neck Stables training track. This barn can certainly win with first time starters and with turf sprinters. Noble Cross (3) is the other firster who caught my eye, as he’s definitely bred to be a turf horse (Noble Mission out of a Cape Cross mare). Paco Lopez hasn’t ridden many horses for John Stephens, but he takes this mount here. Of the horses trying the turf for the first time, Ruffy (7) may have the best pedigree to succeed in a turf sprint. He’s sired by Outwork out of a Henny Hughes mare. He appears to be the fastest horse in the field from the gate, so if he takes to the surface, he may be able to run them off their feet. Abe Honestly (1) is the only horse with turf experience in the field, finishing third in two consecutive turf sprints at this level. I suspect someone is capable of stepping up to run a race that would be better than his last two efforts, but I’ll cover with him, knowing that he can handle the assignment.

On the main track, I think Reckless Place (8) is going to be tough to beat. He was 6th beaten double digits at this level last out against a much sharper field that what he’ll be up against today. He closed well in the slop to be second by a narrow margin two back on this course. I think he can take a forward move here. King of the Nile (6) makes his first start since being gelded and moved into the Jerry Hollendorfer barn. He’s worked well on the main track here since a troubled trip in his last race at Oaklawn in March. The form from that race has certainly held up as the top two finishers came back to win their next start. I’ll use Spun and Won on the main track as well, as his dam was a two time winner on the dirt, and Hard Spun’s horses, much like him, tend to be able to run on anything. I’ll also upgrade Comedic Timing (5) making his first start for Greg Sacco. Red Oak Stable paid $360K for him at the Keeneland Spetmeber Sale in 2019, so there are definitely expectations. Sacco is quite good with first time starters, but I trust his firsters on dirt much more than his firsters on turf.


Race 8: Top Pick: 1

Multi-conditioned $5K claimers go 6 Furlongs in the opening leg of the Late Pick-5. I think the seven year old veteran gelding, Jersey Joe B (1) has a very live shot in this race. He was claimed last month when making his first start this level in four months. He was part of a pace duel that was ultimately won by Batterbatterswing, who ran a monster race that day. Rail speed has not been a bad thing the last few weeks on this oval, and there doesn’t really appear to be anyone that is quick enough or really interested in going with him early. Royal Asset (6) has raced twice at this condition at this meet and is back more today. He has tactical early speed that had him too close to the hot pace in the Batterbatterswing race two back. He was close while wide last out while going with a slower pace. He went off at 11-10 and disappointed his backers last out. He’s at 7-2 on the morning line, so you’ll likely get a better price today if you think he can sit the right trip. Artithmetic (5) is a bit of an X-factor in this race to me. He takes a big drop in class while cutting back in distance and running on the dirt for only the second time in his nine race career. He was eased three back and hasn’t been within the same zip code of the winner in his last two, so the current form leaves something to be desired. His lone dirt try wasn’t a bad effort in allowance company at seven furlongs in an off the turf race last summer. The speed figure he earned that day certainly fits here.


Race 9: Top Pick: 4 (Turf or Dirt)

The late Pick-4 starts off with an optional $15K claiming/N1X allowance contest for New Jersey bred fillies and mares, scheduled to run one mile on the turf. I thought Joy’s Pride (4) was live when she was entered Friday at this level in a 6 Furlong sprint on the main track. However, she scratched out of that race in favor of this grass race, where I also see her having a big chance. She has two career turf starts, and her second try was the best she’s ever run, beating state bred maiden special weight foes by open lengths. She tried getting back on the turf two other times, but both of those races were transferred to the main track. She’s now in her third race off the layoff after running her two best dirt races. I think she’s eligible to take a decent step forward here. The big question for this race will be if the stretch out sprinter, Dealer’s Girl (1) can get the distance. She’s playable at her morning line figure of 4-1, but I fear those odds may float down as her human connections, Kent Sweezy and Jose Ferrer, have been faring quite well of late. She’s fast enough to clear a field at 5 Furlongs on the turf, so it’s hard to imagine her not being on the lead going into the first turn. At seven years old, she’ll be making her first ever try at two turns on any surface. Postino’s Idol (6) is often a bridesmaid, but rarely a bride kind of horse. She has three career wins in 45 starts, but she has been second thirteen times and third another six times. She was running some strong races in starter handicap races this winter at Tampa and she cleared this condition back in September when she last set foot on this course.

On the dirt, I feel Joy’s Pride will be able to get the distance and run a race that would make her a win candidate for this level. She’s gotten herself in top form for her career, so I think it’s fair to expect a big effort, regardless of surface. Boomerang Miss (3) has been dull in her first two starts of 2021, but could move up if this race comes off the turf. She may be losing a step at eight years old, but she is still playable after running a few nice races in races that were taken off the turf. Beatubyachubinose (7) was an improbable winner at this level two starts ago, dominating that field by 8 lengths. She ran gamely to be 4th in a slow edition of the Smart N Classy Handicap here last week.  I’m not sure what version of her will show up today, but I presume that the better version is more likely to come out on the dirt.


Race 10: The John J. Reilly Stakes: Top Pick: 7

The featured race this afternoon is a 6 Furlong sprint for New Jersey breds. The top three finishers from last year’s edition of this race, Royal Urn (3), Prendimi (6), and Golden Brown (7) are all back today. What makes this race so tricky is that there really isn’t a lot of early speed signed on, so that should benefit Prendimi if he’s fit enough. He has the best consistent early speed in the field when he is right, but, his last three efforts have been far from his best. I’ll definitely use him, but I’m leaning toward Golden Brown as my top pick. He’s definitely known for a being a better two turn horse, and his biggest career win came on the turf in the Grade 3 Kent Stakes. However, he’s never finished off the board in four tries at this 6 Furlong distance. Draw a line through his last with open company on the dirt at Delaware, and he fits very nicely in here. Royal Urn is the reigning champion of this race, and he’ll likely be favored to win it again. He was dull in the Mr. Prospector in the slop on opening weekend when facing open company, however, he was making his first start in three months. He’s also never won in six tries on an off track, with only one third place finish in that group of races. If the track is fast, he’s definitely an upgrade. One longshot that might be worth considering is Target Tales (9) on the outside. He might not be ready for this level just yet, but the potential is there for this four year old son of Trappe Shot to be a shot competitor down the road in these New Jersey bred stakes races. He made his first start in three months last out in the slop against N1X state bred allowance foes, where he was sent to post as the heavy 1-2 favorite. He was further back than usual, and it looked like he was having trouble getting his footing on the sloppy going. He still rallied and won that race on class alone, but his speed figure was definitely light by his standards. I’m expecting a better effort today if the track is fast, and he could be a good horse to add underneath.


Race 11: Top Pick: 5

The last turf race of the day is a wide open $12,500-$10,500 N3L claiming race going 1 Mile and 1/16. I think Brown Essence (5) is a sneaky good horse in a race like this. He pulled off one of the bigger upsets at the meet so far when he beat a decent field of $16K multi-conditioned claimers here in the slop five weeks ago. He has some decent turf form, including a very game second place against a 2-5 Paco Lopez runner here on Haskell Day last year. He’s third off the layoff and rounding back in to form. He’s best when he’s involved early, so I’d expect a hustling ride from Maikol Tunon, who scored with him last out. Beach Traffic (2) has better speed figures on the turf, but has never crossed the wire first in thirteen career turf starts. That being said, he’s saved some of his better efforts for this course and she should improve with the surface switch. King Andres (7) was claimed two back for $10K at Tampa when finishing a close 5th. His new trainer, Jeffrey Poole tried him with tougher at Delaware before making his local debut on this course. He’s another logical player in here. On deeper tickets, perhaps give a look to A Girl’s Bestfriend (1) who is racing into shape and getting closer and close to her best form. She has some races that would be very competitive here. On the dirt, this race runs through the main track only entrant, Super Silver (10) who should be ready to win again after a dominating performance on the dirt last time out.


Race 12: Top Pick: 5

I’m going to try a bit of price in the nightcap and use Pink Shoelaces (5) on top, coming off a win against maiden $25K-$20K claimers. She makes a decent move up in class to multi-conditioned $30K-$25K claimers, but she finds herself as lone speed in a paceless race. She’ll definitely have to take another step forward here, but she’s sired by a Haskell winner (Paynter) out of a Big Brown (another Haskell winner) mare and she’s never been off the board in her four career dirt starts. Overdressed (6) has two in the money starts at the meet so far, and has hit the board in six of her last seven, winning two of them. She has four career wins, which is two more than anyone else in the field. Heriberto Figueroa rode her well when facing better competition last out, so he retains the mount for Potts today. Sky Proposal (7) gets some desperately needed class relief after a pair of dull efforts at Delaware and Gulfstream. She debuted on this date one year ago and broke maiden in her next start. She hasn’t developed the way Kelly Breen probably has hoped, but she’s back in town and should factor at this level.


Meet Stats: 45/165 (Top Pick Winners) – $295.80 / $1.79 ROI per $2 win bet


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