The first card in the month of August is also the first chance to see two year olds run in stakes company in New Jersey. Fillies sprint five furlongs on the turf in the Colleen Stakes, which is the featured 10th race on today’s program. On the same weekend as the Monmouth Oaks, Wesley Ward sends out Miss Alacrity in that race, whose dam, Just Jenda, won the 2009 Monmouth Oaks. The 11 race Sunday program gets under way at 12:15 ET. There are some showers forecasted for later in the day, so that is something to keep an eye on, especially if you’re playing the multi-race sequence on the back end of the card.
|1||1||4,7||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|2||2||6||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|6||4,6,7||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|7||2||3||5||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|8||4,7,8||3,10||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 1: Top Pick: 1
The Win-Early Pick-5 gets under way on the turf with filly and mare maiden claimers, running with a $16K-$14K tag. These races at this meet haven’t been very deep, so I’ll opt with a fresh face and try Gulfstream invader, Sweet Actress (1) as my top selection here. She debuted with maiden special weight company there this spring before dropping to the maiden $35K claiming ranks in her second start. She didn’t run awful in either of those races, but she also didn’t factor in the outcome. She didn’t run a step on the dirt two back and had a wide journey over a good course most recently with maiden $12,500 claimers there. Looking at those races, I’d argue that the maiden $12,500 races at Gulfstream in the spring/summer meet have been deeper than the maiden $16K-$14K claiming races here. She draws much better today and should get a firm course to run over, which seems to be preferred. Both Lullaby Land (4) and Wicked Groove (7) hit the wire together in a three horse photo at this level last out, with Lullaby Land getting second by the narrowest of margins. I think Wicked Groove has a little more upside as she was making her first career try at two turns on the turf last out. I expect her to be a little more fit and take a step forward here. Lullaby Land has been solid in her two turn races, but hasn’t shown a ton of growth. Both are logical players to use in this spot.
Race 2: Top Pick: 2
It’s hard to look past Uncaptured Soldier (2) in this multi-conditioned $12,500-$10,500 claiming race. This three year old has been a popular player at the claim box of late, winning with $16K-$14K multi-conditioned claimers three weeks ago. Jesus Cruz claimed him for Wasabi Ventures Stable from that race. This is technically a drop a class, but the field he’s facing today is not nearly as strong as the off the turf field he saw last out. A win and getting claimed for $12,500 still nets this outfit a solid profit. If by some chance he falters, the only other logical contender I see in here is Run Fast (6) for Jose Camejo. He was third beaten a length by Uncaptured Soldier in his first start off the claim, so he doesn’t have to improve a ton. He appears to be turning a corner since going woefully off form this spring after breaking his maiden at Delta in April. I don’t anticipate too fast of a pace though, which could make this a tougher assignment for him to get the job done.
Race 3: Top Pick: 3
Two year old maiden claiming fillies sprint five furlongs, running with a $25K-$20K tag. Jose Camejo has won six races at the meet, and most if not all of those horses were sired by Star Guitar. He sends out yet another Louisiana bred Star Guitar horse here, Satisfy U (3) for her career debut. Her works are respectable for this level and Camejo won with Charged Temp, a two year old Star Guitar filly, to win on debut three weeks ago. That filly is entered in the Colleen later on in the card. Fall Campaign (1) is one that I wrote about in the 7/13 ITM Watch List in the In The Money Players’ Newsletter. She was a game 4th in her debut at 5 and ½ Furlongs at this level. She ended up finding some traffic when a horse came up on her outside. She battled well to finish behind a trio that hit the wire together. I don’t love the rail draw for her in this spot, but I do expect her to improve this time around. Kingdom Queen (2) came out of the same race, and continued what has been a very unlucky meet for trainer, John McAllen. She stumbled a bit at the break, moved up, perhaps a bit prematurely, on the outside where she took the lead, but yielded late to be third. This is likely the right level of competition for her at this point in her career. Wayne Potts sends out a pair here, and while I prefer the outside draw for Don’t Tell Grandma (7), I think Isabella’s Glory (5) is more live than her stablemate. Her works are quicker in the AM, and Ferrer chooses this one over Grandma, when you’d figure he’d have the choice. Potts doesn’t have great numbers with firsters in maiden claiming company, so I’d proceed with caution with either one. I’ll use Isabella’s Glory on some deeper plays, and watch the tote to see how much I do or don’t invest in her.
Race 4: Top Pick: 2
It’s not very creative, but it’s hard to find anyone with a realistic chance of getting to Chrome Finish (2) in this $30K-$25K maiden claimer on the grass. He just missed for Asmussen in his local debut last out with a deeper field at the $40K-$30K level. He has tactical early foot in a race that has a little bit of cheap speed in it. He should be able to tuck in third behind Spiritual King (7) and Drum and Drummer (9), as both are likely going to be sent from their outside post. Corrales should have plenty of options on horse that looks better than his nine rivals on paper. The morning line price of 3-1 feels like great value to me, but I’m thinking he’ll be a shorter price at post time. If the race falls apart, Le Coste (3) would likely be the beneficiary. He closed a ton to get second behind Gator Bite with a lesser field of maidens last month. He takes a step up in class, and while he’s not finding horses that are that significantly better, he appears to be pace dependent in here. El Pecado (10) is a first timer to keep your eyes on in the paddock and on the track. Isaac Castillo takes the mount, which is a plus. His trainer, Leopoldo Ortega has won with a horse debuting in maiden claiming at two turns on the turf in the past. I don’t love the post, but if the odds are long on the board, he wouldn’t be the worst price stab.
Race 5: Top Pick: 5
This is not the deepest group of $7,500-$6,500 multi-conditioned claimers. Flyin It (5) is my choice to rebound after running a dull 4th last out at Pimlico with better horses. She was sharp two back when clearing the N2L condition in Maryland. She joins the Juan Arriagada barn, which does with new acquisitions. She has some decent tactical speed and can get the distance, which is more than some of these can say. One Night Stand (6) was second beaten two lengths at this level three weeks ago. She came within a length of winning despite being three wide pretty much the whole way around the track. She’s drawn near the outside, so it remains to be seen if she’ll be asked to go overland route again. Scott Volk sends out Seahawk Lisa (7) in her third start off the layoff today. This will be her first start at two turns on the main track since December. Her last two with better weren’t very good, but she makes sense on the drop and surface switch. Reuniting with Paco Lopez is another positive angle for her in this spot.
Win Early Pick 5 Play: $36.00 Ticket
Race 1: 1, 4, 7
Race 2: 2, 6
Race 3: 1, 2, 3, 5
Race 4: 2
Race 5: 5, 6, 7
Race 6: Top Pick: 7
I don’t think there’s much separating three horses in this $40K-$30K multi-conditioned claiming race. I ended up making the longer price (9-2 ML) of the trio, Mister Leonardo (7), my top choice. He’s the only multiple winner in the field, winning three races in his 14 race career. He struggled when facing better horses in optional claiming/N1X allowance company two back on the grass at Gulfstream, and he wasn’t really interested in sprinting on the main track in his local debut in a race that was rained off the turf. He’s back doing what he wants to do at a level where can be successful. His stablemate, Alonzo Mosely (6) is the heavy morning line favorite, but I will be watching to see how the odds play out, as I don’t think the odds disparity between him and my top pick should be that big. He was an impressive maiden winner two starts back in an off the turf race in the slop. He got back on grass last out and left himself with too much work to do when facing winners for the first time. He has tactical speed and usually runs an honest race. He’s never won a race on turf though, so he’s hard to love at a short price. Tiz a Prince (4) will be facing winners for the first time after beating $40K maiden claimers in his most recent start. He has three sharp races at two turns and should be a factor at this level today. Two back, he was 4th beaten three and half lengths at the maiden special weight level. He faced a solid field that day when beaten by Fifty Sheas Ofgrey, who ran in the Tale of the Cat Stakes yesterday, and He’spuregold, who won his next two starts, including a New Jersey bred stakes (The Irish War Cry) here last week.
Race 7: Top Pick: 2
There is absolutely no early speed signed on for this maiden special weight race for fillies and mares, three year olds and up, at a mile on the main track. I think that should be advantageous for Chad Brown’s Grand Ave Girl (2) who was near the front end early in her debut at Belmont before fading to finish a well beaten third, behind a pair of horses that dueled all the way home. She’s sired by Runhappy and the dam sire is Monmouth Park legend, Holy Bull, so getting the mile should not be an issue. She’s worked well locally for her second career start and may be tough to run down in the late stages if she’s afforded an easy front end trip. Bold Tactics (3) is the even money morning line favorite, shipping in from Churchill, while moving to the Kelly Breen barn. She’s hit the board in some very strong maiden special weight races in Kentucky and Arkansas. I worry about her lack of early foot and the fact that she’s sometimes had trouble getting away cleanly from the gate. She still needs to be respected, but I can’t fault anyone for trying to beat her here. Tic Tic Boom (5) is an interesting, ten start maiden, sired by Hit it a Bomb. Half of her ten starts have come in stakes company, finishing third in four of those five starts. Her efforts in maiden special weight company on the other hand haven’t been the greatest. She has been improving on the main track and could be a factor here. However, she too, has a serous lack of early foot, so I would think underneath is more realistic for her with this field.
Race 8: Top Pick: 7
This is about as impossible of a maiden $16K-$14K claiming event as you can find. This race will be about value for me in the vertical exotics and spreading as wide as I can in the multi-race bets. I ended up making Keyboard Warrior (7) my top choice, running for the Phillip Antonacci barn. As a protégé of Wesley Ward, Antonacci has shown ability getting his turf sprinters to run with a limited sample thus far. He sent out Charmed to finish a solid 3rd at long odds this week at Saratoga in a very competitive turf sprint, after losing all chance of winning at the break. This one has run in a pair of two turn races, showing more interest on the turf than on the dirt. He’s been given a few months off and has worked well since. Make a Move (8) probably makes the most sense in this race, running faster races in turf sprints than in turf routes. She adds blinkers for her first start since February at Gulfstream. Trainer, Timothy Hills continues to send live horses out at this meet. Sea City (4) drops and significantly cuts back in distance, going from 10 Furlongs last out at Belmont to 5 and ½ Furlongs in this race. He’s getting obvious class relief, but I’m not sure he has enough early foot to keep up in the first quarter. I do think he’ll be rolling late if he can stay in contact with the field. Postino’s Story (3) might be one of the more playable longshots in this race. He hasn’t broken well in either of his two career starts, so backers of him need to keep than in the back of their minds. He did finish with some interest in his first start of the year in a race washed on the turf. I could take a swing with at 15-1 (ML) or better. Will too Shy (10) is the morning line favorite strictly based on his connections and the lack of turf ability in this field. His works are okay, but not exceptional and his pedigree doesn’t scream turf sprint. However, he won’t have to be special to beat these. I’ll watch the tote for clues for him, but I’m not willing to take a very short price on anyone in this wide open race.
Race 9: Top Pick: 2
The last Pick-3 of the day is an optional claiming/N1X allowance for New Jersey bred fillies and mares. There’s not a lot of speed signed on here, and the last time Beautybyachubinose (2) found herself in that situation, she dominated that field at this level, winning by 8 lengths. I don’t think the pace battle will be intense and she should benefit from the inside draw. I can forgive her last in stakes company in the mud, and I’ll plan to play her back at this level while in for the tag. Postino’s Champion (4) is the other logical contender in this spot. She makes her first start in a while at two turns on the main track. She was a winner at this level the last time she won a race. She was strong at this level on the turf last out, so that may be signaling a return to her best form.
Race 10: The Colleen Stakes: Top Pick: 5
I’m a sucker for two year olds that show they can close from off the pace early on, and Sail By (5) fits that description to a tee, as she went from last to first to break her maiden on debut at Belmont at 6 Furlongs on the turf. She’s sired by Astern, who has had some early success with his US progeny. His most notable winner thus far is Mainstay, who won here by open lengths on the dirt on debut and was second in the Grade 3 Schuylerville at Saratoga. Breeders’ Cup Turf winner, Johar, is the dam sire, so there’s reason to believe she’ll be able to handle added distance down the road. I don’t love that’s she’s cutting back to 5 Furlongs, but there’s not many other options for two year old winners at the moment. This race could be a nice bridge to a race like the P.G. Johnson at two turns at the end of the Saratoga meet. Chi Town Lady (3) is entered without a rider, so there’s a chance that’ll she’ll be scratched. However, she was one of the more impressive maiden winners at the Keeneland Spring Meet, finishing her 4 and ½ Furlong journey is 51:4. She’s sired by Verrazano, so there’s reason to believe she can well on the lawn, too. Tizplenty (2) is another filly trying the turf for the first time. She’s shown a lot of zip in three straight starts, and she’s sired by Speightstown, which suggests she could take to the turf. She will have the opportunity to race on Lasix today, and option that she isn’t afforded to her in New York or Kentucky. Miss Alacrity (6) is the other Wesley Ward horse entered in here and the morning line favorite. She’s never been on the turf, so she’ll have to answer that question. Her sire is Munnings, so she should be capable on the grass. Her dam is former Monmouth Oaks and Molly Pitcher winner, Just Jenda, who made her living at two turns on the dirt. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her win this race, but I’d think she’ll be better on the main track.
Race 11: Top Pick: 7
Don’t Poke The Cat (7) is going to be the one to beat in the nightcap. He had everything his own way, winning handily at this level two starts back. He was clearly second best to Coach Adams last out, who ran a big race that day. He has been steadily improving over his last several starts, and he definitely likes racing on the local oval. Grimgrinnin’ Ghost (3) also enjoys racing at Monmouth, as he has two wins in six tries, and five total on the board finishes. He was about five lengths behind Don’t Poke The Cat last out at this level. He made a strong middle move, before levelling off, but out finishing some others for the minor awards. The blinkers come off today, which is a little interesting as he showed more speed in the past when racing without them. Flat Bill (5) is the fresh face to this level, as he’s the only one in here that is dropping in class. It’s been a long time since he’s crossed the finish line first. He was placed first in his first race in 2021, but his last win on the track came in November 2019. He was much more consistent back then, which was also the last time he was running at this level of competition. Kaleidoscope Kid (1) was 4th in the same race that Don’t Poke The Cat and Grimgrinnin’ Ghost are coming out of. He was strong two back, just missing in photo at this level. The rail should be advantageous for him here to work out a ground saving trip.
Meet Stats: 77/277 (Top Pick Winners) – $499.80 / $1.80 ROI per $2 win bet