Monmouth Park Racing Preview – 8/1/22 – By Eric Solomon

Monday racing starts today at Monmouth Park and runs for the next six weeks. In addition to an extra day of racing, Monmouth Park has partnered with Colonial Downs for the Monday Mid-Atlantic Pick 4. That wager combines two races from each track with a 15% takeout. The order of the races today will be MTH R6 (4:17 ET), CNL R7 (4:33 ET), MTH R7 (4:45 ET), and CNL R8 (5:01 ET). I’ll have a little more on that wager written up later in the day on Monday. The 5th race here is the feature race on the program, where some speedy fillies and mares will dash five furlongs on the main track in an optional $25K claiming/N2X allowance race. Like on Friday’s the first race will go off at 2:00 (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 4 1,4 2 DBL, PK3, PK5
2 8 1,2,8 4 DBL, PK3, PK4
3 5 3 5 DBL, PK3, PK6
4 8 1,8 2,7 DBL, PK3, PK 5
5 1 1 DBL, PK3, PK4
6 2 2 DBL, PK3
7 3 3,4 1,5 DBL
8 1 1,2 7

 

 

 

Race 1: 

August starts with a $12,500 starter allowance for fillies and mares going one mile on the main track. Blue Paynt (#4) has been first or second in 10 of her last 11 races, winning four of them. She’s only been off the board four times in her career, and all four of those races came on the NYRA circuit. Most of her damage has been ast Parx, but she has on the board finishes at Churchill, Keeneland, and Gulfstream earlier in her career. She has inside position on the other speed horse, the stretch out sprinter, She’s a Black Belt (#6). I’ll take a definite stand on that one as her trainer, Eduardo Jones, has abysmal numbers with runners that go from sprints to routes over the last five years. He’s 3-68 (4%) in that span and 0-11 with horses that go from one turn to two turns. I think Blue Paynt can survive the early pressure from that one before she backs up. I’m Listening (#1) is the main danger here, hitting the board in her last seven starts. She was the winner of the Smart N Classy Handicap for state bred fillies and mares at this distance two starts ago. Most of her work has been on the turf, but she’s proved she’s capable of running on any surface. Of the others in here, the horse that might offer a little value could be Long Distance Love (#2) making her first start off the Douglas Nunn claim. He has good numbers off the claim and he’s making an interesting jockey switch to Tais Lypustina. She rides primarily in Maryland, winning 14% of her races there this year, and not ridden for Nunn in the last two years at least. While she might not be familiar with this course, she has ridden this four year old filly five times in her career, winning four of those races and finishing 2nd in the other. She’ll be tasked with getting her to go two turns for the first time on dirt today, so I think I’ll need better odds than her 9-2 (ML). However, I think she is worth a look in this race. 

 

Race 2: 

Two year old $25K-$20K maiden claimers sprint six furlongs here. This feels like a race where I’ll want some coverage, but I’m going to be siding against two of the shorter priced first time starters in here. Danny Gargan brings Shouldhavebeengone (#3) over from Saratoga for her debut. The fact that Gargan, who doesn’t ship here often, is bringing him to the Jersey Shore, tells me he doesn’t think much of this Frosted colt. He also is 0-5 since 2021 with debut runners in maiden claiming races. I’m also siding against Gro (#7) for Juan Avila. While he has nice numbers with debuting maiden claimers, when you dig deeper, he’s struggled with two year olds debuting at this level, winning only 10% (2-20) of those races over the last five years. Neither of those winners ran on the dirt. His stablemate, Amalfi Lady, showed little at this level in the filly edition of this race. I will use Coco Shell (#8) as the top pick for Mike Dini making her debut at this level. He had a nice winner last year around this time with Dazzling Sunshine, who would go one to win her next two races. After a slow start, Dini has won at a 14% clip in July, winning last week at Saratoga as well as three local wins. His dam has produced two winners, though neither won on debut. Shadow Chaser (#1) was away slow in his debut for Greg Sacco, whose horses typically improve in their second starts. He had a nice workout last week after the debut, perhaps tipping a better effort on the drop in class this afternoon. Super Rocker (#2)is another runner that didn’t get away cleanly in his last start. His debut at Delaware wasn’t bad though and if he can duplicate that effort, he’ll be tough with this group. English Storm (#4) is one that I’ll use on deeper tickets. His debut on the turf at Belmont was abysmal, never being involved in the outcome of that one. After a rough start to the month, Cluadio Gonzalez is back atop the trainer standings here, and his numbers going from maiden special weight to maiden claiming races are solid. 

 

Race 3:

Time restricted $8K-$7K claimers sprint 5 and ½ furlongs here. Both Gone Astray Kiss (#2) and Arcadia Calls (#3) were entered on yesterday’s program, and both scratched out of their respective races, presumably in favor of this one. I thought Arcadia Calls had a shot in his $12,500-$10,500 claiming race on the turf yesterday, but Delgado scratched him in favor of this one at a lower tag. With this type of claim and drop, Delgado is 4-6 (67%) over the last five years, with his two non-winners both finishing second. He won with both Marvin and Shackleford County in the month of July with this type of drop. While I don’t love it, when Delgado does it, he means business. Bailey (#5) coming in off the $5K claim feels like the logical alternative in this spot. Douglas Nunn has good numbers first off the claim and when he was in best career form, he was stalking the pace as opposed to chasing it, which would likely be a winning gambit for this kind of race. 

 

Race 4:

Time restricted $12,500-$10,500 claimers go six furlongs in this race restricted to fillies and mares. I don’t love the favorites, Playera (#7) and Flash Town (#2). Both runners are live in this race and probably are worth covering due to the inconsistent nature of this group. Playera ships in from Gulfstream while dropping in class. While she’s getting class relief, her best recent race came in the slop and she hasn’t won a race in open company in almost a year. Flash Town  was second two back at this level, but she had a solid pace in front of her to set up her late close. She was second on the turf in her most recent try with open claimers. I do like that she’s entered for the same tag, while getting class relief. However, her rider, Ademar Santos, has been ice cold of late, winning one one race on this oval in the last two months. I’ll try Shackleford County (#8) on top, thinking that she can get first run on the front runners, that seem to be of the speed and fade variety. She got sucked into a duel on the front end two starts back at this level, where she was 5th, beaten four lengths. She found the Winner’s Circle for the first time in almost two full years last out when dropping in class. She has been a horse that has been able to string decent efforts together in the past. Angel Rodriguez rode her for the first time that day and he gets the return call today. Annika Gold (#1) has two starts at the meet off the layoff, both against better company, and both at 1 mile and 70 yards. Neither effort was good, but her sprint races in New York last fall were sharp. The six furlongs might be a touch short for her, but I could see her taking a step forward in this race, in her third start off the layoff. At 10-1 (ML), she’s a more enticing play than the shorter prices to me. 

 

Race 5:

This is an optional $25K claiming/N2X allowance race for fillies and mares sprinting five furlongs on the main track. Golden Bell (#1) is going to be a single for me in this race. She’s trained by Wesley Ward, who knows a thing or two about speed horses. She cleared the N1X condition in her last start on this track back in May. She broke from the rail and was a gift in that race 4-1. She outfinished Benbang in that race, who has gone on to be a stakes winner on the turf. She hasn’t started since, which is not an uncommon pattern for Ward. He’s hit with 28% of his runners off this 61-180 day layoff after a win in the last two years. He also scored with 25% of those runners on dirt. She draws the rail again and I think she’s going to be faster than her rivals in the early stages, while boasting the stamina to hold off the late runners, including the morning line favorite, Liberated Lady (#3).

WIN-EARLY PICK-5: $48 Ticket:

Golden Bell (#1, R5) is the one that I’m striving to be alive to when we get to the last leg of this sequence. She’s the second choice on the morning line and was overlooked a bit in her only other local start, which was a win.  I’m seeing the opportunity for some value by playing against two of the shorter prices in the second leg. There are a few other longer priced horses that make some sense, like Long Distance Love (#2, R1), and both Annika Gold (#1, R4) and Shackleford County (#8, R4) in the 4th race. 

Race 6:

The last Pick-3 of the afternoon and the first leg of the inaugural Monday Mid-Atlantic Pick 4 starts with this optional $16K claiming/$8K starter allowance race at one mile on the dirt. I’m going to try to get out of this race by singling the morning line favorite, Flowers For Lisa (#2). He ran into Rough Sea at this level last out who turned in a monster effort, defeating a group at this level by 10 widening lengths. Flowers for Lisa ran his race that day, but couldn’t match that runner’s huge effort. He’s a consistent runner that is often right there, and he’s been a bit unlucky running into horses like Rough Sea, Indian Buzz, and No Burn, all of whom ran monster efforts lately. He was a winner on this course two back with open $12,500-$10,500 claimers where he was claimed by Douglas Nunn. While the meet hasn’t gone as planned for him, He has some live runners on this card, and could be sitting on his best day at this current meet so far. 

 

Race 7:

I think it’s going to be hard to beat the class dropping Pugilist (#3) in this $12,500-$10,500 claiming race. She is making her third start off the layoff after finishing 4th against a stronger optional $30K claiming/N2X allowance field. When she’s dropped into the claiming ranks in the past, she’s performed well, most recently winning with $16K claimers at Tampa in December. She has certainly earned more than the $30K she was last claimed for in January of 2020. While it is a significant drop in class, it’s not one that concerns me. Isla Bonita (#4) may be the value play in this race. Her last start was her first over this course since 2021. She was very successful on this course last season, winning twice and finishing second in claiming company, before faltering in an allowance try. Her third place finish here last month was a strange race where there was a runaway leader on the front end. She was at the back of the field and was forced to go wide into the first turn after one of the other back markers hit the rail and fell. She made a strong middle move, which at that point in the race, might have been Jose Ferrer’s only option. Meanwhile, the 2-5 favorite, Kitten With a Whip (#1) got a dream run along the rail. Isla Bonita faded to be third that day, but I think she’s capable of a better effort with a smoother trip. Kitten With a Whip has two straight wins and a narrow second place finish in her three starts at this meet. She’s been claimed out of each race, but has still fired for her new connections. She’s a four year old bred to go two turns on the turf, so there’s reason to believe that she has another forward move. She’s had a pair of beautiful trips though when Paco Lopez was aboard. He’s out this week, so Hector Diaz, who is a perfectly capable replacement, takes over. She’s the morning line favorite and will likely go into the gate no worse than second choice. I’ll cover with her, but I do wonder if some of her good luck is due to run out. Strong Gem (#5) has been narrowly defeated by Kitten With a Whip in their last two tries. She is in some of the better form for her career at the moment, which is always a positive sign. She’s been closing well lately, but this has not been the easiest course to make up ground on. The rails were at 36 feet in her last race and they’re moved to 24 feet for this contest, which may help cause a little bit. 

 

Race 8:

Conditioned $5K claimers going six furlongs wrap up the week at Monmouth. Four shippers take on three local runners here. Manolete (#1) ships in from Parx, while dropping in class. He’s an eight year old gelding with 16 career wins in 65 career starts. His last several dirt efforts would make him very competitive with a field with recent form that is hard to be trusted. Nick the Cardshark (#2) has put forth four solid efforts in his first four starts at the current meet. He was a winner with $5K starter allowance company when making his first start of the meet back in May. Since then, he’s hit the board in three straight, facing a better bunch each time. These two seem to be the ones that make the most sense, but neither has much speed, and there isn’t much early foot to speak of. As a result, I’ll cover with Deshackled (#7) on some deeper plays. He’ll need to run faster than he;s been doing at Laurel, but on paper, he appears to have a tactical advantage on several rivals. I think he’ll pass Awesummer (#6) on the turn and get to the front. From there, he’ll have to see if he can hang with the class droppers. 

 

Meet Statistics:

Top Pick Winners:85/322 (26.4%) – $673.70/ $2.09 ROI

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