We have a solid eight race, Friday card at the Jersey Shore this afternoon, with competitive races from start to finish. The feature is the 7th race, which is an optional $16K claiming/N1X allowance race for fillies and mares going 1 mile and 70 yards on the main track. There’s three maiden special weight races on the card and three competitive turf races as well. First post is 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||1||1,3,6||7||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|2||1||1||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|3||3||3,7||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|4||6||1,6||3||DBL, PK3, PK 5|
|5||4||4,7||1,5||DBL, PK3, PK4|
The week kicks off with a maiden special weight contest for two year olds sprinting six furlongs. While I don’t love the rail post, Love Me Not (#1) will be the top pick on debut for Gregory Sacco. Sacco already has a debut winner at the meet when Freedom Road, who was completely dismissed by the public on Haskell Day, scored at a whopping 27-1. Hector Diaz was aboard that day, and he gets the call today on this son of Not This Time. First time starters from Not This Time have won at a 21% clip when debuting in a dirt sprint. His 47:4 work at the end of July suggests this one has some early speed, which he’ll likely need with his rail draw. Paco Lopez and Kelly Breen team up with Torrone (#3), who is sired by another very strong sire, Twirling Candy. He’s hitting with 20% of his firsters in dirt sprints. His works look good enough and while Breen has not trained a two year old debut winner at the meet, he has trained a pair of baby winners at Belmont this year. Blame D Rule Maker (#6) makes his second career start for Jorge Duarte today. He was away slow on debut, but did finish with some late interest to pass some runners to finish 4th. I prefer the top two, but I refuse to let the only horse with experience in a race full of first time starters knock me out of a multi-race bet. On deeper tickets, Malibu Rumble (#7) might be worth a look. Trombetta hasn’t had great debut numbers with first time starters over the last two years, but he did train a winner on debut on this track and distance last September. While the dam hasn’t produced much, this one fetched $240K at the Keeneland September Sale in 2021, and he’s been working well at Fair Hill in preparation for his debut.
I like Rhumjar (#1) a lot in this $30K-$25K conditioned claiming contest. His race two back when routing at this level for the first time was very sharp. He was wide every step of the way, forcing Bravo to move prematurely. He hit the front, but couldn’t hold off Catch The Smoke that day. He was no match for a serious racehorse (Cyberviking) last time out in an allowance company. He drops back to the claiming ranks and gets significant post relief. Jairo Rendon is riding with a supreme amount of confidence right now (Go back and watch his ride on Cajun Lover in the 5th race on Monday as evidence of a race where he was absolutely the difference maker). I think he sits the right trip to score with this group today.
New Jersey bred two year old fillies sprint six furlongs in this spot. I’m going to try to get out of this race by using both of the New Farm horses running for Jerry Hollendorfer. Proud Mule (#3) has been working very quickly on this course. There’s not too many Jersey bred babies drilling 46 flat in the mornings, and this Army Mule filly has done that twice. Hollendorfer has stretched her out, working five furlongs twice in the past two weeks, and she’s signaling that she’s ready to go in her debut. Horses sired by Army Mule are 2 for 21 as first time starters so far in dirt sprints, including a monster win by Wild Mule (a New Farm horse trained by Hollendorfer) on 7/2. This filly’s dam foaled a debut winner by 15 lengths on this course with open maiden claimers in 2020 and she crushed an open maiden special weight field at Laurel when she debuted in 2014. I’ll cover with Midnight Heiress (#7), who was disappointing as the heavy favorite last out. She had a miserable trip, breaking slow, rushing up into contention, and then blowing the turn. The winner ended up with a golden trip that day, but I liked the way she finished, battling to get back into second, squeaking by Fixed Odds (#6) late. She’s worked well and adds blinkers today. That race should have given her some education, but I do wonder if she’ll be second fiddle to her stablemate.
The first turf contest of the afternoon is a $16K starter allowance for three year olds and upward. For me personally, the toughest beat of this season so far came two weeks ago when Comedic Timing (#6), who was wide every step of the way, came up just short on the wire after a roughly run stretch drive in a conditioned $16K-$14K claiming race. He was clearly the best horse in that race and I like that Pompeyo Gomez moves him to a protected spot today, while keeping him on the grass. He makes his third start off the layoff and could definitely have a forward move. Gomez goes back to Paco Lopez for the ride as he was suspended when this one last ran. I had him at 12-1 that day (fixed odds), he went off at 6-1 at the parimutuel windows that day, and he’s 8-1 on the morning line today. I’d be happy to get 6-1 or better on this guy here, understanding that Paco Lopez riding likely comes at a bit of a premium. Hard Knocking (#1) is the likely post time favorite here. He crushed conditioned $16K-$14K claimers two starts back. He was a close up 4th in the Malouf Auto Group Starter Handicap Series last month. This seems like a good spot for him as Tony Wilson passed up the third leg of that series, perhaps thinking that the nine furlong trip was too long for him. He’s also making his third start off the layoff and third career start on this course. He’s run very well here and should be tough once again. Tiz a Prince (#3) is going to try to take this group gate to wire like he did last month in a conditioned $16K-$14K claiming race. He has a good record on this course and he’ll benefit from the rails being out at 36 feet, where it’s harder for the closers to get home.
Five of the seven runners entered in this state bred maiden special weight contest will be trying two turns on the dirt for the first time. While I don’t have a strong opinion here, I took a process of elimination approach to this race. Hello Pop (#2) feels more likely to be successful in a turf sprint as opposed to a dirt route. Despite getting some class relief, I don’t think Changing the Karma (#3) is fast enough on the dirt to win at this level. Jersey Perfection (#6) has faded in two career sprints and doesn’t appear to have the pedigree to flourish in route races. I ended up with the second time starter, Slew of Talent (#4) on top. His debut at six furlongs last month wasn’t bad, finishing 4th of six runners that day. He stretches out to two turns for the first time today. His sire Talent Search wins with 16% of his dirt routes, and he has had 7% of his runners win in their first time routing. Forever Chocolate (#7) had a nice progression of races going until a bad trip did him in on the turf last month. His race against a better field at this condition on the dirt back in May was solid, and definitely would put him in contention here. I think he’s capable of rebounding today. Windsor Manor (#5) is a bit of an X-factor in this race, He ran a solid third career start on the turf when routing for the first time. His pedigree isn’t screaming dirt route, but his trainer doesn’t win a ton of races. He’s been long odds in his first three starts, so there’s a chance he could be overlooked again. Irish Boolum (#1) is trying to figure out where he fits. He finished second in both of his dirt sprints at the meet, but never looked like a winner in either race. He stretches out to two turns, which should be okay for him. Being sired by Exaggerator, I’d think he’d be a horse that could handle a wet track, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards today.
WIN-EARLY PICK-5, $48 TICKET:
This ticket will be built around Rhumjar (#1, R2), who feels like the most likely winner in the sequence. I want the most coverage in the legs that bookend this sequence since they feel like the most unpredictable races here. I’ll use both the New Farm horses in the 3rd, thinking that Proud Mule (#3, R3) could be loaded for her debut. Paco Lopez rides an 8-1 shot, Comedic Timing (#6, R4), in the 4th, who I think has a big chance in that race.
We go back to the turf for a conditioned $16K-$14K claiming race for three year olds and up, going 1 mile and ⅛. Everyone entered qualifies under the N2L condition. This feels like the right condition for Shimmering Leroid (#2), who is looking for his first score since winning on debut last year in a maiden special weight race here in September. He just missed at this level, taking the short end of a three horse photo in May. He had a throw away performance two back with better, but he recovered nicely to be 4th against a better field at this conditioned last out. A strong effort from Tiz A Prince in the 4th race would certainly flatter him. I think he can carve out a good trip from an inside draw, tracking a pair of stretch out sprinters that I suspect will be struggling late. Beau Brown (#5) makes his third start of the meet for Mark Hennig, while trying to rebound off a tough outing last time. He was very good when winning his local debut with $30K-$25K maiden claimers at the beginning of June. He had a rough trip last time while facing a strong group for the conditioned $30K-$25K claiming level. He’s another one that figures to sit a good trip right behind the Classic Escape (#6) and Justinspeightofit (#7), who will be going considerably longer than they ever have before. Mystified (#8) also makes sense in this race, making his first start against winners and his first start off the Jose D’Angelo claim. He was a handy winner with $16K-$14K maiden claimers last month, while running for Jonathon Thomas. He would also be eligible for the starter allowance race (Race 4) on this card, which has a slightly bigger purse and would keep this lightly raced three year old protected from being claimed. He handled his first turf test quite well, and I think he’s one of the few that is well equipped to get the added distance.
The featured race this afternoon is an optional $16K claiming/N1X allowance race for fillies and mares, going 1 mile and 70 yards. Baby Man (#1) looks like she’s going to be very tough in this race today. Her three races on fast tracks at Aqueduct, Laurel, and Belmont were all sharp. She’s been working at Saratoga, but she’s probably a cut below this level there. She is making her first start at two turns, but she’ll do it on a course that has been kind to front runners while breaking from the rail. Luis Cardenas has been riding well, despite having some tough mounts at the meet. He found the Winner’s Circle for the first time locally last weekend, so I think that will certainly help his confidence moving forward at this meet. She’ll likely be the favorite, and she is trying something new, so I will want to back up here. World Party (#9) in the outside stall is 2-2 since being claimed by Jamie Ness at Keeneland back in April. She closed well to win an optional claiming/starter allowance race at Parx going 5 and ½ furlongs, which is not really what she wants to do. Ness stretched her back out to two turns, and she was a confident winner when going a mile that day. Ness is 7-16 at this meet, so the horses he’s bringing in from Parx are certainly live. I think the outside post is a tough assignment today, but I think if the top pick starts getting leg weary in the lane, she’d be the most likely candidate to pass her.
The Friday nightcap is a $16K-$14K maiden claiming race for fillies and mares going 1 mile and 1/16 on the turf. It’s hard to look past Any Port (#1) in this race. She is dropping in class after a respectable 7th place finish with $40K maiden claimers at Saratoga. She had a wide trip on the inner turf course that afternoon, while sitting off a slow pace on a good course. She ran well with $25K maiden claimers two back at Tampa when making her turf debut. She has the rail and may be quick enough to set the early pace if Hector Diaz wants to go that route. There are three of four others that could contest for that early spot, so I think the education she got last time out will help her rate if that is what this race calls for. She’s bred to go two turns on the turf and she has improved since trying grass two back. She is going to be tough to beat here. Pegasus in Flight (#9) is making her third start off the layoff in this spot. She’s a five year old mare that has had 12 chances to break her maiden, and while she’s never won, she has hit the board in nine of those starts. I think there is a decent amount of early speed signed on here, so she makes sense as the one that could be rolling late. Jairo Rendon came within a half length of getting the job done with her at this level on this course in June, and he gets the return call today.
Top Pick Winners: 93/367 (25.1%) – $715.50/ $1.95 ROI