The Friday card starts a new week of racing at Monmouth Park, highlighted by a solid optional claiming/N2X allowance race for fillies and mares in Race 5. As usual, the first post for Friday is 5:00 PM ET. I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to pay tribute to Chublicious, who suffered a catastrophic injury on Sunday. He was one of the better New Jersey breds in recent memory, starting his career here in June of 2014. He broke his maiden in his second career start, on July 6th of that year, which was the first of eleven career races he won on this oval in 18 career tries. He was a two-time winner of the John J. Reilly Stakes for New Jersey breds and the Mr. Prospector Stakes for open company. The biggest victory in his career came at Laurel in 2017 when he won the Grade 3 DeFrancis Memorial Stakes. His talents took him to South Korea in 2018, where he finished a respectable 4th in the Group 1 Keeneland Korea Sprint. More recently, he was coming off two straight wins this year, running quality races with New Jersey bred optional claiming/allowance types, prior to his injury. His final start was the first time that I can see where he ran against two of his full brothers, Brother Chub and Double Chubble, with Brother Chub getting the victory. He ran his heart out every time over the last eight years, seven of which he made at least one local start, and he will be sorely missed.
|1||1,5||8||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|2||3,7||2,8||DBL, PK3, PK5|
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Race 1: Top Pick: 5
$20K-$18K maiden claimers start the week of racing at Monmouth. I liked Aktham (5) trying the turf for the first time last out in maiden special weight company a few weeks ago. However, that long awaited experiment proved to be a flop, as he never really took hold of the course, finishing 5th, beaten 12 lengths. He drops back to a level where he has been competitive in the past and gets a fairly soft field for this condition as he comes back to the dirt. He feels like the one to beat. Point of Humor (1) takes a significant drop after finishing 4th at Saratoga with $50K maiden claimers three weeks ago. He’s run credible races on turf and on dirt in the past. He’s 0-18 while racing exclusively on the NYRA circuit, so this will be definite class relief. The Don of Squan (8) has met tough fields in his two races which both were two turn events with maiden special weight company. The class relief will definitely help, as he’s faced good fields in his two career starts, however, when looking at his pedigree, I’d be more inclined to believe in him on the turf more so than in a six furlong dirt sprint. I’ll cover him on some deeper tickets, but I think the race is between the top two.
Race 2: Top Pick: 3
The Friday Pick-5 kicks off with a competitive, multi-conditioned $5K claiming race for fillies and mares at 5 Furlongs on the main track. They carded a race at these conditions to end the card on Sunday, 7/18, and this race definitely drew better opponents to face the second, third, and fourth place finishers that day, Dazzling Speed (1), Ragtime Suzy (8), and Evan’s Nice Now (5). Glory Roll (3) is the one that interests me the most here, coming back after a two month break for Jose Delgado. Her claim was voided back in June, so clearly something was amiss. She drilled a 3F bullet work the other day, so I’m guessing that whatever was wrong has healed. She was very good this winter at Tampa, and she likes this distance. She has shown the ability to win gate to wire in sprints, or coming from off the pace. That versatility should give Jorge Panaijo some options here, especially if Cultural Mandate (7) guns for the front as expected. She’s been off since April, after some solid efforts down at Tampa. She’s worked well at Delaware for Bennett to get ready for her return. Although her last few races have been on the grass, she is definitely capable on the main track. Jose Ferrer will likely being playing catch me if you can with her. Karen’s Gem (2) will likely take a lot of action at the windows after dominating a field of time restricted claimers last out at Parx, winning by 10+ lengths. She may be rounding back in to her better form after a few slower efforts to start her summer. I’m not sure about her at this distance though, as her last win came in gate to wire fashion when going 7 Furlongs. I’ll cover with her in the multi-race exotics, as I think this race is wide open, and there is definitely a bit of uncertainty with my two A horses, but I’ll try to beat her in the vertical wagers. Ragtime Suzy finished front of Karen’s Gem in the slop here two starts ago, She was sent to post at the favorite in the 7-18 race, where she ran an even third, never really looking like a winner. She does has some efforts on fast tracks that are definitely better than her wet track form, so perhaps that could help her move forward here.
Race 3: Top Pick: 1
Fillies and mares go 1 Mile and 70 Yards in a $12,500-$10,500 N3L claiming race. To me, this feels like a two horse race between Yellowstone Girl (1) and Lady Fox (7). Yellowstone Girl makes her second start of the meet and her second off a layoff for Alfredo Velasquez. She’ll need to run a faster race, but she drops in class and finds a race where there is absolutely no early speed. She gets a good gate rider in Jose Ferrer and she drew the rail, so, barring an incident or someone quarter-horsing a longshot here, she should be the pacesetter. Her only two-turn race was a gate to wire win in a paceless race at Keeneland, when she broke her maiden last fall. She was beaten by a nice filly in starter allowance company last out, Alta Velocita, who has come back to run two strong local races since that victory. I think she has the edge here over Lady Fox, who definitely has a Beyer speed figure advantage. She ships in from Pimlico where she closed well to be second with multi-conditioned $16K-$12,500 claimers there. She is a stone cold closer, who is pace dependent. When there’s been a slow pace in front of her, she has not been able to get the job done. She does get a bit of class relief, so she’ll still be worth using, but unless there’s someone in here that will force the pace issue, she looks like she’s been going against the grain again.
Race 4: Top Pick: 1
Multi-conditioned $12,500-$10,500 claimers go 1 Mile and 1/16 in this race which starts the final Pick-3 of the evening. Kentucky Cool (1) looks to be well-spotted after a series of tougher races in the mud and on the turf. Four starts back, he tried two turns at this condition, and prevailed as the 9-10 favorite that day. He was claimed out of that start, and ran back with tougher in an off the turf, five furlong sprint in the mud, where he struggled against a nice horse, Algebraic, that day. His sire, Americain, was sired by Dynaformer, so I can’t fault the turf experiment in his last two, but he was non-competitive in both races. He’s back at a class level and distance where he can succeed, and his rail draw should be beneficial here. Jo Jo Katz (6) was claimed off Wayne Potts by Jose Delgado, after handily beating a soft maiden claiming field a few weeks ago, when making his first start at two turns. The water will get deeper here and he’ll likely need to improve more, however, he really hasn’t run a bad race in three starts in the afternoon. Delgado opts to keep regular rider, Christian Navarro aboard. Bananas on Fire (3) has been either really good, or really bad in his last several tries while facing better. He ran on a monster race on the Black-Eyed Susan undercard to earn second place in an optional claiming/allowance race, while going off at 62-1. He’s been beaten by a double digit margin in his previous three tries though. The drop in class makes sense, and he could prove to be simply better than these. It will come down to value for me on how much or little I play him here.
Race 5: Top Pick: 2
The feature race today is another five furlong sprint on the main track, this one being an optional $25K claiming/N2X allowance race for fillies and mares. This race runs through the talented filly, Ray Arewethereyet (2), who shipped here from Tampa off the layoff and beat a good field last out to clear the N1X condition, while making her first start since March. Prior to that race, she ran exclusively with Florida breds, breaking her maiden three back at Gulfstream, and running a competitive third two back with state bred stakes company. She had an easy trip on the front end from the rail, but she ran hard that day and was flattered by Liam’s Light, who came back to beat a solid field at the N1X level last weekend. She has a bright future in front of her. Decade (1) is the main threat, after running third to Cilla in the off the turf Blue Sparkler Stakes last out. She ran a monster race in the mud to clear the N1X condition at Oaklawn three back, but her fast track efforts have all been about the same. If there’s a pop up storm or rain that creates a wet surface, I’ll upgrade her, but on a fast track, I think Ray Arewethereyet has the advantage here and certainly could be used as a single.
Race 6: Top Pick: 5
The Friday nightcap is an optional $15K claiming/N1X allowance race for New Jersey bred fillies and mares going one mile on the turf. It’s hard to look past the class of I’m Listening (5), who drops back to this level after running 6th with open, optional $30K claiming/N2X allowance fillies and mares last out. She’s run multiple credible races against better horses than what’s she’s up against here, many of which would likely be enough to get the job done here. She was sandwiched a bit at the break in her last race, which cost her some valuable early positioning in a slow paced race. She makes her third start off the layoff, and while she’s been kept out of the Winner’s Circle since September 2019, she faces the softest group in her last 11 starts since that win. Postino’s Idol (6) was the winner at a race at these conditions last month, when she was making her first start since February for Skip Einhorn. Douglas Nunn claimed this hard knocking eight year old mare that day, and his barn has been doing well this meet, especially with horses that are making their first starts off the claim. She’s the most logical candidate to beat the favorite.
Pick 5 Play: $48.00 Ticket
Race 2: 2, 3, 7, 8
Race 3: 1, 7
Race 4: 1, 3, 6
Race 5: 1, 2
Race 6: 5, 6
Meet Stats: 87/314 (Top Pick Winners) – $547.90 / $1.74 ROI per $2 win bet