While there’s no stakes action this Saturday at Monmouth since the Rainbow Heir, which was originally scheduled for today, has been shifted to tomorrow’s card, there’s still a strong 11 race program on what should be a gorgeous day in Oceanport, New Jersey. There’s a pair of quality N1X allowance races on the turf, as well as a maiden special weight for two year old fillies, which is also on the grass. First post today is 12:15 (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||3||1,3,8||5||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|2||5||4,5||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|6||5||5,8||7,11||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|7||6||2,5,6||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|8||5||5,6,7||1||DBL, PK3, PK4|
The day starts off with a very good N1X allowance race for three year olds and upward, sprinting 5 and ½ furlongs on the turf. I think the race starts with Grooms All Bizness (#3), who is a very nice three old colt sired by Fed Biz. He won on debut when sprinting on the grass last summer and was cooked when being a part of a crazy early pace battle in the Nownownow Stakes at the end of the meet. He’s run three solid races this season, once on dirt and twice on turf. He was 5th when he was defeated by a next out stakes winner when running at this level in July. He was 3rd after a tough opening furlong in the My Frenchman Stakes last time out. He was wide leaving the chute, and bumped hard with another runner, while falling to the back of the field. Meanwhile, the speed duel never percolated on the front end and That’s Right, was able to cruise on an uncontested lead before pulling away at the top of the stretch. He finished with interest to be third that afternoon. Angel Rodriguez is going to have to keep him closer to the early pace today because not too many horses are winning these turf sprint races from nine lengths off the early pace like he was at the second call. Weight of Glory (#1) is an interesting runner, moving up the class ladder for Michael Pino. He comes in after winning two straight races on the dirt with N3L and N4L claimers at Parx. He’s run solid races on synthetic at this distance, so there’s reason to believe that he could take to the turf course here. He looks to be the main speed in here, and I’d expect apprentice Andy Hernandez to try to get him on the lead from his rail draw. It hasn’t been easy to pass frontrunners on this turf course, so he could start to get to brave. Jester’s Honor (#8) is a seven year old gelding that didn’t debut until his four year old season. He’s been lightly campaigned, making only his 18th career start today. His dirt efforts were nothing spectacular, but certainly has found a home as a turf sprinter. He upset fellow New Jersey breds at 11-1 two starts back, and was a solid third at this level two weeks ago. Ferrer was very aggressive with him two back when breaking from the outside stall, and he has the same post again today. On deeper tickets, I’ll cover with Loved Again (#5), who is coming off a pair of disappointing efforts. He was away a bit slow when going five furlongs last out, which proved to be costly against a speedball like That’s Right (next out winner of the My Frenchman Stakes). Michelle Hemingway shipped him to Laurel where he showed no interest on the main track. He’s back on grass, while staying at this N1X level. He had an excuse two back, and his maiden score three back was sharp.
New Jersey bred two year olds sprint six furlongs here. I like the move by Andrew Simoff to scratch Fixed Odds (#5) out of a race for fillies and enter her against the boys today. I think that field was deeper and had more early speed for this Uncle Lino filly to contend with. She was well backed in her debut as a clear cut second choice behind a heavy favorite. She battled on the front end, probably going a little faster than expected since that favorite, Midnight Heiress, blew the break and rushed up to challenge. That one came back to be a game second yesterday. I’m expecting an improved effort today from this filly. The logical alternative is the first time starter from the Kelly Breen barn, Steel Drivin Man (#4). He’s a half to graded stakes winner, Pickin Time, who was a winner on debut. The dam, Born to Royalty, has foaled nine other runners that have made it to the track and four of them won in their first try. Paco Lopez gets the call on this son of Tonalist, who gets 10% winners from his runners that debut in dirt sprints.
This is a tricky $7,500-$6,500 conditioned claiming contest because five of the runners in this 1 mile and 70 yard race are stretching out from sprints. I couldn’t fault anyone for hitting the ALL button with this race, however, the second and fourth races are both two year old contests which might make it harder to pare down tickets. Imagine the Mojo (#3) is the only horse that has consistently been running in route races, but she’s hard to get excited about, seeing as how she’s lost her last four starts by double digit lengths. She did run into Along the Way last out at this level who ran a monster race to dominate that field by almost 12 lengths. She ran a career top Beyer speed figure today, and maybe that effort would be enough to beat this group, since most of her rivals are untested at two turns. However, with Paco Lopez riding for Jose Delgado, I can’t see us getting fair value on this filly. I’ll cover with her, but I’ll use a pair of runners stretching out to try to beat her. Blind Sight (#4) did try this distance once when facing better back in May, and it did not go well. She was bumped at the break and was covered up behind horses most of the way. She was under a ride early though and didn’t respond that afternoon. She is bred to get the distance, and she was claimed two back by leading trainer, Claudio Gonzalez. She was dull last out while getting a wide trip, and now she’ll try a route of ground again. This is a pretty soft group to tackle the distance challenge, so I’ll trust the high percentage connections here. Asyena (#2) is a six year old mare stretching out for the first time in her 12th career start. She broke her maiden two back with $16K-$14K maiden claimers, but she struggled last week when facing winners for the first time. She was sprinting 5 and ½ furlongs on the dirt and didn’t have the smoothest trip when facing a stronger group. She gets class relief and could be a candidate to take this field gate to wire from her inside draw. However, 9-5 (ML) is a tough pill to swallow.
Two year old fillies go one mile on the turf in this maiden special weight event. I think it’s going to take a very nice to filly to defeat Born Dapper (#7) this afternoon. She’s technically making her 4th career start, but she, along with Hella Ella (#10) are coming out of a race at Saratoga that was declared a no-contest. Born Dapper was part of the field that kept running after the outriders signaled there could have been an issue, where Hella Ella, who was at the back of the pack, was eased out of the race as a result after the starting gate had issues being removed from the course. The crew did get the gate to move, but several runners were taken out of the race because of the uncertainty. Born Dapper went off at 6-1 and Hella Ella was 26-1 going into the gate that afternoon. Prior to that race, Born Dapper boasted a pair of solid efforts at Woodbine, one on synthetic and other on the turf. Even the last race didn’t count, she ran every step of the way. That experience should give her a considerable advantage over her rivals in this spot. I’ll still include Hella Ella on deeper tickets. She didn’t show a lot of speed and never got to show if she could kick home that day. However, she has slightly more experience than some of the others, and she looks like a filly that should be better on the grass. Chad Brown has two first time starters entered, Addressable Market (#5) and Hay Stack (#11), the latter of which is stuck on the also-eligible list. Both are bred up and down for the grass and both are locally based. Both fillies are following a pattern that he followed with both Customer List and Unanimous Consent, both who broke their maiden on debut at a mile on the turf here last season. Both fillies make sense and if they both run, that should increase the value on Born Dapper.
The Win-Early Pick-5 wraps up with a conditioned $30K-$25K claiming contest going six furlongs. Tenebris (#4) is the morning line favorite here which doesn’t come as a surprise. This four year old gelding has never run a bad race, breaking his maiden on debut at Tampa and hitting the board in three straight optional claiming/N1X allowance races. He tried two turns twice, but might be better suited to sprinting. However, I am a little concerned with this drop in class. He’s shown that he’s able to compete at the N1X allowance level and he still is eligible for that condition. By running in this race, he’ll become eligible for some starter allowance options, which would make him a very desirable claim. However, the fact that he cost $100K, and a win and claim would still be a losing proposition for his owners. In addition, he’s been away since the end of June with only one published work three weeks ago. I’m seeing some reasons for concern with this one. I’ll cover with him, but will look elsewhere. Kozy’s Wildcat (#6) is not very consistent, but when he’s right, he’s shown that he can run faster than anyone in this race. I do think drawing to the outside is a plus for him. He was not happy three back when dueling on the inside with horses to his outside. It looks like they tried to rate him last out at Laurel, which may have been a failed experiment. I think they’ll let him fly from his outside post, and likely take this group all the way. I’ll also cover with One Whirlwind Ride (#5). He’s run two sharp races in his last two starts and looks like he’s coming into this race in some of his better form. He’s only 1-26, so excitement with him needs to be tempered. However, the three year olds here aren’t the most consistent types.
WIN-EARLY PICK-5, $48 Ticket:
I found this sequence a tricky spot to find a single today. I do like Born Dapper (#7, R4), and Kozy’s Wildcat (#6, R5) quite a bit at the back end. However, there are enough questions and quality competitors to look for some coverage.
The Jersey Shore 6 kicks off with a 5 and ½ furlong turf sprint for $16K-$14K maiden claiming fillies and mares. Tizmet (#5) makes a lot of sense shipping in from Gulfstream for Phil Serpe. She’s coming off a pair of respectable efforts with $12,500 maiden claimers on the Tapeta there. Her debut last summer when sprinting on the turf at Saratoga was solid, finishing 4th after blowing the break. She has improved as a gate horse, which should help her cause in this race where she looks like one of the faster runners in the early stages. Nickys Notion (#8) is still a maiden in her 13th career start, however, she finished first in her only career start on the turf last out at Parx. She was disqualified for interference in the stretch that day, when making her first start in over three months. She ships here to face a similar group at the same level. Escapewithfriends (#7) is a New York invader that doesn’t have much early foot. She tried dirt for the first time when making her first start in 2022. She didn’t run a step in that spot at the Spa so she takes a logical and necessary drop in class. Her best career efforts have been turf sprints. She’s probably better suited underneath in the vertical exotics, but she might be worth a look if her odds float up over her 6-1 morning line. Sea Monster (#11) is stuck on the outside looking in in this spot, but she’s a player if she gets to compete. She’s lightly raced, making her fourth career start. Her first two races came in 2020 at Presque Isle Downs and she resurfaced 22 months later last month at Saratoga with state bred $40K maiden claimers. She didn’t embarrass herself that day, but she’ll take a logical drop in class for this race. Blinkers go on for the first time, which has been a solid angle for this barn.
New Jersey breds sprint six furlongs in this optional $15K claiming/conditioned allowance race. Wicked Jane (#6) is going to try to win her first race in her 17th start on this oval today. She’s won three times in eight career starts outside of New Jersey. That being said, her races on this oval haven’t been awful, and many of them would make her competitive at this level. I think she’s sitting on a better effort today after trying the turf for the first time last month when making her third start off the layoff for Gregory Sacco. She was dull two back against a sharper field of state breds. Apprentice Laureano Sosa has three wins in seven starts at this meet, and that five to six pound weight break on the other major players may make a difference here. Elegant Dancer (#2) won on debut when she was overlooked two weeks ago in a state bred maiden special weight contest. She drew off like there’s more in the tank for this daughter of War Dancer. There doesn’t appear to be much early pace for her to contend with and if front end speed continues to be favorable on this course, she’ll be a candidate to win again. Amazing Graces Joy (#5) is the morning line favorite coming back to the dirt after a solid effort in a turf sprint when facing winners for the first time last month. While she broke her maiden at this distance on the dirt, I think she’s better on grass. She’ll be forcing the issue on the front end and I don’t think Jose Ferrer will let Elegant Dancer get too comfortable on the lead.
The first leg of the late Pick-4 is a fairly wide open $16K-$14K N4L claiming race for three year olds and up, going 1 mile and 1/16 on the turf. This race is going to come down to value and race shape for me because I don’t think there’s much that separates the top six horses in this race. I am going to use three runners that are all coming out of the same open $12,500-$10,500 claiming race on the Haskell undercard. Miracle Silver (#5), Cash Now (#6), and Call Bros (#7) finished 5th, 6th, and 7th, respectively, in that race. In a wide open, 13 horse, everything has to go right, and I’d argue that things did not go according to plan for Miracle Silver in the first quarter mile. He was drawn well for his front running style, but he blobbled slightly, and broke in, bumping Cash Now to his inside, and quickly losing any shot of being on or near the lead. It took a little while for Samy Camacho to get him to relax while he was covered up and behind horses. He saved ground going into the first turn, but he sat in 9th for the majority of the race. While the pace on the front end was strong, he never really had a clear path to close into, getting up for 5th, while moving well enough late. His game is sitting closer to the pace and he might have better early speed than his seven rivals in this race. I see this spot as class relief whereas the short priced horses on the inside are moving up the class ladder. I’m hoping he gets overlooked and goes into the gate at or above his 9-2 morning line figure. Cash Now was a huge longshot in that race on the morning line (30-1), but he took some attention at the windows, going off at 12-1. I thought he was an interesting longshot in that race while stretching out from a sprint and drawing the rail. However, he didn’t get a very aggressive ride, and spent most of the race covered up. He, too, finished with interest, and now gets a rider upgrade to Chrisitian Rojas. I could see him taking a step forward in his second route. Call Bros ended up chasing a strong pace in that race and found himself three wide early before fading late. His race three back when clearing the N3L level at this tag was sharp and he has races in Florida that back up that effort. He’s another one that has a running style that fits this race nicely. On deeper tickets, Bakeneko (#1) continues to progress on the grass. He was claimed by Jose D’Angelo two back and he quickly moved him to the grass where he handily defeated a $12,500-$10,500 N3L claiming field two weeks ago. This is a step up, but both of his turf races are strong. I don’t love the 7-2 figure with this group, but if his odds float up a bit, he’d be more playable for me.
The shorter prices seem to have an edge in this $16K-$14K conditioned claiming race. Kelly Breen sends out the two shortest prices with morning line favorite, Garoppolo (#7) and Sunsanddrinkinhand (#4). Paco Lopez rode both runners to on the board finishes last out, and I’m intrigued that he winds up on Sunsanddrinkinhand today. He makes his 5th start today after two strong efforts and two dull efforts. The dull efforts came against significantly better competition, so he appreciated the drop in class to level last out. He was making his first start at two turns that day and he proved that this distance was within his range. Garoppolo on the other hand is dropping into this level after a game third place finish against a better field with $30K-$25K claimers last out. He makes his third start off the layoff and is more logical to me on paper, however, Paco taking the other mount is a bit curious. Angeli Blu (#1) is the other runner with a reasonable chance in this field. He was claimed off Breen three starts ago and has two solid efforts since running for Nunn. He’s improving and despite being bred for the turf, both of his career wins have been on the main track .
The co-featured conditional allowance for fillies and mares going 1 mile and 1/16 on the turf is a race where all ten runners qualify for the N1X condition. There’s a heavy favorite from the Chad Brown barn that figures to be very tough in this race. Lay The Groundwork (#2) has two starts on the turf for Brown, finishing second in a solid N1X allowance at Belmont two back. She moved to stakes company last month, going in the Christiana Stakes at Delaware where she crossed the line third, beaten only a length. However, she was disqualified that day and placed last. She has been based here and makes her first start on this course against a field that is considerably softer than her last two starts. She’ll be covered on most of my tickets, but I’ll take a shit with Woohoo Jackie Blue (#10) as my top pick, while routing for the first time today. She’s run very well in two turf sprints at the meet, signaling that she could want to route. She’s sired back Jack Milton, out of an unraced Lookin at Lucky mare. Her only other foal to race broke his maiden going 7 and ½ furlongs on the turf, which is a two turf race at Delaware. She was very good when winning her debut handily this winter at Oaklawn on the dirt. She was a $50K claim at that meet and has continued to improve. On deeper tickets, I’ll cover with the logical alternative to the favorite, Midnight Diva (#8) is coming out of the infamous race where Paco Lopez got her off the rail, but impeded Nik Juarez’s mount, nearly causing a spill. Both riders were suspended after a disqualification and a post race dust-up. While I think this filly may be more fit for this race, I’m not sure she’s the same filly that was running so well last year for Michael McCarthy in Southern California. I also think this distance might be a tad short for her, thinking that her speed is more effective at nine or ten furlongs. I’ll cover with her, but I prefer the top two today.
The day will conclude with a $25K-$20K maiden claiming contest for three year olds and up going 1 mile and 70 yards. I really like Strategic (#1) in this spot, making his first start off the Claudio Gonzalez claim. He was 6th at this level in his second career start last month when running for Jerry Hollendorfer. He sprinted twice, but I think he can go longer. His sire, Unified, is only getting 7% with his runners in their first route race, but he did win the Peter Pan going the one turn nine furlongs at Belmont. He’s worked well and adds blinkers for this race, which tells me I think the goal is to put him on the lead. He drew the rail for this assignment and should offer some value here. I think he could take them all the way. Leopardi (#4) is the logical alternative and the one I’ll cover with in this spot. His lone race at two turns on dirt came against a sharp maiden special weight group here two back where he was third best, but 12+ lengths behind the winner. He drops in class after a dull try with $40K-$30K maiden claimers on the grass here last week. I like the quick turnaround for him and with the drop in class and return to dirt racing, he figures to be right in the mix.
Top Pick Winners: 96/375 (25.6%) – $729.10/ $1.94 ROI