The Sunday card is highlighted the Jersey Shore Stakes for three year olds sprinting 6 Furlongs on the main track. Some good names that accomplished a lot on the track and in the breeding shed have won this race over the years. Past winners include Smoke Glacken, Yes It’s True, Disco Rico, City Zip, Henny Hughes, and Custom for Carlos to name a few. Steve Asmussen and Ron Moquett have trained the last two Eclipse Winning Champion Sprinters (Mitole and Whitmore), and both have a contender entered in this race today. The forecast calls for a beautiful day in Oceanport to take in the races this afternoon.
|1||9||1,8||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|2||2,5||3||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|6||7||1,2,3||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|7||3||2,5,8||1||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|8||1,2,6||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 1: Top Pick: 9
The day starts on the grass with maiden claimers running with a $16K-$14K tag going 1 Mile and 1/16 out of the chute. I think Perpetual Change (9) on the drop in class is the one to beat for Kelly Breen. He was a respectable 5th last out at Belmont when facing New York bred $40K maiden claimers. His best race came in his debut at Aqueduct when he went two turns with state bred maiden special weight horses and, while he continues to run the same distance, he gets back to two turns in his third start off the layoff today. I think he’s very dangerous with this group. Powerful Point (1) lost all chance at the break in his debut, when he stumbled badly, spotting the field several lengths. He was moving well enough late to think that he can run a bit. Handal drops him in class and turns over the reins to New York based rider, Jalon Samuel, after Paco Lopez opted to ride the morning line favorite, Drum and Drummer (7). I think this one has significantly more upside though. Kanithappen (8) also exits a New York bred $40K maiden claiming contest last out. Prior to that, he was 4th, about five lengths behind Drum and Drummer when facing a much tougher $16K maiden claiming field at Gulfstream. He was bumped hard at the break, and never really go to run his race that day. I think he can outfinish Drum and Drummer today at longer odds. Drum and Drummer just missed against a much softer field at this condition two back, when he was sent to post as the heavy 7-10 favorite. He was wide and a non-factor against $30K-$25K maiden claimers last out. He seems to have gone off form since the Dini claim. I don’t love his chances here and am definitely playing against him in this spot.
Race 2: Top Pick: 2
The second half of the early double is an $8K-$7K claiming contest, restricted to horses that have never won four races. The morning line favorite, Alejandro’s Team (2) is going to be tough to beat in this race. He was claimed for $6,250 at Gulfstream by Steve Klesaris three starts back. He paid immediate dividends by winning a multi-conditioned $20K-$16K claiming race in his next start. He returned from a two month layoff to be a dull 4th with open $12,500 claimers there when catching a sloppy track. He comes north and returns to two turns, where he has proven to be very effective. He should be tough in this spot today. Mission Oberon (5) has gone off form a bit after running some solid races against better fields at Parx. His last two on the turf and in the mud were poor, but he drops considerably in class in hopes of finding the better form he showed in Philly earlier this year. This should be his first start on fast track in his last five tries. El Pillo (3) is cross-entered in a race tomorrow at Delaware where he is based, so there’s no guarantee that he’s shipping here to run as the second choice on the morning line. I think the other two are more enticing, regardless of if he runs, but Andrew Simoff has been very live with the horses he’s shipped here from the First State. He is in good form, winning two of his last four and finishing second in his last try and leading rider, Paco Lopez gets the mount.
Race 3: Top Pick: 5
Time restricted $8K-$7K claimers go here in the third race of the afternoon. Inedatequila (5) has gone off form at Delaware this summer after running several quality efforts in Florida that would be very competitive at this level here. I’m going to hope that she just doesn’t like the surface over there, and that she can rebound with a change of scenery. She is dropping in class and could find herself alone on the lead here, as there isn’t a ton of other speed signed on. The main danger appears to be the morning line favorite, Lil Miss Hotshot (1), who exits a win with $5K time restricted claimers last out at Parx. She dominated that field after not visiting the Winner’s Circle since December of 2019. Her last three efforts in two turn races have been solid though, hitting the board in all three. She ran a credible race here three starts ago and figures to be tough again this afternoon.
Race 4: Top Pick: 7
I’m not sold on the two shortest prices on the morning line in this multi-conditioned $5K claimer. Tuff Bird (8) keeps getting hammered at the windows and she keeps disappointing, hitting the board, but never running a winning race. Fun Paddy (4) has the best recent figures, but hasn’t run since being claimed for $8K in January. Her best races are at two turns, so I’m not buying her here on the claim and drop. I’m going to take Verrazano Vittoria (7) as my top pick. She tried the turf in starter allowance company last month at Parx, which didn’t go well. She now makes her third start of the year after a respectable return to the races on July 6th. Her dirt form stacks up well in this race. Iron Lilly (6) has been off since May where she struggled in her last two starts with open claiming company. She was sharp in the winter when facing time restricted claimers. She has shown the ability to come from off the pace, which may be a valuable tactic in a race where several have been struggling to finish races lately. While I’ll try to beat her in the vertical wagers, I’ll cover with Tuff Bird on some of the horizontal wagers as she her recent form is good enough if some of the shippers aren’t at their best. Her trainer, Jose Delgado was only one win in his last 22 local starts though. On level deeper tickets, I’ll add Creedibility (2) who was a longshot in her last at this level when going two turns here in June. She has only one win in 16 starts at this distance, but she’s hit the board eleven other times. She’s probably better suited for the bottom of the vertical exotics, but she’s another one that could show up if this race completely falls apart.
Race 5: Top Pick: 8
Exact (8) is a very nice turf sprinting three year old filly that was claimed off Todd Pletcher by Douglas Nunn two starts back. After dominating the field in an off the turf race at the $16K-$14K multi-conditioned claiming level, she moved up the class ladder to today’s condition, which is the multi-conditioned $30K-$25K level. She handily won at this level a few weeks ago and comes right back again today. Some of these are exiting the same race, and the closest anyone got to her was about 4 and ½ lengths. I’m not seeing how any of them are going to make up that difference, unless the favorite falters. Exact has been a short priced single at the end of the Pick-5 in her last two local starts, and she’s the same again for me today.
Win Early Pick-5 Ticket: #36.00 Play
Race 1: 1, 8, 9
Race 2: 2, 3, 5
Race 3: 1, 5
Race 4: 2, 6, 7, 8
Race 5: 8
Race 6: Top Pick: 7
This is an interesting multi-conditioned $30K-$25K claiming race for fillies and mares at six furlongs on the main track. Six of the seven entered are three year old fillies and two of them, Greatest Love (1) and Kandy Ginger (2), are shipping in from a common race at Saratoga last month. Neither of those fillies ran particularly well, and they’re both running into a very sharp filly in Guns Blazing (7). I’m thinking that even though she’s at 2-1 on the morning line, she still might offer a little value with the shippers in here. She was third to a pair of very nice fillies, Ray Arewethereyet and Liam’s Light, both of who came back to win at the N2X and the N1X allowance levels, respectively. She tried the turf last time out against a tough field last out at Pimlico, which would be a toss race for me. She’s an improving three year old that is farther ahead in her development than the trio of three year old fillies that are all 3-1 on the morning line. The longshots in here seem very overmatched, and there’s not much separating Greatest Love, Kandy Ginger, and, Overdressed (3). I’ll cover with this trio on some deeper tickets.
Race 7: Top Pick: 3
This is the third of four legs in the Malouf Auto Starter Series, this one scheduled for 1 Mile and 1/8 on the turf course. Only eight have entered in this leg, where the morning line favorite, Mid Day Image (3) is going to try to carry his speed, going a longer distance than he’s ever gone before. He comes in this race as the lone speed, as his front-running rival, Abiding Star, did not enter. His last race on the dirt was his first race in a long time where the pace wasn’t aggressive on the front end, and he ran an excellent race to be second that day. Luis Carvajal will become eligible for some of the trainer bonuses in this series, as this will be his third start in the four race set. He won three straight on turf over the winter, showing that when he is going good, he usually stays that way. I think he can carry his speed in this paceless race. If you don’t believe Mid Day Image can get the distance, this becomes a spread race, as several horses are evenly matched in here. I’m going to try to find some value, and look for who horses that might get first run on the morning line favorite. Drillomatic (8) may be that horse, as he gets an outside draw for the second straight race. He came with a length and a half of Beach Traffic (1) with $16K-$14K N4L claimers last out. This is his third start off the claim for Kelly Breen, who seems to have him trending in the right direction. Small Hope (5) ran last week in a turf sprint, which seemed to be more of a public workout for this race. He has shown ability at longer distances and he may have his eye on the 11 Furlong contest that concludes this series next month. Kent Sweezey has been very strategic with his starters at this meet, winning with 11 of 38 runners thus far, and I think he’ll run better here today getting back to two-turn racing. Cash Call Kitten (2) likes to come from off the pace, and has been running very well in the competitive open $12,500-$10,500 claiming races on the grass here. He stretches out to nine furlongs for the second time in his career, which, according to his pedigree, shouldn’t be an issue. I’m a bit concerned that the pace setup won’t be there for him though. The best case scenario for him would be for the tempo to pick up down the backside if a rider gets impatient and forces Mid Day Image to go faster earlier than he wants to. Beach Traffic has earned a start in this series after two straight wins with restricted claimers. He’s definitely in good form as well and is another live runner in this race, but he too, may be pace dependent.
Race 8: Top Pick: 6
The late Pick-4 starts with a 5 and ½ Furlong maiden special weight race on the main track for three year olds and up. Lemon Creek Louie (6) debuted in a New Jersey Bred maiden special weight race last month, and ran well to be a close third that day. He was narrowly defeated by Metedeconk and Pogi (4), the latter of which goes here. Pogi has been heavily bet in state bred maiden special weight races, but continues to disappoint. I don’t think he has a forward move here while moving to open maiden special weight company. This is definitely a step up in class for Lemon Creek Louie, but there’s reason to believe that this modestly bred son of Beautyinthepulpit could take a step forward in start number two. He looks to offer the best value in the field. Mo Mischief (1) comes from the Pletcher barn and makes his second start of the year after making his first 2021 start in a tough maiden special weight field on the Haskell undercard. The debut winner, Spun and Won, was a strong second place finisher in a very good optional claiming/N1X allowance race in his subsequent start. Paco Lopez is going to have to likely gun it from the rail with this blue-blooded son of Into Mischief, but he certainly has the ability to keep finding. Best Bet (2) is another well-bred, high priced colt in here. This son of Uncle Mo makes his debut for Kelly Breen after working well since joining this barn at the beginning of July. He certainly could be a runner and should be respected in this race as well.
Race 9: Top Pick: 8
The last Pick-3 on the card starts with a solid N1X allowance contest at 1 Mile and 1/16 on the turf course. Eamonn (8) is dropping in class after a pair of respectable tries with three year olds in stakes company here and at Delaware. He was in very good form when he left Gulfstream, winning twice and just missing in a race at this level. He was beaten by a very good horse, Yes This Time, on a soft course in the Grade 3 Kent two back, and he ran a respectable 4th behind Founder in the Tale of the Cat here two weeks ago. He fits at this level and should offer decent value if he goes off around his 9-2 morning line figure. Eagerly (2) has been very sharp in his last two turf starts since joining the Jerry Hollendorfer barn. He dueled with Quiberon Bay in the opening race on the Haskell undercard, losing by less than a length. It took him a while to put things together, but he’s been very sharp of late and should be respected here. Mohs (3) is the morning line favorite, coming in off a monster race in an off the turf maiden special weight contest here last month. He tried the turf two back at Delaware and just missed with maiden special weight company. This will be his first real test and 5-2 seems a little too short for my liking on a horse facing a decent group of winners for the first time. I’d argue that he has the highest ceiling in the group, and keeping Paco Lopez certainly helps. I’ll use him on some of the tickets, but I’ll try to beat him. Takafumi (6) is a horse that I’ve been high on for a while, but he hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. While he showed promise as a turf sprinter, his two races at two turns on the grass have been decent. Reylu Gutierrez, who has most recently been riding in the mid-Atlantic region at Colonial Downs, is named to ride his first mount of the meet on this Midshipman gelding.
Race 10: The Jersey Shore Stakes: Top Pick: 6
Two of the seven horses entered in this three year old stakes race, Fire Sword (2) and Upstriker (7) are entered without a rider named, so whether they start or not remains to be seen. They are both part of the early pace situation here, but even if both scratch out, there is a lot of early speed signed on in this contest. Indian Lake (6) is an unlikely horse in the race, coming off a win in a 12 Furlong stakes race on the turf at Pimlico last month. This son of Daredevil has started in a variety of races at a variety of distances and surfaces, but he always runs an honest race. He closed well in a sprint race at this distance three back at Pimlico, where the pace scenario was less than ideal. I think he stands to benefit from a hot early pace and has the stamina edge to run by everyone in the stretch. Moonlite Strike (1) and Real Talk (4) are both coming off solid efforts in the 7 Furlong Carry Back Stakes at Gulfstream on their Summit of Speed card last month. Real Talk finished second that day, a little bit in front of Moonlite Strike. Moonlite Strike dominated the Roar Stakes at 6 and ½ Furlongs two starts back, while Real Talk ran well, continuing to find despite a fast early pace to clear the N1X condition. Both are live in this spot, and stand a better chance if some of the other speed scratches. Mighty Mischief (3) is the only graded stakes winner in the field, winning the Grade 3 Chick Lang on the Preakness undercard. That race was over when they let him get away with an opening quarter of 23 flat. He was under more pressure last out in the Concern Stakes, where he folded up to finish a beaten second as the 3-10 favorite. I prefer some of the others here, but I’ll use him on some of the deeper tickets.
Race 11: Top Pick: 7
The nightcap is a turf sprint for $16K-$14K multi-conditioned claimers. This is one of those races where I think Red Mule (1), who is 9-5 on the morning line, will be a heavy favorite, but I don’t think he’s that much better than some of the others in here to justify that short of a price. His price will likely drop lower, seeing as how he’s sent out by the leading trainer, Wayne Potts, and ridden by the leading jockey, Paco Lopez. However, I don’t love the rail draw for him. He’s definitely live and I’ll make sure he’s covered on the multi-race tickets, but I think there’s value in playing against him. San Antone (7) just got nipped at the wire at this level last time out, when making his second career start in a turf sprint. Both of his efforts sprinting on the grass have been solid and there’s reason to believe he can move forward off that effort. Grand Union (5) had many respectable tries in turf sprints with maiden claiming company at Gulfstream before breaking through three starts back. He faced winners for the first time two back at Gulfstream, and ran okay, having some traffic issues in a full field of twelve, going five furlongs. I think the extra half furlong could play well for him in his first local start on the turf. Barahin (9) ran well at this level in an off the turf race two starts back. He faltered last out with better horses at two turns. This will be his first start in a turf sprint, which may be suitable to him as his two-turn turf try two starts back wasn’t that bad.
Meet Stats: 89/331 (Top Pick Winners) – $560.70 / $1.69 ROI per $2 win bet