After we lost Sunday’s Card due to the heavy rain and winds from Tropical Strom/Hurricane Henri last week, Monmouth has brought back several of the races from that card this afternoon. The normal six race Friday program has been expanded to a ten race card with the first post going off at 3:00 P.M (Eastern Time) instead of the normal 5:00 post time. Looking ahead, next Friday (9/3), will also have a first post of 3:00. After that, the last three remaining Friday cards in September will start at 12:15 in the afternoon. The first and third place riders in the current jockey standings, Paco Lopez and Jose Ferrer, are not named on any mounts this afternoon. Isaac Castillo has moved into second place overall in the standings, but he’s 27 wins behind Lopez. The race for leading trainer is more competitive, with Wayne Potts in first with 24 wins, three wins in front of Jose Delgado, four wins ahead of Kelly Breen, and seven in front of Claudio Gonzalez.
|1||1,3||2,7||5||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|2||5||1||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|5||6||1,2||3||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|6||2,5||1||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|7||5,7||3,4||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 1: Top Pick: 1
With the expanded card, there are two Pick-5 sequences to bet on, and the Win Early Pick-5 starts here with a $16K-$14K maiden claiming race on the turf for fillies and mares, three and up. Lullaby Land (2) and Fast Fashion (7) were second and third, respectively, at this level in a race on August 1st, which was won easily by Wicked Groove. Both three year old fillies have had several chances to break their maiden to no avail. They’re both consistent runners that are likely to be in the thick of things. I will use them as “B” horses in the multi-race wagers, as I think they are both capable, but vulnerable, and likely to be too short of a price for my taste. I’ll try Ignition Key (1) as my top pick in her second race off the layoff for Tom Morley. She was 5th in the same race the top two are coming out of, but she was only two lengths behind Lullaby Land. It’s not surprising she got a little leg weary late when she was only making her second career start and her first start since November 2020. Masu (3) is making her third start off the layoff and getting back on the turf after a dull effort sprinting in the mud at Belmont last month. She faced New York bred $40K maiden claimers in her first start of the year, finishing 10th of 12 that day, 7+ lengths off the winner in a seven furlong turf sprint. Her two turn race with state bred maiden special weight horses in November wasn’t that bad though, and she won’t have to improve much off that effort to be a winner here. On deeper tickets, Tiebreak (5) isn’t the worst longshot to take a swing with. She ran okay in her debut in a two turn maiden special weight race on the turf at Remington last November. She went off form with maiden special weight foes at Sam Houston, and was dull in her return at Louisiana Downs in May when running in an off the turf sprint. She drops in for a tag for the first time in her 6th career start. She has joined the Joseph Mazza barn, and could be a factor if she can run back to her effort in her debut.
Race 2: Top Pick: 5
Three of the nine entered in this optional claiming/N1X sprint were entered in a multi-conditioned $30K-$25K claiming race on Sunday. This race came up considerably tougher though with the presence of Money Ride (5), who returns to dirt racing after a dull pair of races at Woodbine on turf and synthetic. He has been on the board in 13 of 16 career starts on the main track, winning six of them. He drops in class and runs for the tag as he cleared this N1X condition a while back. His spring form in New York and Maryland is good enough to beat this field, in which some of the other contenders are moving up the class ladder. Speeding Kid (1) has met a runaway winner in his last two races at this level, and he might be facing the same fate again today if Money Ride runs back to his spring form. However, he should have a decent pace to close into as both Algebraic (8) and Don’t Losemymoney (9) both want to be on the lead and both are without their usual pilots today. If Money Ride gets sucked into that duel, perhaps Speeding Kid would be the one that could pick up the pieces.
Race 3: Top Pick: 6
This multi-conditioned $7,500-$6,500 claiming race was brought back from Sunday, and eight of the nine that had originally entered are back here. Of the course, the one horse that didn’t re-enter was the 12-1 longshot that I wanted to play (Tamiami). Shang’s Sister (1) burned a lot of money getting back on the dirt last out at this level, finishing third as the 11-10 favorite. She was claimed by Jose Delgado who brings her right back at the same level. She had drawn the outside on Sunday, and is now slotted on the rail, which might not be ideal. At a short price, I’m going to use her, but I’ll make Hightime Valentine (6) my top pick. She takes a significant drop in class for Darien Rodriguez after struggling in her first three starts of the meet. She was trending in the right direction when she left Tampa and perhaps the class relief can help her right the ship. Mi Cleopatra and I (7) has two straight wins that this level, but she does face a tougher field this afternoon. On the other hand, she has been a new horse since employing front running tactics, and she doesn’t have a ton of competition for the early lead. She’s responsible for 40% of Jose Panaijo’s wins at the current meet. If she’s left alone on the front end, she certainly could three-peat.
Race 4: Top Pick: 8
This maiden special weight for two year olds, sprinting 5 and ½ Furlongs on the turf is another race that was brought back from the cancelled Sunday card. This race became a little tougher when Charging Aero (3), who narrowly finished in front of both Summery (8) and Just Jeremy (6) in the same race here on 8/7, joined the group. Summery should benefit from an outer draw this time around, as he had some tough racing luck in his debut. He hesitated slightly as the break and found himself behind both Charging Aero and Just Jeremy in the first quarter. He ranged up three wide, but steadied a bit when he got too close to Just Jeremy. He tried to re-rally between horses, but the winner took his outside lane and Charging Aero drifted out enough to close off his other option. He ran on well to be third, but certainly could have won that race with a better trip. I think he’s less likely to encounter trouble from this outside post and he should get the job done today. Angeli Blu (4) finished mid-pack in a tough maiden special weight heat at 6 Furlongs on the turf at Belmont in his debut. He was dull when trying the main track when his last race was washed off the turf. His pedigree suggests a softer course wouldn’t be an issue. Both Charging Aero and Just Jeremy certainly could renew their pace battle again. They both dug in well to hold 2nd and 4th respectively last out. I prefer the top two today, but will use these guys on deeper tickets, as there’s reason to believe both could step forward off their last tries.
Race 5: Top Pick: 6
The conditions of this race are identical to the conditions of the 3rd race, except that the third race was for the ladies, and this field is open to anyone. This is another race that was brought back from the cancelled Sunday card. I handicapped that race expecting a sloppy course, and when doing so, I made Boy Who Cried Wolf (6) my top pick, based off his big effort in the slop in his debut and the drop in class. While I might prefer him in the slop, I think he’s playable on a fast track as well and is still worthy of being a top pick in a wide open race. He moves into a barn that has a significantly higher winning percentage that his previous outfit. Toss his last where he had issues on the first turn, trying two turns for the first time with a much sharper field. He cuts back and gets considerable class relief, while offering some solid value on the morning line (12-1). Savatiano (1) was a horse that I picked on top in a race last week, where he ended up scratching. He was claimed by Guadalupe Preciado for $12,500 at Parx back in May, and hasn’t been seen on the track since. I don’t love the drop to the $7,500 claiming level, but he’s been working well enough at Parx in preparation for his return. He makes some sense in this spot as well. Super Wise (2) broke his maiden here with $10K maiden claimers in the mud two back. He faced winners at two turns on this course last out and came up short. He still ran a credible race that day, showing that he is still improving. Cutting back to 6 Furlongs makes sense for this son of Super Saver. Kwist (3) has one huge race that would dominate at this level and four others that probably aren’t good enough. He gets some serious class relief coming in from Pimlico where he was last seen facing $16K multi-conditioned claiming foes. I’ll add him on some multi-race tickets, but taking 5-2 or lower on him feels like poor value. I do prefer him to the other short price in here, Deo Forte (9), who has done his best work on grass.
Win Early Pick-5 – $60 Ticket
Race 1: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7
Race 2: 5
Race 3: 1, 6, 7
Race 4: 4, 8
Race 5: 1, 2, 3, 6
Race 6: Top Pick: 2
We get our first local look at maiden two year olds on the turf at two turns in this race. I usually prefer horses with experience in these races, but I’ve seen little on the track from horses that have started. There’s also not much in the way of turf pedigrees of those with experience to make me think they’ll be successful here. Chad Brown had two entered in this race on Sunday, but neither were re-entered in this spot. Cedar Beach (2) debuts for Mike Dini and is owned by Ballybrit Stables and is my top pick. They sent out a first time starter last by Long Island Sound in a turf sprint. That one came up empty in a race that was dominated by a two year old filly with a pedigree that was suited to the surface and distance. I think that one could be a productive turf sire and he offers decent value with a $5K stud fee. I think his horses will appreciate longer distances, and American players might not recognize that name yet, allowing for better pari-mutuel value. Jorge Duarte sends out Hooky Player (5), who is a Kitten’s Joy first time starter for Colts Neck Stables. Her works at Colts Neck are on the slower side, but she looks like a horse that could get better with distance. Anything this barn is sending out at this meet needs to be respected at the moment. Midnight Chrome (1) is one to think about on deeper tickets. He faced a promising colt, Defend, who won by eight widening lengths, in his debut in a sprint on the main track at Delaware. While his sire, California Chrome, was a Grade 1 winner on turf and dirt, I prefer his horses on the main track. John Servis does very well with second time starters, and the added distance should not be an issue, but he has no wins in his last fifteen starts with horses making their turf debut.
Race 7: Top Pick: 7
The late Pick-4 starts off with a multi-conditioned $5K claimer, where a few of the shorter priced horses feel vulnerable. The morning line favorite is Paul The Waiter (4), who has been off for two months and plummets to the bottom of the claiming ranks after running a respectable third with time restricted $16K claimers last time. He appears to be the one to beat, but he’ll likely go to post below his 2-1 morning line figure, and I’m not completely convinced we’re going to see his best effort. I’ll cover with him, but I’ll try Chase Runner (7) on top. He made his first start since November at this level two weeks ago. He ran a credible third that day, outrunning his 14-1 odds. His Florida form prior to his layoff was solid, and he ran a big race in a race second off the layoff last year. Wendigo (5) is a relatively steady four year old that has been improving at this level. His last two have been two of his best races in his career, finishing second and third. He has saved his better efforts for this oval and he fits nicely with this group. Flat Bill (3) has been trending in the wrong direction, where his last few have simply not been good. However, he was claimed by Jeffery Englehart, and he has several good races in his past that would make him competitive at this level. At longer odds, he could be worth a look in this spot.
Race 8: Top Pick: 8
The last race carded for the turf today is a maiden special weight race for three year olds and upward, sprinting 5 and ½ Furlongs. Magical Marriage (8) returned from an eight month layoff and tried the turf for the first time in a maiden claiming turf sprint three weeks ago. He ran a credible race to finish 6th when he really had nowhere to run. He’s not without a chance on the main track as well, as he debuted nicely last year at six furlongs on the dirt. Either way, I’m expecting a better effort from him today. Noble Cross (1) has been trying to get a second start on turf in a for a little while now after finishing second in his debut. He ran into Abe Honestly in his first start when that one stepped up to run a monster race. Paco Lopez is not riding today, so he’ll get the services of Hector Diaz. He might want to go a bit farther though, so I’m not willing to take too short of a price on the morning line favorite. Morethanaconqueror (9) ran two decent races in turf sprints at this level last year, but has not sprinted on grass since. His last three efforts have not been his best, but he’s worth a shot at decent odds in hopes that returning to one turn races will help him wake up.
Race 9: Top Pick: 7
The feature race today is an optional $30K claiming/N2X allowance sprint which features some very good horses. Two are coming off impressive local wins where they cleared the N1X condition while two others have gone off form after being graded stakes placed earlier in their careers. There’s a good amount of inside speed signed on, so I’m thinking that this race could set up for a closer. Steadytilready (7) makes a lot of sense in his second race off the layoff. He was flat last out at Parx when making his first start in three months. Prior to that, he had some sharp efforts at the Fair Grounds, some of which would make him very competitive here. He’s shown the ability to sit off a fast pace and finish strongly, and I’m expecting to be able to get a respectable price on him. Meru (6) was second in the Grade 3 Nashua in 2019 at Aqueduct when Independence Day ran a monster race. He struggled in his three year old season while facing mostly stakes foes. His two starts as a four year old haven’t been great, but he faced a very salty group at this condition two back at Belmont. He had some trouble last month at Delaware with similar, when the early pace didn’t really play into his running style. He has both of his career wins on this course and he finds a field where the race flow should set up nicely for him. If he’s going to rebound, this would be the spot. Of the early speed horses, I think Sagamore Mischief (1) is the one that might have the best chance to stay on in this race. He draws the rail for the third consecutive race and is coming off a race at this level, where a horse with some back class, Much Better, ambushed the field early and kept finding late. He’s run well in all three starts at the meet, so it’s fair to say that he’s in good form.
Race 10: Top Pick: 4
Curlin’s Thrill (4) has been very good with soft fields since trying the dirt for the first time two starts ago. He moves up in class again after destroying a $10K maiden claiming field and getting up in the nick of time to beat multi-conditioned $7,500-$6,500 claimers last out. He was claimed by a sharp claiming trainer in Darien Rodriguez, who moves up him the class ladder to a multi-conditioned $12,500-$10,500 race (N3L/3yo) where he should be very tough once again. Roaring River (5) may have the pace advantage here, as he looks faster than Kentucky Cool (6) or Juan Boly (1) in the early stages of this race. He ran a pretty good race in the mud three back at Pimlico, fading to third against $16K-$14K N2L claimers. He cleared that condition in his subsequent start. He’s hit the board in 6 of 8 career starts and should be right there with these today. Kentucky Cool was beaten by Bananas on Fire (3) two weeks ago, but he had a very odd trip that day. He took the early lead on the first turn, using the rail post to his advantage. I’m not sure if Montalvo was sleeping, but he was passed by Bananas on Fire early in the run up the backstretch, causing him to lose his position. He looked like he was fading out of the picture and destined for an up the track finish. However, he swung widest of all coming off the second turn, and re-rallied to get up to be third, beaten less than two lengths. He has better races in his past and two turns on the dirt is where he has been best. I’m expecting a better effort today as he wheels right back at the same level with Heriberto Figueroa piloting him now. Bananas on Fire is the only horse that wasn’t entered in this race last week. He was a winner at this condition two weeks ago, when he benefitted from a heads up ride from Jomar Torres. I think that field was not quite as good as this group though, and I’m not sure that the value will be where it should be on this one.
Meet Stats: 98/360 (Top Pick Winners) – $606.30 / $1.68 ROI per $2 win bet