The week of racing kicks off with some carryover inflated pools this evening. The Jersey Shore 6 starts in Race 1 and it begins with a $21,891 carryover. The Friday Pick-5, which gets under way in Race 2 offers a double-carryover of $201,241, which should definitely be enticing players this evening. Paco Lopez has blown up the competition in the jockey standings, taking a commanding 14 race lead over Jose Ferrer. Meanwhile, Wayne Potts has taken his turn heating up as he now has a three race lead in the trainer standings over Jose Delgado. Delgado, who was red hot at the beginning of July, hasn’t won a race here in the last two weeks.
|1||5,6,8||3||7||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|2||5||1,8||4||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|3||1,4||3||8||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 1: Top Pick: 8
The opener is a $7,500-$6,500 multi-conditioned claiming contest that is not an easy way to start the Jersey Shore 6 sequence. This race oversubscribed, so the racing office split it into two divisions, with the second being run as the 4th race. I think Trapped N My Mind (8) could be the one to beat in her second race off the layoff. She made her first start since March when she dropped to this level for the first time in her career back in June. She caught a strong field, which was the deepest field at this condition at this meet thus far. She was a dull 8th that day in a race where the second and third place finishers came back to run very well in their subsequent starts. Despite having only one win in 22 starts, she has run the most consistent figures in the group and she has some good races on this oval. Mi Cleopatra and I (5) comes back two weeks after clearing the N3L condition, blowing up the tote board at 51-1. Typically, I struggle to play horses like this back in their next start, but she is a three year old filly that has won three times, facing a field of seven other horses that have only won once. She has shown considerable improvement in her last two sprint races, and both of those efforts are likely good enough to be right there with these. Politely Crowned (6) has struggled in her last two dirt sprints, however, she had a rough trip last out with tougher, when she had issues at the break and was floated wide on the turn before fading. This New Jersey bred mare drops to the lowest level in her career in her second race of the year. I could see her taking a step forward. Cookies and Cream (3) is one to consider on deeper tickets as she does have the best early foot in the group. She returns to Monmouth after facing winners for the first time at Pimlico last month. She was well backed that day, but she ran into a buzzsaw when Miss Old Bay freaked and dominated that race, winning by 12 lengths. Cookies and Cream didn’t regress too much from a figure standpoint, so there’s reason to believe she can keep finding if she’s left alone on the front end, as she was two back when breaking her maiden. On deeper tickets, I’d also toss in Charging Renee (7) who is another one making her second start of the year. She showed nothing when facing tougher last, and her last three have not been good. However, she could right the ship on the drop, as she was consistently running races that would work here last year.
Race 2: Top Pick: 5
The Pick-5 with the large $200K+ carryover gets underway here with a New Jersey bred, optional $30K claiming/N2X allowance for fillies and mares at 6 Furlongs on the main track. The presence of both Jersey Jewel (1) and D’Tiger Lily (6), both fresh off of gate to wire wins at the OC/N1X state bred level, should ensure an honest pace for an off the pace type like Alta Velocita (5). She has been very good since joining Andrew Simoff’s barn three starts back. She cleared the NJ Bred N1X condition on opening night, and followed that up with a win in open starter allowance company two starts back. She moved up to this level two starts back and was narrowly defeated as the 7-10 favorite that day. As long as the other two go, she should have a solid pace to close into. Paco Lopez, who has been winning with everything over the last few weeks, gets the assignment. Princess Georgia (8) has been away since winning the Spruce Fir Stakes here on opening weekend. She has won three straight races for trainer Calixto Juarez, who will give the leg up to his son, Nik today. She is another one that could benefit from a solid pace battle early on. Jersey Jewel is undefeated on wet tracks, but is 0-2 on fast surfaces, which is something to consider here. Kent Sweezey has been sharp, winning with 10 of 30 starters at the meet thus far. Of the two pace setters, I think she is more likely to be able to run on with her inside post and her strong effort last out. Even though it has been as dominant as it’s been in years past, rail speed is never a bad thing to have on this course. I don’t know what kind of value we’ll be getting, but her last was good enough to make sure she’s covered in the multi-race exotics. On deeper tickets, Dantastic (4) is one to think about, coming back a week after a dull, two-turn effort with open optional claiming/N2X company. She was only a length behind the winner two back at this level, and less than a length away from Alta Velocita. She is a closer that certainly could wind up getting first run on Alta Velocita or Princess Georgia, however, consistency is not a strength of hers, so value will be important.
Race 3: Top Pick: 1
The second of three optional claiming allowance races in this sequence is the only one that is for open company. This is a strong field for this condition, with several live runners that are in good form. My First Grammy (1) is my top pick by a narrow margin. He is staying at this level, but dropping in class after competing in a very sharp N1X field at 9 Furlongs up at Saratoga. Second place finisher that day, Clayonthelionheart, already came back to win in an off the turf 10 Furlong allowance race at The Spa. He has been in good form and is very logical getting class relief with a circuit change. Brice (4) has ripped off four straight wins in claiming company, three of them coming on this oval. He was claimed last out for $22K and he makes his first start for Jerry Hollendorfer tonight. He runs in allowance company without the tag for the first time since January back at Tampa. That was not his best effort that day, however, he’s been in much better form since then. I think he can set the pace if Castillo wants to, or turn up the pressure on either Exchequer (2) or Spun and Won (8) if one of them takes command. Wild Banker (3) could be very dangerous in here as well, in his second start off the layoff and returning from a turf race at this level on Haskell Day. He ran very well in four races at the one turn mile at Aqueduct earlier in the year. Trainer, Mike Dini, who is also a part owner of this Central Banker gelding, has good numbers with horses making their second start off the layoff and going turf to dirt. Paco Lopez picks up the mount, which further helps his cause. On deeper tickets, Spun and Won (8) could be an interesting addition. He debuted in a strong maiden special weight race here last month to win first asking, while going 6 Furlongs. He adds distance, which based on his pedigree, shouldn’t be a concern, but he’s definitely moving up in class. He’ll need to take a step forward, but he certainly looks like he could be a nice horse.
Race 4: Top Pick: 3
The conditions here are identical to the first race on the card. Shang’s Sister (3) looks like she could be tough in this race. Joe Orseno is employing a lot of changes, going turf to dirt, cutting back from two turns to one turn, and dropping dramatically in class. While that is a concern, she has sprinted on the dirt at Gulfstream earlier in her career. She has been facing the best horses of anyone in the group and she just looks better than many of these this afternoon. I think Chispita (5), fresh off a $10K maiden claiming win, has another forward move in her. She responded well last out after ducking out and losing her rider two starts back. She has shown an ability to come from of the pace, and there appears to be some cheap speed signed on here that could set things up nicely for her. I struggled with what to make of Hightime Valentine (7) as her last three races here with better were nowhere near as good as the last race she ran before leaving Tampa. When you look at her resume as a whole, that race on 4/17 seems to be more of the aberration, as opposed to the norm. I’ll cover with her on deeper tickets as she is taking a decent drop in class, but I prefer others. Purda Vita (4) is one that I’d upgrade if Misspotofgold (2), who ran last week, scratches out of this spot. They both want to be forwardly placed, and they both have trouble hanging around late. I think if they both run, there’s a big chance that they will cancel each other out. If Misspotofgold does scratch, I think Purda Vita could get a loose lead and might start to get brave in the stretch.
Race 5: Top Pick: 1
The horse I like the most in this race is Saltin’ The Rim (1), as I think he can rebound and offer a little bit of value as he tries two turns for the first time this evening. He was a little slow to get started last out and found himself behind two walls of horses in a large field at this OC/N1X state bred allowance level. Paco Lopez rode him a bit impatiently that day, and he never really had a lane to run through. I think he’s a horse that absolutely should be better at two turns in his third start off the layoff. I view him as the horse with the highest ceiling in a race where many of these horses have peaked already. I think his main rival in this race, Crafty Don (9) is going to have his work cut out for him while breaking from the outside, with some speed drawn inside of him. He ran a big race in the third race in his form cycle in 2020, so he could be sitting on one of his better efforts. This is another spot where Paco Lopez likely had the choice of he wanted to ride, and he ended up here. On deeper tickets, Postino’s Vow (8) is another one to consider, as he just missed when sprinting at this level two back. He has finished in front of Crafty Don the last two times they met. He does some have decent two turn efforts, but my concern is that I think he’s more effective as a sprinter, and would be really good if there was a 6 and ½ or 7 Furlong option for New Jersey bred horses.
Race 6: Top Pick: 2
The nightcap is the only turf race carded today. It is for $30K-$25K maiden claimers, sprinting 5 Furlongs on the grass. Two Steppin Kluki (2) interests me, especially if he goes off at or near his 6-1 morning line figure. He has never sprinted on the turf, and has never run shorter than 7 Furlongs in his five race career. His dam was a winner on turf, and the dam sire, Johar, was a Breeders’ Cup Turf winner. Two Step Salsa had some success at two turns, but he’s sired some solid sprinters (think Conquest Two Step). The five furlong distance might be a hair short, but his best races have come on the turf and he’s dropping for a tag for the first time. Military Drill (4) is the main danger, as his last turf sprint race at Gulfstream three starts ago, was by far his best effort. He went two turns on grass two starts back, and faded badly. He ran better, albeit not very fast, last time out on the dirt. I’m expecting a much better effort cutting back to 5 Furlongs and getting back on the lawn. Magical Marriage (3) is one that I might use on the deepest tickets, but I’m mostly watching him this time, and waiting until his next start to see if I want to bet him. He’s sired by Magician, so there’s definitely reason to believe that he’ll be successful on the grass. He makes his first start of the year for Patrick McBurney, whose horses typically need a race before they’re at the their best.
Pick 5 Play – $64.00 Ticket
Race 2: 1, 4, 5, 8
Race 3: 1, 3, 4, 8
Race 4: 3, 5
Race 5: 1, 9
Race 6: 2, 4
Meet Stats: 79/286 (Top Pick Winners) – $510.40 / $1.78 ROI per $2 win bet