This 14 race card is one of the better betting cards of the meet. The feature is the 12th race, which is the Tyro Stakes for two year olds sprinting on the turf. Wesley Ward won the filly counterpart to this race, the Colleen, last Sunday with Miss Alacrity. He entered a pair of fillies in this race this afternoon to take on the boys. Overall, there are four races for two years olds on the card with a maiden special weight race on the turf in Race 2 and a pair of 6 Furlong maiden special weight races for two year old fillies in Races 4 and 7.
|1||3||5,7||2||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|2||2,5,7||8||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|6||2,8||3||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|9||3||1,8||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|10||2||14||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|11||6,7||2,3||4||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 1: Top Pick: 3
The card starts with a tricky optional claiming/N1X allowance race for fillies and mares at six furlongs. Of the seven that are entered, there are four that made their last start at another track, and the three horses that ran locally last out are all moving up in class. I ended up on Matunuck (3), who was a much the best winner here two weeks ago when facing $12,500-$10,500 multi-conditioned claimers on the dirt. This is a big step up in class, but she has some things working in her favor here. She has never run a bad race on the main track, making significant improvement each time she’s run. She stretched out from 5 to 6 Furlongs last time out, and had plenty left, winning by 4 and ½ lengths over a respectable field for that condition. She’ll need to take another step forward today, but there’s not a ton of speed signed on for this race, so I think she’ll get a good trip on or near the front end. I like the confidence that Claudio Gonzalez is showing by entering her in a race like this where she’s protected from being claimed, but I also think that this a clever spot for her. Later on in the card, there is a N1X allowance, strictly for three year old fillies that carries the same purse value. Even though she’s facing older horses, I think this is a softer field that what she’d be facing in that spot. No Bull Jack (7) has never been off the board in seven tries on this oval, winning three of those races. She’s a perfect 2-2 this year while moving through the New Jersey bred allowance conditions. This will be her first time facing open company in New Jersey. She’s struggled at the open level at Gulfstream in her four other races, with her best finish being a third place finish in an off the turf maiden claimers where she was beaten 15 lengths last year. I’m also concerned that every time she’s hit the 70+ Beyer range in her career, she’s failed to hit that number in her subsequent start. I’ll cover with her, as I think she’s in good form right now, but there could be value in trying to beat her. Union Gables (5) is back after a disastrous effort at the N1X allowance level at Belmont in June where she stumbled at the start and was ultimately eased. She showed some promise in her debut at Saratoga last year, winning on the main track despite having some trouble. She was a distant third in the off the turf P.G. Johnson Stakes, behind Simply Ravishing in her next start. Her next three starts came on the grass, which may still be her best surface. Pletcher brings her here, as the N1X allowance races at Saratoga on either surface are likely too tough for her at the moment. I have mixed feelings about her as well. On deeper tickets, Sneer (2) is one to consider. She was aided by a brilliant ride by Florent Geroux in a slow-paced maiden special weight race at Delaware to start the Delaware Handicap program last month. Her career started off well back in 2020, before going woefully off form for four races. She was moved to Kent Sweezey’s barn a few starts back, and he has her running better again. While I wasn’t wowed by her effort last time, she could be gaining confidence off that win.
Race 2: Top Pick: 2
The first of five grass races on the card is a maiden special weight for two year olds, going 5 and ½ Furlongs. The horses with racing experience haven’t shown much, so I’m looking to the first time starters in here. Fed Biz has quietly been a solid producer of turf sprinters, and he’s sired Grooms All Bizness (2), which is a Colts Neck Stables homebred, making his first start for Jorge Duarte. They teamed up to win with Spun and Won on debut on the dirt last month. Gerrardo Corrales hasn’t ridden many races for this outfit, but he’s made the most of his opportunities, winning twice when they’ve teamed up. Charging Aero (7) is sent out by Darien Rodriguez for his debut. Rodriguez has won with 27% of his starters in 2021, and he’s had success with first time starters. All of his works have been on the main track and his pedigree doesn’t scream turf, but Paco Lopez has seen enough to take the mount. Summery (5) is a Summer Front first timer, making his debut for Mike Dini. He’s been working steadily on the main track since May, with his times gradually improving. Isaac Castillo, who has been riding well all meet long, takes the mount. The horse with experience that could be worth tossing on some tickets may be Just Jeremy (8) who has drawn the outside post for his second career try and his first go on the grass. He adds Lasix and blinkers for this start after a dull effort in the mud last month. He’s a modest New York bred son of Bustin Stones, who despite having most of his career success sprinting on the dirt, was sired by City Zip, who has been a tremendous turf sire. The dam sire is Freud, who has done very well producing New York breds that sprint on grass. He certainly could move forward on turf at long odds.
Race 3: Top Pick: 8
New Jersey bred fillies and mares go six furlongs in this optional $15K claiming/N1X allowance race. This is the spot I’ve been wanting to bet Taffy Candy (8) in. She was a visually striking maiden winner in her lone start in 2020. She made her three year old debut last month in a race at this condition, when beaten by D’Tiger Lily. She was third while chasing the loose leader home that day. She was 6-1 on the morning line, and bet down to the 8-5 post time favorite that day. She’s had two nice workouts since and should be all systems go for this race, where there should be some early pace to set up her late move. I think she’ll offer some value with the presence of Pomtini (2) who made a massive jump last out to dominate a state bred maiden special weight field by 13 lengths. That was her first start on a fast track after getting two muddy tracks to start her career, so the possibility is there that she can duplicate that huge effort on dry footing here. However, that race came back 32 Beyer points higher than her career top, so she is definitely a bounce candidate that will likely go to post at short odds. I’ll cover her on some deeper tickets, but this seems like a spot to take a swing against her, especially in a sequence where many will be looking at her as a potential single. Oddsondustymiller (5) is a horse that I wrote about in the ITM Newsletter in the Horses to Watch Section on 7/7. She ran a dull effort that day on a tiring track, losing ground early while racing on the slower part of the track. She was cold on the board that day early on, before getting hammered down to the 11-10 post time favorite. Jersey Jewel ran a monster race that day, and this filly just wasn’t her normal self. She looked like she was struggling to get over the track, so I’m willing to draw a line through that race. Prior to that effort, she was definitely trending upward, so I’ll use her as well today.
Race 4: Top Pick: 1
We have a maiden special weight race for two year old fillies at 6 Furlongs that oversubscribed, so the racing office split it into two divisions, with the second race going off as Race 7. There’s not a ton of first time starters that are jumping off the page, and I think we’ll see significant improvement from Miss Yum Yum (1), who wasn’t bad when drawing the rail for her debut last month. She was chasing most of the race when drawing the rail that day in a slower maiden special weight race. She drilled a bullet on 7/27, which was a much sharper drill than what she had been showing in the mornings prior to racing. That tells me she could be sitting on a bigger effort. I don’t love that she’s on the rail again, but she has experience in doing so, and I expect her to be more effective at 6 Furlongs than 5 and ½. Dream Peaceful (4) is the other experienced horse in this race. She ran with $25K maiden claiming fillies in her debut for Jose Camejo last month, finishing second in a three horse photo. The third place finisher in that race came back to beat maiden claimers last week and the fourth place finisher ran a credible effort that day as well. She takes a step up, but that last race wasn’t too far off from the class of the maiden special weight that Miss Yum Yum is exiting. Of the first time starters, Ladro Di Fichi (2) makes the most sense. Of the other trainers, Claudio Gonzalez is the only one with recent success with firsters. She has been working steadily on this course since May and Jeremy Laprida comes in from Parx to ride. Laprida and Gonzalez are 0-6 when teaming up at Monmouth, but they are winning at a 30% clip when they team up elsewhere.
Race 5: Top Pick: 4 (5 if the 4 is scratched)
The last leg of the Win-Early Pick-5 is a 5 and ½ Furlong turf sprint for $16K-$14K N4L claimers. I think the leading trainers have the horses to watch in here. When I handicapped this race on Wednesday night, I thought Our Destiny (4) would be very tough to beat for the potent combination of Wayne Potts and Paco Lopez. However, he ran at Saratoga on Wednesday in starter allowance company, so I’m going to think that he’ll be scratched out of this race. It is possible that he could run, but if he’s absent from this race, it totally changes the way I feel about Monte Ne (5), who should be inheriting the early lead in a race that didn’t have a ton of early pace. Our Destiny clearly has the best speed of the group, and I didn’t like the idea of Monte Ne chasing him, while coming off a three month layoff. However, if Our Destiny is out of the picture, I think things become a lot more comfortable for Monte Ne, who has been proven to be very effective at this level. If Our Destiny comes back on the two days rest, I still would use him on top, as I’m not sure that race the other day took a lot out of him. On deeper tickets, I’ll include Dubai Bobby (6) getting back on the turf for Jose Delgado. He was claimed two back, when he was beaten four lengths by Our Destiny. He ran back at the $20K N3L last out and was a dull 7th when the race was washed off the turf. He had some nice efforts on the turf in 2020 and could improve here. Paco Lopez opted for the favorite, so Jorge Panaijo gets the call. Panaijo was off to a slow start at this meet, but he’s won three times in the last two weeks after only winning once in the first eight.
Win Early Pick-5 Play: $36.00 Ticket
Race 1: 3, 5, 7
Race 2: 2, 5, 7, 8
Race 3: 5, 8
Race 4: 1, 2, 4
Race 5: 5
Race 6: Top Pick: 8
This is a tricky optional $12,500 claiming/$6,250 starter allowance for fillies and mares at one mile on the main track. I’m Not Joking (8) makes her second start after being claimed by Jeffery Englehart at Parx in May. She faced an OC $10K/$5K starter allowance group at Finger Lakes last month and ran an even 4th. She’s showed that’s she capable of running better and should be more fit for this start. She’s run well in her one start on this oval and she finds a field where many are not in their best form. Mizzen Air (2) has been steadily improving since joining the Bruce Alexander barn via claim in January. She was on the shelf for four months after being claimed and started slow for her new barn. She has run well in both of her local starts, most recently running a decent second in open claiming company in an off the turf race behind the nice mare, Omnia. Scatnap (3) has primarily been a turf horse of late, but she’s equally capable on the main track, winning 5 of 19 career starts on dirt. She stumbled a bit at the start two back when she last ran on dirt against softer. She ran a credible race last out when taking a big step up in class off the McAllen claim. She comes back to dirt, which isn’t a great angle for this barn, but she looks like she could compete at this level.
Race 7: Top Pick: 6
This second division of the two year old maiden special weight race looks like the opposite of the first as the horses that are making their debut in this spot look to be tougher than the horses that have experience. Jerry Hollendorfer already has a two year old debut winner at the meet and he sends out Rock Rose (6) to make her first start after a solid string of local workouts. She’s a Mucho Macho Man first timer running in the Stronach Stable’s silks. Jumeriah (7) was slated to debut a few weeks ago, but was scratched that day. She has two works since and appears ready to make her debut for Carlos David today. He hasn’t entered many horses at the meet, as this will be his 14th starter. However, he is a talented, Florida based trainer, that does well with two year olds. Happy Tappy Tim (9) is another two year old filly debuting from the Claudio Gonzalez barn. She was based at Pimlico before shipping here last week to get a work over the local oval. His horses are usually well meant at first asking. Dynamic Star (3) is yet another first timer for Jose Camejo sired by Star Guitar. She follows his typical work pattern of getting a slower work in their final workout leading up to the race. She had a few sharp drills in July, which was enough to get Paco Lopez’s attention.
Race 8: Top Pick: 3
Thirteen horses are entered (not included the one main track only entrant), in this open $12,500-$10,500 claiming even on the turf. There are many with a shot in this field with many hard knocking geldings entered. This race is going to come down to value for me. Dr. Shane (3) ships in from New York for Danny Gargan after a pair of tough races with New York breds at one turn at Belmont. While he’s capable at one turn, his best races have been at two turns. He drops in class to find a competitive field. He’s drawn perfectly for his stalking running style, which has played very well on this course throughout the meet, especially when the course is on the firmer side. Like Dr. Shane, Knights Key (4) is an eight year old gelding that keeps running solid races. His last three starts have been on the dirt here and at Oaklawn, but it was his turf races that stood out in 2020, winning impressively at the mile at Ellis is August, and running two solid races at Kentucky Downs in September. He’s second off the layoff and the Hollendorfer barn has been hot of late. Paco Lopez landing here certainly doesn’t hurt his chances. Projected (11) is likely to be the post time favorite, and deservingly so, as he has run three very sharp races at this meet, winning twice, and narrowly missing in his most recent try. He’s a nine year old gelding that has won 25% of his career races. However, he came up just short when drawing a wide post last out and he has the same issue again today. He’s going to be on my tickets, but there are some others worth playing in here that could offer slightly better value. Hot to Seek Her (6) is a ten year old gelding that looks to still have some run. He missed all of 2020 and made his first start in almost two full years at this level last month over at Delaware where he ran a respectable third place at long odds, facing similar competition. He was sharp back in 2019, winning two starts on this course that year. He was claimed from Cesar Alcala in his last start of 2019, but wound up back with him, possibly through a private purchase. He could be overlooked in this race where he should be more fit than he was last time.
Race 9: Top Pick: 3
The Jersey Shore 6 kicks off with a N1X allowance race for three year old fillies at 6 Furlongs. The opener was an optional claiming/N1X for fillies and mares three year olds and upward, and on paper, this race for three old fillies came up much tougher. These are the kind of things that I like to take note of becase when looking at this race in future PP’s, it might appear that the first race, under similar conditions, might have been a tougher spot, as some of the three year old fillies in that race are facing older horses. I think Liam’s Light (3) is the one to beat in here, and you may get a respectable price on her with the presence of the Chad Brown filly, Spa Ready (1). Liam’s Light faced a few of these last out when she met a very good Tampa invader, Ray Arewethereyet, who carved out hot fractions, but kept finding on the rail. Liam’s Light was in chase mode early and found herself in tight quarters when Fan Fan (6) moved before her, causing her to be blocked, as Guns Blazing was starting struggle. She was shut off, and forced to swing to the outside, where she finished with interest to be second. She’s now in her third race off the layoff, and she proved that she doesn’t necessarily need to be on the front end to be effective. I think Juarez will try to rate her off the early speed, which figures to be more contentious today than it was on that glib track last out. I’m expecting continued improvement from this well-bred daughter of Liam’s Map. If she struggles to rate or this race completely falls apart, watch out for Lone Star shipper, Content (8) to run them down late. Tina Hurley’s horses have been live since coming up here following the conclusion of the Lone Star Park meet. She ran a strong race to get third two back at Sam Houston. She graduated in her most recent start, rallying from off the pace, drawing off to win by 5+ lengths. This is definitely a stronger group than what she saw last out, but there’s a possibility for a pace meltdown and she could be the benefactor at a decent price. Players will immediately notice that Spa Ready is coming out of a stakes race where she was soundly defeated by Kentucky Oaks winner, Malathaat. She was a winner in her debut in her only other start at Belmont last September. She makes her seasonal debut today after not running very fast as a two year old. She could have grown up some this year, but her works haven’t been eye-catching. Paco Lopez takes the mount, and she should be respected on connections alone. I’ll cover with her in the multi-race wagers, but I’ll be playing against her in the verticals, especially at short odds.
Race 10: Top Pick: 2
The late Pick-5 starts with a $16K-$14K multi-conditioned claiming race that drew a full field of 14, much like it did when a race at similar conditions was run on the Haskell undercard. Donya’s Magic (2) broke from post 12 that day and set the pace before fading to finish second behind Isla Bonita that day. She’ll get a significant post break today after she was eight lengths in front of the third place finisher in that last race. There’s no one of the caliber of Isla Bonita in this race and despite the large field, there’s not a lot of true pace pressure that should be challenging this improving three year old filly. She has been caught late after setting the lead in her last several starts, but she’s trending in the right direction, where many of these are not. Musetta (14) is the one that I’ll use on the deeper tickets here, in hopes that she can rebound from her dismal non-effort in the same race last out. She was making her first start since March that day, and she was bet down to the 2-1 favorite. It’s reasonable to think that she can improve in her second start off the layoff, but she was done no favors by the post position draw. She ran her better races when she was able to drop back off the pace and make one run, which is what Corrales will have to do when breaking from post 14. I’m hoping to get a better price on her than her 5-1 morning line odds.
Race 11: Top Pick: 6
In my opinion, this is by far the toughest race to handicap on the card today. This optional claiming/N1X allowance sprint has several contenders that are evenly matched. Personally, I’d like a lot of coverage in this race. Bourbon Frontier (6) is coming out a competitive N1X allowance race, strictly for three year olds where he was making his first start since December. He ran well, closing late to narrowly miss beating Dalton. He is now second off the layoff and second time Lasix this afternoon for Jerry Hollendorfer. He has shown a nice progression in his dirt races, and should have another forward move today in a race which appears to be loaded with speed. Speeding Kid (7) is another one that could be a benefactor of a hot early pace. He was third in another strong race at this level on Haskell Day, when he was a little too close to the early pace. He was claimed by Kent Sweezey last out, which is a positive barn change for a horse that is in good form. Steam Engine (2) appears to be the speed of the speed in this race. He has been the leader by a length or more at the first call of his last nine races. There’s no secret to what he wants to do. By this part in the card, you’ll have a pretty good idea about how the track is playing. If front end speed is doing well, obviously then he’d be worth upgrading, but if front runners are struggling, there’s value in trying to beat this NYRA invader. Dr. Doyle (3) scratched out of that allowance race on the Haskell card that Speeding Kid is coming out of. He has never won a race in open company, but he is an improving four year that has shown the ability to rate at times. He likes the local course, winning three of five here in his career, all when facing fellow New Jersey breds. On deeper tickets, there could be a forward move coming from Tiz Handsome (4) at long odds. He’s coming out of the same three year old race that Bourbon Frontier is coming out of. He finished 5th, beaten only 2 lengths that day, when making his first start since February. His two best races have been on this oval, and he’s another one that has proven he can rate off the early speed, which might be an asset in a race like this.
Race 12: The Tyro Stakes: Top Pick: 10
Wesley Ward entered Miss Alacrity and Chi Town Girl (10) in the Colleen Stakes for two year old fillies last Sunday. He scratched Chi Town Girl in favor of this spot, as Miss Alacrity won that race handily. Chi Town Girl was one of the more impressive maiden winners at the Keeneland meet this spring. She hasn’t run since, but she’s been working well at Keeneland. She’s sired by Verrazano, who went on to run well on the turf overseas in 2014, after winning the Haskell here in 2013. Paco Lopez had the mount on Miss Alacrity, and he gets the call on this filly, who should be a heavy favorite, but figures to be very tough facing the boys here. On deeper tickets, Roman Poet (2) is the only turf winner in the field winning his debut at Gulfstream in May, while coming from off the pace. He moves to the Kathy Ritvo barn, and figures to be a contender for the exotics. Wesley Ward also sends out a first time starter, Her World (9), who is a well-meant daughter of Caravaggio. They paid $400K for her at the Keeneland September Sale in 2020, so obviously, the expectations are high. However, no rider has been named, so there’s a reasonable chance that she’ll be scratched. Vodka N Water (7) has four career starts, all on the main track, and finishing second in all four. He was second, most recently in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill. He’s sired by Fed Biz, so this is a logical spot to try him on turf, especially seeing as how his speed figures have been a bit stagnant, despite earning decent paychecks in all four tries.
Race 13: Top Pick: 4
The late daily double starts with a $12,500-$10,500 maiden claiming contest for fillies and mares going 6 Furlongs. Mission Trail (4) will likely go to post lower than her 9-5 morning line price, and she seems like an obvious winner to me in this spot. She ran two solid races at 4 and ½ Furlongs in maiden special weight company to start her career at Charles Town. She met a brutally tough field when she shipped to Pimlico to run in a $40K-$32K waiver maiden claiming race. The winner of that race, Edie Meeny Miny Mo went on to dominate an optional claiming allowance race in her next start and most recently was a game second in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks here last weekend. The second place finisher of that race also came back to break her maiden in her subsequent start. This seems like a steep drop off the layoff, but she only cost her connections $12,000 when she was purchased in October 2019. This level of competition has been quite formful in the last several races here, with the favorites winning by open margins. She worked well in the AM last weekend over the course and she simply looks too good for this field.
Race 14: Top Pick: 4
The nightcap is an evenly matched $8K-$7K N4L claiming contest, and with three potential singles that could be used in the Jersey Shore-6 or the late Pick-5, this could be a leg you could afford to spread in. I ended up with Arithmetic (4), moving up in class after defeating multi-conditioned $5K claimers last out. Most of his best work in his career has come on the turf, but his last win could be a confidence builder for a horse that went badly off form over the winter. He closed well that day to get up in time, and he could get a favorable set up in this race with four of the seven runners potentially vying for early supremacy. Star Luck (7) may be the fastest of that early speed quartet. He ships in from Parx after running a solid second at this level last out in the mud. His last two dirt sprints have been sharp enough to be right there at the wire with this group. Mr. Who (6) is tough to get on board with as the 2-1 morning line choice, as he makes his first start of the Douglas Nunn claim. He was second to Plato, at this level two weeks ago when going two turns on the main track. Prior to that most of his career has been spent going two turns on the turf. He’s only sprinted on the dirt three times, and never at this six furlong distance. His last try at 7 Furlongs at Tampa wasn’t bad though, and he could be another one that benefits from a quick early tempo. Trappeze Artist (1) draws the rail and cuts back to a sprint after tiring badly to finish a distant 4th at this level last time out. He was claimed by John McAllen, who cuts him back to a sprint, which I’m not certain is his best trip. However, he may offer some value if he is overlooked off of his last effort.
Meet Stats: 80/292 (Top Pick Winners) – $514.80 / $1.76 ROI per $2 win bet