Monmouth Park Racing Preview – 9/10/23 – By Eric Solomon

Just like that, we’ve reached closing day at one of the best summer racing destinations. The 10 race closing day card is highlighted by the 12 furlong Presious Passion Stakes, which will go off as the 5th race of the afternoon. In addition there are three maiden special weight races for two year olds on the card. Racing in New Jersey will shift over to East Rutherford, for the five week (10 day) all-turf Monmouth at the Meadowlands meet. In past years, each of the ten cards continued six races, all on the Meadowlands turf course, every Friday and Saturday night until October 14th. I’ll have analysis of those cards in this same spot.  First post for the final day of racing for 2023 at Monmouth Park is 12:40 (ET).


I’ll be covering the Monmouth Park meet for the third consecutive 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 4 3,4 8 DBL, PK3, PK5
2 6 6,7 3 DBL, PK3, PK4
3 1 1,6 8 DBL, PK3
4 7 6,7 1,3 DBL, PK3
5 3 3 1 DBL, PK3, PK6
6 4 4,9 2 DBL, PK3, PK5
7 8 3,8 6,9 DBL, PK3, PK4
8 12 3,11,12 DBL, PK3
9 8 8 4,5 DBL
10 1 1 5


Race 1:

The day will start off with the last race of the meet for New Jersey breds. Fillies and mares will go one mile on the turf in an optional $30K claiming/N2X allowance race. The second and third place finishers of the Jersey Girl Handicap in July are back to square off. Bramble Bay (#4) was about two lengths better than Riding Pretty (#3) that day. Riding Pretty was only making her 9th career start that day and she had to overcome the outside post that day. Since that race, she was a distant third in the Monmouth Oaks on the dirt and she was the easiest of winners in a state bred optional claiming/N1R race last weekend. While that race was essentially a paid workout, this is still a quick turnaround to face a horse of the caliber of Bramble Bay. She was no match for open optional claiming/N2X foes at Saratoga in her last start. However, those races are typically borderline stakes quality races in New York. She just missed in the Jersey Girl this year, a race which she won in 2022. She has cleared this condition, so I’m not terribly concerned about the fact that she’s entered for the $30K tag at this point in this year. I think she has the right style to stalk the stretchout sprinters in this race, and get the job done. Riding Pretty is definitely an A line horse in this race as she is one of the better young New Jersey breds in training. She likely hasn’t hit her ceiling yet, and she might be better on turf than dirt. If too much money comes in on Bramble Bay, I’d be fine playing her on top. If one of the big two doesn’t win this race, I think the most likely upsetter would be Midnight Heiress (#8). I contemplated taking her on top after two very good efforts on the turf in a row. She cleared the state bred N1X level with authority in her last start a month ago. My concern is that she drew the outside post in a race which has some stretchout sprinters inside of her. Perhaps the goal for some of those runners will be to try to rate, but I think if Midnight Heiress is going to make the front, she’s going to have to work to do so. He seemed to appreciate a little give in the course, which could be a scenario she’ll see depending on how much rain they get in Oceanport. She’s a backup for me on the bump in class, but if her odds get too high, I’d be willing to take a shot.


Race 2:

The first of three maiden special weight races for two year olds on today’s card is a six furlong sprint, which drew a field of seven colts and geldings. For Some Reason (#6) makes his debut for Jorge Delgado, who is very sharp with first time starters. Over the last five years, he was won with 23% of his two year old firsters. That number jumps to 25% when you focus on two year old first time starters running on the dirt. His sire, Maximus Mischief, has started fast with his freshman crop of runners. 12 of his 41 starters (29%) that have debuted in a dirt sprint race have won at first asking. Delgado taps Paco Lopez, the leading rider who has won 26% of his races at this meet. He’s the third choice on the morning line in this race and if that holds up in the wagering, that feels like the best value of the race to me. I’m also liking the New Jersey bred, Charlie’s Express (#7), breaking from the outside stall. Even though the speed figure was a little bit low, I liked his last two efforts when facing state bred company. He met Book’em Danno, who just won the $100K Smoke Glacken Stakes yesterday against open company, two starts back. He crossed the wire a very game third two weeks ago against a large field. He broke from the rail that afternoon and did all of the heavy lifting on a course that favored horses in the outer path. He was headed, but battled back very gamely through the length of the stretch. When re-watching the replays, I think it’s fair to say that the trouble didn’t really affect him, despite Paco Lopez standing up in a bit in the saddle before they crossed the wire. However, I thought the effort was there in a difficult assignment. He gets a smaller field today, but he draws outside, which should help his cause, I do think he can take a step forward after pairing his last two Beyers. I’ll use the Pletcher first time starter, Dollar Liberty (#3) as a backup in this spot. The Repole and St. Elias Stables went in for $300K at the Keeneland September Sale in 2022 for this son of Gun Runner, so the fact that he’s been based at Monmouth tells me he’s not as talented as some of the others runners in this barn. Both runners that the dam has produced have gone on to be winners, but neither won at first asking and neither have won their races in dirt sprints. Gun Runner is the best sire that this mare has been bred to though, and his runners have debuted at an 18% winning percentage when debuting in dirt sprints. I have some mixed feelings about the favorite, but I’ll cover my bases.


Race 3:

This is a tricky $16K-$14K maiden claiming race for fillies and mares, sprinting 5 and ½ furlongs on the turf. I’m not sure who’s going to be setting the pace, but I’m wondering if Maddie Rowland will get aggressive with Delightful Dixie (#1), breaking from the rail. She absolutely missed the break in her debut with $40K-$30K maiden claimers two back, but she made up significant ground to get into second. She was more alert at the break when routing last out. She was in the three or four path coming out of the chute and Rowland tried to pull her back in order to avoid going wide into the first turn. She fought her on that and never seemed to get comfortable in behind runners from that point. Front end speed continues to play well on this course and I think Rowland will let her go if breaks well. I think she has upset potential in a race where I have some serious questions about some of the shorter prices. Never Personal (#6) drops in class for Robert Falcone, and this is a move that has done very well with at this meet. He won with Pimenova off a similar move on the grass last month. This is another runner that should be forward in this race, and getting Samy Camacho aboard for her local debut is a plus. On deeper tickets, I’ll back up with the Gio Ponti filly, Gio Maria (#8). I’m not really sure what to expect from her in her first try sprinting on the turf. Her synthetic form was gradually improving at Woodbine last fall. She’s been away since November though, and now returns for Jose Hernandez, who has 4 wins with 19 starters and another 8 runners that have finished in the money at this meet. There’s enough intrigue for me to take a small shot if her odds float above her 6-1 morning line figure. 


Race 4:

Maiden two year old fillies will get their chance to score a closing day victory in this six furlong race. Five of the six fillies that have a race under their belts, ran similar figures in their dirt races. I’m not crazy about the first time starters here, so I’ll look to the horse that impressed me the most in their debut race, and that was Power Squeeze (#7). She was tossing her head in the gate and she hopped at the break, which cost her significant ground loss in her Delaware debut. Daniel Centeno was patient, and he didn’t try to rush her to put her into the race early. She rallied with a bold move, to get into 4th, just behind Speightfulelection (#3), who had a significantly better trip. I like her outside draw, and assuming she minds her manners early on, I think she has the edge here. Done Enough (#6) was a bit of a surprising favorite when she tried two turns on the turf last month. She made the lead early in her second career start, but folded up in the final furlong, fading to 4th. Her Gulfstream debut on the dirt was solid, finishing second while tracking the leaders in the early stage there. I think there are a few that want to go early, so she might get the right kind of stalking trip in this spot. Speightfulelection makes her second start after tiring late to be third in the aforementioned maiden special weight race at Delaware. Motion puts blinkers on for her second start, which is a move that he has been very successful with. Offspring of Speightster have hit 17% of the time in dirt sprints, but when looking at the pedigree, I’m a little surprised Motion didn’t try the turf for her second start. His horses have gotten close at this meet, but he’s yet to find the Winner’s Circle. Muldoon (#1) is a deep saver or an underneath play in this race for me. She drew the rail in a 12 horse field in her debut. The winner had the outside post and was able to win gate to wire there. She was away toward the back of the field and she came with a sustained rally along the inside. She saved more ground than most in the state bred contest, but the fact that she was progressing well from the back of the field in her debut was encouraging. She was unfortunate to draw the rail again and I do think she’s facing a stronger group in this race. 

Race 5, The $100K Presious Passion Stakes:

This was a tricky race to try to handicap in advance because four of the nine runners entered in the body of the field in this 12 furlong turf marathon, were cross-entered in races yesterday. The morning line favorite, Rockemperor (#7) ran in the Singspiel yesterday at Woodbine and Sy Dog (#2) ran in the Colonial Cup at Colonial Downs. Serifos (#3) and Tiz a Giant (#6)were both entered in the Colonial Cup yesterday, but both runners scratched out of that spot, likely in favor of this one. With those two defections, this race loses a lot of its punch and becomes absolutely wide open. Serifos feels like the up and coming in this race for Graham Motion. He opted to run this one here instead of in Virginia against his talented stablemate, Sy Dog. Both of his wins came on a wet main track, however, he has the look of a horse that will be dangerous at this longer distance. He met two strong runners in his last two starts. With the scratches in here, he might actually be getting class relief instead of moving up. Oceans Map (#1) looks like he may be losing a step as a six year old gelding. However, his last was better than his first start off the layoff. He was solid when running second in this race last year, so the distance won’t be a concern. He has enough tactical speed from his rail post to secure a good position, either on the lead or sitting just off it. 



The silks of the two-time winner of the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes, Presious Passion, hang from a banner in the grandstand at Monmouth Park.



WIN-EARLY PICK-5, $48 Ticket:

The last Win-Early Pick-5 of the year is another challenging sequence where I’m hard pressed to land on a single. I do like Serifos (#3, R5) quite a bit in the last leg of this sequence, which is a race that will have some major scratches. I also think Delightful Dixie (#1, R3) is sitting on a bigger effort at large odds in her maiden claiming race. 


Race 6:

The final Pick-5 of the meet starts with a beaten $5K claiming contest, covering 1 mile and 1/16 on the main track. Fast Break (#1) was a best bet for me last week in a beaten $5K claiming race and he didn’t disappoint, winning by an easy three lengths, He wheels back in eight days, coming into another beaten $5K claiming race. However, it’s worth noting that this condition is stronger than the race he’s coming out of, despite the fact that it looks the same in the racing form. Last week, he was facing N1Y or N3L runners. This race is for N2Y or N4L runners, which means that he’s facing a deeper group than the group that he was up against last week. This is a horse that typically has needed four weeks or more in between starts, and now he’ll be making his third start in 23 days. Even though this one is listed at 9-2 on the morning line, I think he’s going to take some money at the windows, and he feels like the kind of horse that would be the post time favorite here. This feels like a classic recipe for a vulnerable, shorter priced horse that is going to be overbet. Willy Mc (#4) has been pretty much an all or nothing type horse, winning 6 or 20 times in his career, but only finishing in the money two other times. He ran some monster efforts over the winter at Parx, but went off form, losing six starts in a row, most of them by double digit lengths. He came here in July where he was victorious in a time restricted $12,500-$10,500 claiming race. He’s had two months off and has since been moved to Carlos David’s barn. This outfit has respectable numbers with their new acquisitions and I think he could make it two straight wins while facing this group. Souper Catch (#9) is going to be a player if he can work out a trip from the nine hole. He ran some credible races in open claiming company at the Spa and now ships here for the first time. He’s won 17 times in 58 career starts, so he knows how to find the Winner’s Circle. His two turn form earlier in the year was solid, so I don’t mind the stretch out from seven furlongs in his last start. Lord Mio (#2) may be a little light on speed figures, but he’s definitely one of the more consistent runners in this group. He was a winner in June and has hit the board in all five starts at this meet. Samy Camacho will ride for the meet’s top trainer, Claudio Gonzalez. 


Race 7:

This is a wide open $25K-$20K N3L contest, going 1 mile and 1/16 on the turf. I think Comedic Timing (#8) has a chance to give Patricia Farro her first win of the meet on closing day. She claimed this well bred five year old on behalf of Gumpster Stabler last out in a $20K-$18K N3L claiming race. She has solid numbers with runners first off the claim and I like that she gives this one another shot on this oval before the meet is over. He drew last time out, and was a little too far back off moderate pace. He closed well to get into second, but Hashtag No Wonder was just a better horse that afternoon, drawing clear to win by four. He moves up a level in class, however, he appears to fit very well with this group. I like the rider upgrade to Camacho, who should have this son of Into Mischief a little closer to the front end in a race where there doesn’t appear to be a ton of early speed. Billy’s Got Issues (#3) ships in from Saratoga after a he was a voiding claim with $35K N2L claimers last out. Dylan Davis let him go to the back of the pack where he could save ground despite breaking from post nine. He was left with too much work to do though, as he rallied into 4th place. That was his first start at two turns as he had progressed from six and seven furlong races on the grass at Belmont. Although his claiming tag is dropping, they have him entered in N3L company, despite being eligible for N2L races. Perhaps it’s just a function of needing a race and this one was the best they could find. He does appear to fit well with this group, so assuming he looks fine on the track, he’ll be one that I’ll be using. Brindisi (#6) is an interesting longshot, getting back on the grass after running second in an off the turf race with lesser foes last out. I thought his last two turf efforts at Parx were good enough to consider using him here. He’s going to have to step up a bit, but I do think Samuel Marin will be able to get the most out of him. His forward running style was playing well on this course last week, and in a race where the pace figures to be moderate, that could give him an advantage over some of the back markers. Most Wanted Man (#9) is one that is likely going to be one of those back markers that will probably be launching a bid to go from last to first.  Trevor McCarthy timed his ride perfectly last out when beating a conditioned $16K-$14K field. He is moving up from N2L company into N3L company at a higher tag, so the quality of this field is definitely better than the group that he beat on 8/20. That late running style has not been the best fit for this course over the last two weeks, but the changing weather patterns could change that. I think he has a shot, but I think with Paco Lopez riding for Mike Maker, this one is likely going to be overbet, eliminating the chance to get fair odds on this gelded son of Frankel. 


Race 8:

Conditioned $12,500-$10,500 claimers are going six furlongs on the dirt which drew a full field of 12. I’m not going to be playing the suspect Diodoro dropper, Bet He’s Ready (#7). He runs horses like this at Oaklawn and the ones that have been coming back off the layoff and taking deep drops, tend to struggle. I’m a bit perplexed as to why Robertino Diodoro, who has not had one starter yet at this meet, opted to make this guy his one and only local runner. I think his presence will open up the board. I’ll spread in this race, making 15-1 longshot, Faith (#12) my top pick. I don’t love that he was claimed for $30K three starts back, and he’s now running with a $12,500 tag. However, He had excuses with better two back and I’ll toss his poor effort, sprinting on a good turf course last out. Horses have not been taking big strides forward at this meet when racing for Robert Paterno, however, at long odds from his outside draw, I’d be willing to gamble that he can revert to his better races earlier in the summer. Bet of the Century (#11) has three open length wins in a row coming into the race. He’s moving up in class, making his third consecutive start for his third different trainer. He comes back quick after winning six days ago, so that is a bit of a concern for a horse moving up in class. However, his racing style and post should fit very well with this group. Quickening (#3) is another longer priced runner, listed at 8-1 on the morning line, that should be worth a look. He’s had gaps between starts, but his figures have improved in three straight races on this oval, winning once and finishing second in the other two tries. He moved forward in his second race off the layoff last season, so another figure jump is not out of the question.


Race 9:

The final turf race of the meet is a conditioned $16K-$14K claiming race for fillies and mares sprinting 5 and ½ furlongs. Quick Power Nap (#8) feels like the one to beat in this spot. Her efforts in turf sprints have typically been better than what most of this field is capable of. She’s never finished off the board in three starts at this distance, breaking her maiden at this trip with state bred maiden claimers at Saratoga last summer. She’s been flat in her last two tries on the dirt, so getting back on the lawn while dropping in class feels like a winning formula for this Rudy Rodriguez trainee, Rigby (#5) is a bit interesting, while getting back on turf today. It’s been almost a year since her last one turn race on the turf, when when you dig deep into her form, those efforts weren’t terrible. Her recent form is lacking, but those races have been on synthetic and dirt. Jose Camejo is still in search of his second win of the meet, and perhaps he can find that at a price with his last starter here this season. Whatchamacall (#4) has been overbet and has underperformed in her last few starts, and I had planned to play against her completely in this. However, I opted to cover with her for two reasons. Horses laying closer to the front end have done well on this course lately and she has been falling into a good race/bad race pattern. If those trends continue, she’d be sitting on a better effort with this group, which is a weaker field than others at this level here. 


Race 10:

The meet will wrap up with a one mile maiden allowance race for two year olds. One of the better names in this two year old crop is also one of the most likely winners on the program. Seinfeld fans will likely be playing Thedingoateyoubaby (#1), who makes his second career start. He debuted at this distance at Delaware last month for Brittany Russell and finished second by a narrow margin. Russell has been sharp with the few horses that she’s brought to this meet, winning twice with five starters and having another two runners hit the board. Experience is often a plus in these baby races and distance experience in a race where only one other runner has gone two turns (which came on the turf for the other runner), should give him a massive advantage in this spot. I’ll use Redfield (#5) as my backup in this spot, hoping that his debut was not who he really is. His dam, Singlet, produced the filly, Ice Orchid, who is stakes placed. She won in her third career start at Oaklawn. Their dam was a stakes winning sprinter, but Ice Orchid has done her best work at two turns. Seeing as how Redfield is sired by Travers winner, West Coast, I think he’s a candidate to prefer routing as well. Hopefully the less aggressive early pace will keep him engaged, which was not the case in his 5 and ½ furlong debut. 

Meet Statistics/Notes:

Top Pick Winners: 100/448 (22.3%) – $739.10/$1.65 ROI 


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