There’s an 11 race Sunday card at Monmouth Park as their season starts to wind down. Four races on the program are carded for two year olds. The program is highlighted by the 10th race today, which is a N1X allowance race that drew an overflow field of 14 going nine furlongs on the turf course. The first race will go off at 12:15 (ET), which kicks off the WIn-Early Pick-5.
I’ll be covering the Monmouth Park meet for the second straight 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||4||1,5||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|2||2||2,7,8||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|6||3||3,11||1||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|7||2||1,2||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|8||7||7||1,2||DBL, PK3, PK4|
The day starts off with an optional $50K claiming/N2L allowance race for two year old fillies that broke their maiden when running in a $50K maiden claimer or less or breaking their maiden in a state bred race. As a modest freshman sire, I liked what I’ve seen from some of the Sea Wizard babies at this meet. Five different horses sired by him have started thus far. Great Navigator and Sea Maiden (#4) are the two winners. Carats Forever has also hit the board in both of her starts. Great Navigator broke his maiden here before running second in the Sanford Stakes at Saratoga. I think Sea Maiden has a big shot here, while facing winners for the first time. She folded late when Vedareo romped in the Sorority Stakes last month when going one mile. Jose Gomez gets the call as she returns in a sprint today. I think she’ll benefit from that experience, while stalking the early pace. I think there’s a good chance that she’ll run by the favorite, Proud Mule (#1) in the stretch. Army Mule is another freshmen sire that has had an impressive start to his stud career. Proud Mule is one of a few New Jersey bred runners that he’s sired that has been a winner at this meet. She is the speed of the speed in this race, winning at this distance in her debut. Midnight Heiress was coming for her, but she came up a bit short once again. The third place finisher in that race, Bel Pensiero, beat state bred maiden allowance types in her next start. She’s been working up a storm for Hollendorfer, so I can’t ignore her. She will likely be a very short price though. Creative Cadence (#5) took a big step forward in her third career start at Delaware last month. Anthony Pecararo makes a rare appearance here, and he enlists the leading rider, Paco Lopez, to pilot his Creative Cause filly who won gate to wire last out. I worry about her getting cooked in a speed duel with Proud Mule, trying to go with her early, but her last effort was good enough to consider using her here.
We’re hitting the turf for the first time today with a conditioned $30K-$25K claiming race going 1 mile and 1/16. All runners qualified for this race under the N3L condition. The forecast is not ideal today, but unless there’s a drastic shift in the weather, turf racing should be able to proceed this afternoon. I’m going to try to hammer the Colonial Farms/Rory Huston/Jose Gomez daily double by using Leo Monte (#2) on top. Like Sea Maiden in the previous race, he is a Jersey bred taking on open company in this race. He’s dropping in for a tag for the first time in his nine race career. He hasn’t been the most consistent runner, but he’s had some excuses for some of those subpar efforts. Toss his race two back where he had a nightmarish trip. He’s battled hard against some better horses. I think this is the class relief that he’ll need to get back to that big race he ran in June when clearing the state bred N1X condition. Ready to Fly (#8) has been an improving gelding for Patrick McBurney, who also sends out the morning line favorite, Magical Marriage. Ready to Fly beat a good field last with $30K starter allowance company, scoring at a juicy 12-1. He had a miserable trip two back while wide every step of the way. Angel Rodriguez will have to work to avoid having the same fate in this race while breaking from the outside stall. I like his progression throughout this meet. Magical Marriage was an upset winner in N1X allowance company three starts back on a good course. He struggled in his last twp tries with salty N2X allowance fields. This is a logical drop for a runner that could get a course with a little give in it today, which should be to his liking. I’m siding against KP All Systems Go (#1), thinking that this More Than Ready gelding that used to be based in Southern California isn’t the same runner that he was in 2020. He hasn’t really been close in his last ten starts, and while he continues to drop, I prefer some of the others in this spot.
Two year old fillies go 5 and ½ furlongs on the main track in this $16K-$14K maiden claimer. Kelly Breen sends out a pair, and while some of the attention may go to Sirenetta (#1) and Paco Lopez, I prefer West Viriginia Gal (#4), making her second start today. They ran in the same race last out with Sirenetta finishing about a length better than her stablemate. However, West Virginia Gal stumbled at the start, with her nose pretty much touching the ground. Albin Jimenez allowed her to reset and get comfortable at the back of the pack. She cornered well, and finished with some interest despite the disaster at the break. Breen’s horses usually improve at second asking. I think she’ll go into the gate as the longer price of the two runners, but I think she’ll finish in front of her stablemate today, with a chance to win this thing at a decent price. Lady Lancer (#6) is another live runner for Jose Gomez today. She finished in front of both Breen horses in that $25K-$20K maiden claiming race last month, just a length behind the winner. She is gradually getting better and she should appreciate the extra half furlong this afternoon. Exclusive Rose (#5) drops in for a tag for the first time after struggling on the turf in her most recent effort. She ran okay in her debut with a restricted maiden special weight field. She struggled against some sharp fillies in her next start on the dirt. She might be quick enough to set the pace in a race where there isn’t a ton of early foot.
The third two year old race in the Win-Early Pick-5 sequence is for fillies going one mile on the turf. There’s a lot of ways to go in this race, which looks deep on paper. This is a spread race for me, but I’ll go with a longshot on top, taking She’s So Bearrish (#1) in her second career start. She had a rough trip in her debut going five furlongs. She was in the second flight after not being able to keep pace with the trio that was gunning for the lead. She was a little green, which led to her being forced to steady off heels while wide on the turn. Once she had a clear path, she finished with interest that day, getting up for 4th. She draws the rail for her second race after getting a solid education last out. She’s 12-1 on the morning line, and I’d expect her to go off at longer odds when looking at the depth in this field. Chad Brown sends out a pair of fillies set to debut. While Hector Diaz usually rides first call, Jorge Vargas has been picking up mounts for Brown and he got the job done with one of his runners last week. Vargas rides Liguria (#8), who is a full sister to the multiple Grade 1 winner, Avenge. She was purchased for $275K at Keeneland September Sale in 2021 and has been working well on the training track at Belmont. This dam foaled another stakes winner (Lira), who also won in her debut at two turns on turf. Tall Girl (#11) was rolling late in her debut at this distance when finishing second to a more experienced filly, Born Dapper at this level. I don’t love the wide draw for her, but she showed that she can come from off the pace, so I wouldn’t be concerned if she were a little further back if that meant Camacho could save some ground going into the first turn. Tax Implications (#3) is the other Chad Brown horse here. She has a distinctly European pedigree, sired by Mehmas out of an Irish bred Medaglia d’Oro filly. Mehmas sired the runner up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Malavath). He’s also sired multiple stakes winners on the turf in the US, most notably, Going Global, who is a Grade 1 winner.
I’m going to try get myself alive to the favorite, Princess Betty (#3) in this time restricted $12,500-$10,500 claiming race. She’s ripped off two straight wins since being claimed by Jose Sanchez for $5K three starts back. She clearly likes the course and can win races in multiple different running styles. Sanchez has won with 40% of his starters at this meet. 13 of his 20 starters have finished in the money. I think she’s a popular winner in this spot.Depending on track conditions, I’d back up with either Song of Honor (#6) or Tiz a Sharpie (#7). If the track gets muddy, I’d definitely upgrade Tiz A Sharpie. She was very good in the slop in a starter handicap at Parx two starts ago. She needed her last start when facing better at Penn National when getting a dreadfully wide trip. She draws outside again today, so Gonzalez will have to work hard to avoid the same fate. On a fast track, Song of Honor is where I’d lean as a back up. She was off the board in an open $12,500 claimers at Saratoga when sprinting in the mud. She makes her second start off the layoff getting back to two turns for the first time in a while. She was sharp with allowance company when going the three turn 1 mile and 1/16 in the bullring at Charles Town back in November and December.
WIN-EARLY PICK-5, $54 Ticket:
I do like this sequence quite a bit today because I think there are some vulnerable favorites in the early races, along with some live runners that could pay some decent prices. My goal is to try to connect with some of those runners in order to be alive to Princess Betty (#3, R5) in the last leg. She feels like the most likely winner in the sequence today.
The Jersey Shore 6 starts off with a $16K-$14K maiden claimer going about 5 and ½ furlongs on the turf. Suit of Armor (#12) is the morning line favorite in this race, but he’s a pass for me. The 12 hole is no picnic in these races that employ the 5 and ½ furlong chute here at Monmouth. He’ll likely have to deal with conceding some ground coming out of the chute. While his figures suggest he might be fast enough to overcome that, he’s lost 12 races. He’s been close in his last two, but I think this is a tough assignment. Kobe’s Rhythm (#3) was less than three lengths behind Suit of Armor last out. He has a significant post advantage in this spot, and he’s continuing to get better as a lightly raced three year old. I think he’s going to run his better races in turf sprints, and I think he can turn the tables on the favorite. The Big Calico (#11) is another one that will have to overcome a wide draw, but I believe that sprinting at this level will be the right spot for this three year old. He was a decent second in a maiden special weight race at Tampa Bay during their two day summer program in July. He was beaten by a next out allowance winner, Our Pride N Joy in a dirt sprint with maiden special weight types last out. He tried two turns with $40K-$30K maiden claimers last month where was next to last. He’s bred to be better at shorter races and this drop should make him more competitive. Southern Civility (#1) is another class dropper that should appreciate the return to the grass. His two turn sprints with $40K New York Bred maiden claimers were his two best races. He was up the track in all three dirt tries in New York. Patrick Reynolds brings this gelded son of Laoban down to the Jersey Shore for the first time. He may be overlooked in this spot, but I think he’s got a chance in a wide open race.
The Late Pick-5 will begin with a $7,500-$6,500 N2L claiming race. I’m going to ride with duo on the inside in this race, making Asyena (#2) my top pick. She gets back to a sprint after a failed attempt when going two turns last month. I see her being to work out a similar trip to the one she got three back when breaking her maiden in her 10th career start. She’s struggled a bit with winners, but she had a rough trip with better two back when sprinting. I think she can rebound with this group. I don’t see much speed signed on and that may be the remedy for Leah’s Legacy (#1), who is trying to get back to the big race that she ran in her debut at Gulfstream back in April. She ran well on the turf in her second try at Delaware, but her last two races have been bad. She folded up in her last two after setting some solid fractions. I don’t see a ton of early pressure for her today, so perhaps that will help build her confidence.
This is not the strongest field of maiden special weight turn sprinters that we’ve seen at this meet. Exaggerateddefence (#7) is a New Jersey bred owned by Isabelle Tomaso. His dam won both on dirt and turf, but he has been more effective as a turf sprinter. He’s moving to open company after facing state bred foes in his first three starts. Normally that might cause me to shy away, but I think that the horses that beat him on the turf, Cassation and What’s Up Mr. Z. are better than the runners in this field. Jamie Ness brings Flag (#1) over from Parx to make his turf debut after two off the board dirt finishes. His ¾ sibling, Apurate, is a winner on the turf in New York and finished on the board in both of her turf sprints. Straight Time (#2) is making his 10th career start today, while still searching for his first win. He’s improved in his last two starts on the Tapeta at Presque Isle. His turf sprints haven’t been bad, so there’s reason to believe that this three year old can continue to progress in this spot.
I’m looking for Ian Dunross (#8) to run a better race after a strong effort off the layoff last month for Faith Wilson in this $7,500-$6,500 N2L claimer. He’s obviously had some physical ailments as there have been many starts and stops in his four race career. This will be his first start without a significant layoff in between starts. His two dirt races are solid, winning two back and finishing third, about two lengths behind the morning line favorite, Ludo (#7). He made an aggressive move to hit the front, before understandably tiring late. I’m expecting him to be more fit and finish the job today. Lord Jaxston (#1) has some up and down form, so expectations are always tempered with this three year old gelded son of Lord Nelson. When he’s good, he’s able to beat a field like this with ease. When he’s off his game, he’s likely finishing up the track. The drop in class and the rail draw, especially in a two turn race where the main threats are posted in the outside stalls, should benefit him here. Ludo is worth covering in this spot, but he;s a tough sell for me as the favorite. The Gonzalez barn has been cold this month, while trying to make a push to be the leading trainer at the meet. He has a habit of leaving himself too much work to do. If there’s a decent pace battle, that could help his cause, but generally, I think he’s better suited for underneath in the exotics.
The featured race is a N1X allowance race going 1 mile and ⅛ on the turf. 12 runners will race with an AE and a MTO making 14 horses in the entry box. The lukewarm favorite is There Are No Words (#8) who just missed at this level last out. He’s had trouble finishing races though, so I think he’s a play against while going nine furlongs today. Swing Low (#4) on the other hand looks to be well suited for the added distance. He’s rallied strongly from the back of the pack to win three straight races. He’s been a revelation since switching to the turf, and Jorge Vargas has a great rapport with this gelded son of Upstart. This is another decent step up in class, but he’s answered every test thus far. American d’Oro (#12) will have some time to navigate a trip in a race that starts at the top of the chute here. He’s been very sharp in his last three turf starts in Maryland and Delaware. He cleared the N1X allowance condition at Tampa and he recently ran a sharp race at Laurel with N2X allowance company. He remains eligible for this condition at Monmouth because the winner’s share of the Tampa allowance race was less than $17K. He could be overlooked in this race, but this guy is a runner. Hashtag No Wonder (#5) broke his maiden against a decent field here at the end of July, while making his 11th career start. He tried the N1X allowance condition at Saratoga where he was overmatched. He had a miserably wide trip that day where he faced more talented rivals. Both Rock the Stars (#7) and Basso (#9) are horses that I’d add to deeper tickets. Rock the Stars broke through in a strong maiden special weight race last out. He drew a deep field for his first try against winners. Hashtag No Wonder was a little better than him two back. I think his forwardly placed running style could play well with this field. Basso came up short two back when Dominate Themoment was able to set moderate fractions on a loose lead at this level on the Haskell Day program. His last two turf starts were solid though. Toss his last in an off the turf sprint at the Spa, which is not what he wants to do.
The week ends with a New Jersey bred maiden special weight race for two year old fillies sprinting six furlongs. This race feels like a two horse contest between Fixed Odds (#4), making her third career start, and The Classy One (#6), making her debut for Kelly Breen. It will come down to value for me, but I’ll give the edge to Fixed Odds, coming off a narrow defeat when facing males last out. The third place finisher from that race, Steel Drivin Man, went on to easily beat a state bred maiden special weight in his next start. She has very good speed, which she’ll hopefully be able to carry today. The Classy One is a Temple City first time starter out of the mare, Smart N Classy. That one was a multiple stakes winner who could run on any surface. She’s other other foals sired by Candy Ride and Twirling Candy, but her best foal to race was Valedictorian, who is a full sister to this filly. That one was a winner of the Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes on the turf here. That horse ran well enough to compete on the dirt, but her best races were on the grass. I imagine we’ll be seeing this one try the turf in the near future. She still has a big shot with this group on dirt though.
Top Pick Winners: 140/522 (26.8%) – $1,000.00/ $1.92 ROI