There haven’t been many cards at this meet where they have been several races with sub 2-1 morning line favorites, however, that is the case on this Saturday card. There is definitely potential for this to be a chalky afternoon, however, I think there are some spots where some of those favorites are going to be vulnerable. If we’re able to beat a few of those favorites in some of the sequences, there’s definitely a chance that some of them could pay out well. The featured race on the card is the Pinot Grigio Handicap for New Jersey bred fillies and mares at 5 Furlongs on the turf.
|1||9||2,8||3,5||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|2||3||DBL, PK3, PK4|
|6||6,7||1||DBL, PK3, PK6|
|7||9||5||DBL, PK3, PK5|
|8||3,5||4||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 1: Top Pick: 9
How you handle this open $12,500-$10,500 claiming race on the turf, depends on how you feel about Bold Daddy (3) making his first start in almost a full year for Kelly Breen. He ended 2020 in very good form winning a leg of the Malouf Starter Series in August and just missing in the final leg in September. He has had a lot of success in the past at the open claiming level, but this claiming tag is a little light for him. I will cover with him on deeper tickets, but I’m looking elsewhere here. Bird’s Eye View (9) invades from Saratoga after struggling with a very salty open $25K claiming field. He drops in class after showing some sharp efforts prior to his last with significantly better fields. Paco Lopez rides for Mike Dini, which should make him very tough here. Kitten Street (2) looks to be the controlling speed in this race. He has two very good efforts on this course this year and he has generally run well here in previous seasons. Since changing tactics and becoming more of a frontrunner, he seems like a different horse. He’s another player in this wide open spot. Tree Shaker (8) could be a useful horse at a price here. He beat a lesser field at Delaware last out, notching his first win since May of 2019. He’s a three time winner on this course and is starting to round back into better form. Another live longshot in here is City Plan (5) who is coming off a dull try with better on the Tapeta surface over at Presque Isle. His turf form at Mountaineer isn’t too far off from what it would likely take to win this race. He also has a sharp effort on this course at long odds last October. He’s more likely to impact the bottom of the vertical exotics than to win this race, but he wouldn’t be the worst addition to a deeper multi-race play.
Race 2: Top Pick: 3
It’s not very creative, but Bold Tactics (3) seems to be the class of this optional claiming/N1X allowance contest. She came to the Kelly Breen barn after four respectable tries in maiden special weight company at Oaklawn and Churchill. Her local debut was a rousing success, handily beating a maiden allowance field by over five lengths on 8/1. She tried stakes company last out, when running in the Cathryn Sophia Stakes at Parx. She ran 4th, beaten three, pairing her Beyer from her maiden score. She drops to the first level allowance company where she’s facing five unremarkable foes. She feels like a logical single in this spot, which could be a race that will determine if she could be competitive with graded stakes foes in a race like the Comely at Aqueduct at the end of November.
Race 3: Top Pick: 1
$10K filly and mare maiden claimers go six furlongs here. I’ll side with Great Fun (1), who I liked last out when making her first start since last October. However, she went off at 9-5 that day, which was way too short of a price for my liking, and she ran like she needed that race, finishing third, beaten 8 and ½ lengths. She was wide on the turn, which may have also hindered her late move. She gets the rail draw here which could help her save some ground and catch up to the pacesetters down the lane. Another Saucy Six (6) is another closer that comes out of the same race as Great Fun. She was second that day, when making her 5th career start and her second career try on the dirt. This figures to be the right level of competition for her, as she was crushed two back when facing the boys in state bred maiden special weight company. She proved she can run a bit on the main track and she should be in thick of things here. Brooklyn Tale (3) and Prominent Henny (4) are the two dedicated frontrunners here, and assuming both go, they might wind up cancelling each other out. However, of this duo, I think there’s more upside with Prominent Henny. She hasn’t run a race as fast as her debut back in July, but her last effort at two turns wasn’t bad, just getting nipped late. She cuts back to a sprint off that effort, which may help her staying power when she’s asked the question.
Race 4: Top Pick: 4
This is a solid sextet running in optional $16K claiming/N1X company on the main track. The heavy favorite on the morning line is Top Gun Tommy (6), coming off two very good efforts with $50K starter allowance company at nine furlongs at Saratoga. The horses that have shipped here from the Spa have been well backed, and they’ve definitely been live over the last few weeks. He’s made steady improvements in his three year old campaign, and he makes a lot of sense in this race. I’ll definitely use him, but I’ll take a shot against him with Wild Banker (4) who I think could be sitting on a big effort. He met a rock solid group at this level last out. Brice, who ran a monster race, won that race by 7+, and the best he could do there was 3rd. However, he has run stronger races in his past, and he should benefit from that race. He was going well at in longer one turn races on the main track, so getting that experience at two turns last out should only help him here. Paco Lopez, who rode him last out, opts to ride Top Gun Tommy, but I still think he could be rolling late. Friendly Fella (5) is another one that could upset the favorite here, coming in on a two race win streak. Like Top Gun Tommy, he’s exiting strong efforts with starter allowance types. He clearly likes the surface here, winning twice in four starts and finishing second another time. He’ll need to bring his A game, but you can’t argue with his current form.
Race 5: The $85K Pinot Grigio Handicap: Top Pick: 6
The feature race today is where I’m going to take a stand against the heavy favorite, Bramble Bay (3). That mare will be the one to beat in this state bred stakes dash on the grass, but I’m not convinced that she will be as effective in a short sprint like this. Her last few races have all been at two turns, and her only turf sprint in her career was okay, but not great. I’m going to use Rosealba (6) as my single here, thinking that this is the kind of race she wants to compete in. She beat open allowance company in a turf sprint here two starts ago, when making her second career start on the turf. She has enough speed to be in the front here, as she made the lead with a bulky eleven horse field in the Eleven North Handicap on the main track here last month. She struggled to get the final furlong there, so the five furlong distance of this race should be right in her wheelhouse. Bramble Bay may be worth a saver here, but at 7-5 on the morning line, I have to try to beat her.
Win-Early Pick-5 Play: $22.50 Ticket
Race 1: 2, 3, 5, 8, 9
Race 2: 3
Race 3: 1, 4, 6
Race 4: 4, 5, 6
Race 5: 6
Race 6: Top Pick: 7
On the morning line, Dantastic (1) is a short price at even money. She drops to this state bred optional claiming/N1X allowance level, so she’s clearly getting some class relief while facing a group is not nearly as salty as some of the fields she’s been up against. While she is definitely live, she throws in some clunkers from time to time and she only has two career wins in 16 trips to the track. I’d use her in the multi-race sequences, but I think this is an opportunity to play against a heavy favorite. Wildly Good Lookin’ (7) will be my top selection, coming off an upset win at this condition last month. That was not a great field that she beat that day, but she still handled her business professionally. She paid immediate dividends for her new connections after being claimed two back out of a similar race. She’ll need to step up her game in her second race since running for Claudio Gonzalez, but she has scored in three of her last four starts, so the potential is there. Rachel Caroline (6) is an up and comer in the New Jersey bred filly and mare division. She was second, beaten 13 lengths in her debut three back. She misfired two back on the turf going two turns, but that race was still important from a fitness standpoint. She went on to beat the boys last out, cutting back to a dirt sprint with state bred maiden special weight company. There’s not as much pace signed on for this race, so she’ll have to adapt and maybe sit a little closer to the early lead. If she can take another forward move off her first score, she’ll be tough here while facing winners for the first time.
Race 7: Top Pick: 9
The late Pick-5 kicks off with a $12,500 starter allowance for fillies and mares going one mile on the turf. This is not one of the races where I’ll be trying to beat the favorite, as I think Vip Nation (9) should be in line to repeat on this course after a dominating win last month with open claimers. She’s a New York bred that came here and ran well with some sharp horses when running with a $22K tag two back. She dropped and was claimed by Darien Rodriguez for $12,500 last out. He’s won with 40% of his horses making their first start for him off the claim since 2020, and I like that he runs her back in a protected spot. Paco Lopez, who could be sitting on another huge afternoon, gets the return call. While I’d feel very comfortable using her as a single, perhaps the Paddy O’Prado filly, Paddy’s Princess (5), who tries the grass for the first time, is worth a stab here on some deeper tickets. She won with some modest restricted claimers on the dirt two back. She embarrassed her two rivals in an off the turf race last out where she won by almost a 1/16 of a mile. Her pedigree suggests that she could be a runner on the grass, and she’s certainly in good form. She’ll need to run a career top, but she isn’t the worst price stab in this race, especially if her odds float above her 8-1 morning line.
Race 8: Top Pick: 3
Wayne Potts appears to hold the keys to victory in this multi-conditioned $5K claimer. He sends out the heavy favorite, Awesome Alaina (5) who was a close second at this level last out. She finished 12 lengths in front of the third place finisher, R B C Gold (8), who runs back here. Awesome Alaina adds blinkers and certainly has shown that she was able to rebound off a dull effort here two back when facing better. She makes a lot of sense, but I’ll try her stablemate, Jackie Milton (3) on top, in hope of catching a little value. She was reclaimed by Potts two starts ago, after he won with her with $16K N2L and $14K N3L claimers at Aqueduct this past winter. She’s now in her third race off the layoff, as she appeared to need her last two starts at Finger Lakes. She’s done the most damage in her career on a fast dirt track and she should be primed to run a better effort today. On deeper tickets, don’t discount the Colonial shipper, Dreaminofdaisies (4). She ran two sharp races on the turf there, beating $10K N2L claimers on the grass two back. She was a respectable 4th when facing open $6,250 claimers last out. She has improved since joining the Reardon barn, and she could be in the thick of it if she can transfer her turf form to the Monmouth main track.
Race 9: Top Pick: 8
Open maiden allowance horses go 5 and ½ Furlongs on the turf here in one of the more wide open races on the card. I liked the turf debut from What’s Up Mr. Z (8) when facing $30K maiden claimers last out, while making his first start since last October. Trainer Dennis Kendall has done well with his limited sample of horses making their second start off the layoff. I think he could make a forward move here, while also moving up in class. There’s some cheap speed in this race, which should benefit the morning line favorite, Magical Marriage (2). He was a solid second at this level last month when Cheeky Chaps dominated that field. He’s sired by Magician, so it’s no surprise that he’s been running better races on the grass after making his first three career starts on the main track. Morethanaconqueror (7) has not been good in his last few tries, but he showed enough ability in his first few tries last year to make you believe that he could have the ability to run some better races if he can get right. He’s another one that could benefit from a quick early pace here.
Race 10: Top Pick: 6
The late double starts with a $12,500-$10,500 N2L claiming race for fillies and mares going 6 Furlongs. The second-fifth place finishers in a race at these identical conditions eight days ago are entered back here, and that quartet boasts the four shortest prices on the morning line. They all finished within about a length of each other in that spot, but I prefer a few of the newcomers here, as they are dropping in from tougher races. Creative Love (6) and Bahama Breeze (8) ran into each other here on 8/8 when facing $25K starter allowance company on a very sloppy course. Both horses were long odds that day, and both outran their odds finishing 4th and 3rd, respectively. Creative Love was dull last out when trying two turns for the first time in her career in an off the turf race last out at Parx. Her lone try here was good enough and the fact she’s getting class relief is worth taking a chance on her in this spot. Bahama Breeze has also struggled when facing better horses in her last two. She is making her 9th start at the meet and has been a double digit longshot in her first eight. This is the softest group she’s seen though. Mago On My Mind (5) drops and makes her first start on the main track after five career tries on the grass. She won her debut in March at Tampa, but hasn’t had the same level of success when facing winners here this summer. Her pedigree feels like it leans dirt and her main track drills aren’t awful. She’s not the worst idea to take a shot with here. Of the runners that ran here last week, La Luisa (1) is the one that I’ll take back in this one. She’s a three year old filly that improved a bit off a two month rest. She may have grown up a little bit in that time, as she was definitely a bit sharper last out than she had been. She has early foot and the rail, which is always a good combination.
Race 11: Top Pick: 5
The nightcap is a $16K-$14K N2L claiming race at 5 and ½ Furlongs on the turf course. Even when Paco Lopez and Wayne Potts are teaming up on a short priced horse like Red Mule (8), who has only one win in 21 career starts, I have to try to beat them. He was a beaten favorite at this level two back, and he was 4th last out with a little bit better field. He’s trending downward with speed figures, and while he certainly could win this, I’m going to try a horse that he beat last time, Tiger Kingdom (5). He was making his first start in over a year last out, and he ran well enough to believe that he could be better this time around. He was gelded after his last start, and he’s never run a bad race in his three turf sprints. Kathleen DeMasi is very strong with horses making their second start off the layoff. Highly Noted (2) has primarily been a two-turn turfer, but he ran well enough with $10K N2L claimers last out at Colonial to think that he could be okay at the turf sprint game. He has been a dedicated frontrunner when going a route of ground, but he looked pretty comfortable tracking the leaders and making a late charge last time out.
Meet Stats: 128/456 (Top Pick Winners) – $847.20 / $1.86 ROI per $2 win bet