Monmouth Park Racing Preview – 6/4/21 – By Eric Solomon

The Friday twilight card features the first look at two year olds this meet, as 15 fillies are entered in a maiden special weight contest that was split into two divisions. All 15 horses are slated to make their first career starts this evening. There are scattered storms forecasted in the general area after some rain and storms that came through the area on Thursday. I’ll hope that we’ll be able to see this first turf race of the year in New Jersey tonight, but I’ve handicapped the 5th race for both surfaces just in case. First post tonight is 5:00, and the lone pick-5 starts in Race 2 on the Friday night cards.

Race A B C Exotics Menu
1 2,6,7 3,5 DBL, PK3, PK6
2 1 2,3 DBL, PK3, PK5
3 1,2,3 5 DBL, PK3, PK4
4 3,4 5 DBL, PK3
5 Turf: 1,2

Dirt: 2,5,10



6 1,7 2,5


Race 1: Top Pick: 6

This is the first two year old race in New Jersey this season, and the race oversubscribed, so the racing office split this 4 and ½ Furlong maiden special weight race for fillies into two divisions (Race 3 being the other). Trainers Todd Pletcher, Kelly Breen, and Robert Reid are represented with horses in both heats. No one in either race has any racing experience. On paper, this one looks like the tougher handicapping puzzle of the two races. I ended up with the Fair Hill shipper, Continentalcongres (6) as my tepid choice here for Michael Trombetta. This Virginia bred filly has been working consistently in the AM down in Maryland and she gets the leading rider, Jose Ferrer, to pilot for her first career try. This cleverly named daughter of Constitution is one of many with a shot in the opener. Todd Pletcher has a pair in here, and I prefer the filly that’s been based here since shipping up from Florida, Where’s Bridgit (2). She has two decent works over the track since coming here from Palm Beach Downs. She’s sired by Bernardini out of a Not for Love mare that was better on the grass. She’s one that would likely prefer to be going a bit longer, however, her works fit with this group and Tomas Mejia, who has been riding well at this meet, gets his first mount for Todd Pletcher, which could be a huge opportunity for him. If he has some horse, he’ll be riding this race as if it were the Kentucky Derby. Rosemary Potatoes (7) gets a desirable outside draw for her debut for Kelly Breen. She too has some nice workouts since shipping up from Palm Beach Downs. Always A Party (5) is the other Pletcher horse, this one owned by the Repole Stable. She’ll likely be the shorter price of the pair, as she is the most expensive purchase in the race. There is a race at Belmont next week carded for two year old fillies, so I’m a little perplexed as to why she’s entered here for a purse of $47,500, when she could be running for $75K next week. Perhaps this duo has another horse that has worked at little better that they’re eyeing for that race. It also could be the option for Pletcher to run his two year olds with Lasix, which is not an option in New York. Disco Ebo (3) is a PA bred making her first start for Robert “Butch Reid this afternoon. Reid is 0-11 with first time starters since 2020, however, he has done very well with two year olds, most notably, saddling Grade 1 winner, Vequist last year. Disco Ebo has a speed forward pedigree by Weigelia out of a Disco Rico mare.




Race 2: Top Pick: 1

The first leg of the Friday Pick-5 is an optional $16K claiming/starter allowance contest going 1 Mile and 1/16 on the main track. I think Flat Out Flashy (1) is the one to beat, shipping in from Parx. He was 4th beaten 9 lengths when Sheer Flattery ran another monster race at the $8K starter allowance condition there. That horse is in such good form, I don’t think Ness wants to try to beat him at the $8K starter allowance condition at Parx right now. The ship makes sense, and Flat Out Flashy should be very tough here, as there is no one in this race that’s running as well as Sheer Flattery. I think the rail draw should be advantageous here, and he feels like a logical single to start the sequence. On deeper tickets, there are a few that might be worth covering. Mission Oberon (2) has been in good form since being claimed by William Hogan at the end of March. He’s hit the board in his three subsequent starts, winning two back at the $8K starter allowance level at Parx. He hit the front in the stretch last out in with conditioned $25K claimers before yielding late, while going off at 10-1. Bold Paynter (3) is one of two that are entered for the first since leaving the Monica McGoey barn in Florida and joining the Victor Russo barn in New Jersey. Bold Paynter left Florida in much better form than his stablemate, Grimgrinnin’ Ghost (6). He seems to have the best closing kick in this group. He has never started at Monmouth before, however, his sire, Paynter, won the Haskell here in 2012.


Race 3: Top Pick: 2

This is the other division of the maiden special weight race for two year old fillies. Butch Reid sends out Mainstay (2), who is a two year old filly from the Australian bred sire, Astern. She was cross-entered to make her debut in the Astoria on Thursday at Belmont, but opted for this spot instead. She was listed at 5-2 on the morning line in that race, second choice behind a Wesley Ward Runhappy filly, Happy Soul, who was a monster winner in her second career start last out at Belmont. Her works at Parx are solid, and I believe her connections believe she has some quality to her if they were considering debuting her in stakes company. Regardless of Reid’s 0-11 record with first time starters in the last year and a half, I think she needs to be on your tickets. Next Tuesday (3), who is a daughter of Kantharos, is certainly another candidate to graduate on debut. She has worked well for Kelly Breen over this course since coming north from Florida. Her dam was better at middle distances, doing most of her damage on the turf. She may be one that they’re eyeing for some turf sprints down the road, however, her dirt drills are good enough for this group. Pletcher sends out Miss Interpret (1) who gets a rail draw for her debut. She’s another one shipping down from Saratoga to New Jersey, where she is allowed to run with Lasix. She looks like she’s figured some things out in the AM over her last two works, as there has been significant improvement from her previous drills. I Can Run (5) has the deepest work tab of the group, working consistently at Parx before shipping here. She doesn’t seem as fast in the AM as the top two, however, Gonzalez does well with his first time starters, winning 29% of his races with them over the last year and a half. She’s one to add to deeper tickets.


Race 4: Top Pick: 4

I think there are two that should be tough to beat in this time restricted $5K claiming race that is also open to N3L horses. Cutter Helm (4) ships in from Penn National after beating $4K time restricted claimers on 4/14. He remains eligible for this race as the claiming price was lower than the today’s $5K tag. He’s been in consistent form on the Grantville oval and he has hit the board in 5 of 7 starts on this track, winning two of them. Purimeter (3) was given two months off after a dull effort with time restricted $5K claimers at Tampa last out. That race was restricted to non-winners of two races in 6 months, however, he became eligible for the non-winners of 1 race in 6 months today, as his last win came exactly 6 months ago, on December 4th. He has some decent efforts on this course last year, and has won three times in ten starts here. Allied Invasion (5) is already a winner at the meet, dominating a soft field of multi-conditioned $7,500 claimers on opening day here. Mejia gave him a great ride, rallying up the rail and blowing by the pacesetter. This is a stronger group, despite the lower claiming tag though. The field he beat last week was made up of mostly three year olds, three of which ran races that showed significant regression from their prior form. This field is tougher, and he’s up against horses that are more consistent. If there are passing storms and the track comes up wet again, I would upgrade his chances as he does run well on off tracks. I’m planning on playing against him on my main ticket, but I will cover with him on some deeper ones.


Race 5: Top Pick: 1 (Turf) / 5 (Dirt)

After having all 13 races last week rained off the turf, we should get the chance to see horses running on the turf this weekend at Monmouth. However, there are passing storms forecasted, so depending on timing and location of those storms along with the amount of rain we got yesterday, this race could be the 14th straight grass race that is moved to the main track.

Assuming the race stays on the turf, I’m expecting Hector Diaz to use the speed and the rail draw to his advantage with Ella’s Island (1). She struggled to hold on against better horses in her four starts at Tampa over the winter. She drops back to the multi-conditioned $16K claiming company and returns to Monmouth, where she has won two of her three career races. Both of those wins came at the meet here last year and both of those races came at this level of competition. There are other horses that will want to be forwardly placed in this spot, but she has the advantage with the rail draw. If you draw a line through the race three back where Towa (2) stumbled at the start and lost the rider, this five year old mare has been in good form at Gulfstream this winter and spring. She yielded late on a good course last out with open $16K claimers. The presence of Ella’s Island to her inside is not ideal for her, but she has shown some tenacity, most notably in her 12/2/20 race, which was the last time she faced conditioned claimers. If the race comes off the turf, she’s never run two turns on the main track, but she has a few races that were ok, especially one in the slop. I could play here on dirt in what will likely be a depleted field. Lake Parima (4) may be the benefactor if the speed falls apart on the front end. She ran well this winter at Tampa, tracking the leaders and making her move in the stretch to win twice at the meet for Juan Arrigada. She’s a four year old filly that has been gradually improving and she should fit well with this group today.

If this race comes off the turf, I’ll use Luna Queen (5) on top with Jose Ferrer. She’ll be making her third start off a 21 month layoff. She was a winner on the grass with $10K claimers last out at Tampa. There’s reason to believe her form can improve on the main track at two turns, especially when facing what will be a group that is light on dirt form. Mani Pedi (10) would be able to draw in to the race off the AE list if the race was on the main track. She has the most consistent dirt form of that group, running multiple times conditioned claimers at Aqueduct this winter. She tried the turf at a higher level of competition last out and finished 7th. She’s probably not good enough on grass, but she makes sense on the main track.


Race 6: Top Pick: 7

If I can stay alive in the Pick-5, I’ll want some coverage in this New Jersey bred maiden special weight where 4 of the 7 are making their first start in 2021. I’m not seeing enough to endorse the first time starters, and Gulfstream invader, Cash Kid (3), who ran once on the turf in February, has been beaten double digits in both dirt starts. I’ll use all four of the horses coming off long layoffs here and I’ll try Morethanaconqueror (7) on top. He was better on the turf, but he closed well in his lone dirt start to get third in his last start in 2020. I think there should be an honest pace here, and there’s the potential for the front runners to weaken last. He certainly could be the one picking up the pieces in the stretch. Lib’s Contento (1) is one of two running from the Rory Huston barn. His only start was at this level in the mud on this course back in October. He was away a bit slow that day and he was beaten 2 and ½ lengths by Pogi (2) who has more experience. I think he can show more today with a clean break off the layoff. Pogi and Metedeconk (5) would both likely benefit if one of the other scratched out of this race. Both have shown the desire to be forwardly placed, and both have backed off late in all of their starts. I prefer Pogi in this spot with the inside draw to be more likely to keep finding. However, Metedeconk merits a look while moving to a higher percentage barn for his first start of 2021.


Pick 5 Play:

Race 2: 1

Race 3: 1, 3, 5

Race 4: 3, 4

Race 5: 1, 2, 4 (Turf) / 2, 5, 10 (Dirt)

Race 6: 1, 2, 5, 7


Meet Stats: 12/37 (Top Pick Winners) – $65.00 / $1.76 ROI per $2 win bet

Leave a Reply

Further reading