The Racing Biz is pleased to welcome Shore Bets and 19-year-old John Piassek into the fold. John will provide weekly full-card handicapping of Monmouth Park.
by John Piassek
Race 1: Claiming $16,000 (n/w3L), 3yo and up, 1 Mile[su_column]
- 5- Peter Castleboy (7-2)
- 4- Laghubaar (9-5)
- 7- Stitcher (5-2)[/su_column]
Last time out, I picked Laghubaar, only to see him disappoint me at ridiculously low 3/5 odds. He takes a drop in price here, from $25,000 that day all the way down to $16,000. His BRISnet figure also declined by eight points that day, from 89 down to 81. At a low price, he’s a horse I can’t strongly endorse.
The 7, Stitcher, looks like the next-most-logical selection in here, as he’s been running well at Parx in his last few. However, he never, ever holds on for the win, despite being a front-runner. The only two times he’s won, it was against a field of Texas-bred maidens at Retama Park, and a claiming event at Parx in which he had a really easy lead. He’s not getting that here, with the speedy Al’s Jubalee looking to go for the front from the inside. The only way he can get to the early lead is if he is really hustled to the front from the outside post, and then is able to withstand all challenges to hold on. I’m not “shore” if he’s capable of it, and I wouldn’t bet on it.
Nobody in this field has super-strong credentials, so I’ll land on the 5, Peter Castleboy. He beat nothing in his last race, but he was extremely wide the entire way around, and still won, earning a BRISnet figure of 77. That’s among the top last-out figures in the race. As long as he stays closer to the rail, he should improve off that race.
Race 2: Maiden Claiming $35,000, 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs[su_column]
- #6 True Simon (3-1)
- #2 Brad and the Gang (5-2)
- #5 Splitter (6-1)[/su_column]
The 6, True Simon, is a virtual cinch. In his last race on May 24, he hopped at the start, lost a few lengths, yet rallied well to finish second, three lengths clear of the rest of the field. I noted him as one to watch after that race, and he’s found the perfect field to beat–his figure is superior to every horse in the field except one–the 2, Brad and the Gang, who earned a BRISnet figure of 82 last out. However, he’s been so flat in his three career starts, I have a hard time endorsing him regardless, especially at a likely low price.
Race 3: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w3x), 3yo and up, 1 Mile 70 Yards[su_column]
- #3 Encryption (8-5)
- #6 Freestyler (7-2)
- #2 Market Blaster (6-1)[/su_column]
The 3, Encryption, is taking a big drop in class here–down from the Pimlico Special to this N3X allowance. He’s also a standout in here, as his last three BRISnet figures are all above 100, a mark that nobody else has cracked in their last three. Don’t expect too much value on him, but he’s as much of a “shore” thing as you’ll find.
Others to consider using below him are the 6, Freestyler. who has run two straight gutsy races this season, and the 2, Market Blaster, who is coming off a decent effort at this level at Parx.
Race 4: Claiming $5,000, 3yo and up, 1 Mile[su_column]
- #1 Master of Humor/1A- Puget Sound (5-2)
- #6 Gintraker (7-2)
- #2 Key to a Cure (6-1)[/su_column]
If Jamie Ness elects to run the 1, Master of Humor, over the 1A, Puget Sound, I would say that he’s completely out of his mind, because Puget Sound looks like the most likely winner in the field by a longshot. He’s first off the claim for Ness, which is always a great angle to bet. His figures are the best, too: running an 84, 81, and 79 in his last three. Nobody else in the field does that consistently, so he’ll be my top choice.
The 6, Gintraker, hung in well after dueling in a sprint last out, and stretches back out to a route, which he may prefer. The 2, Key to a Cure, won at the $5,000 level last out at Monmouth with a three-wide rally, while showing continual figure improvement.
Race 5: Claiming $12,500, 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)[su_column]
- #3 Majestic Jess (2-1)
- #7 Saturday’s for Fun (6-1)
- #2 Step Brother (10-1)[/su_column]
It’s a wide, wide, wide open race to close out this early pick 5 sequence. Without a large amount of enthusiasm, I went with the 3, Majestic Jess. Last time out, he showed speed, only to be caught late by a swarm of runners. Regardless, he only lost by a length, earning a BRISnet speed figure of 79 for that effort. Two others in the field did that in their last race–the 2, Step Brother, who picked up some pieces to get third at 65/1, and the 7, Saturday’s for Fun, who was little menace in that same race. I feel like Majestic Jess’s early speed gives him a noteworthy edge, plus the class drop means that he’s less likely to be caught by better rivals here.
Race 6: Claiming $16,000, 3yo and up, 1 Mile 70 Yards[su_column]
- #5 Allstar (2-1)
- #6 Summit County (3-1)
- #4 Van Fraassen (5-1)[/su_column]
The 5, Allstar, is the one to beat. He was behind horses in the stretch last time out, but eventually got clear to score, earning a best-in-the-field figure of 86. He’s always been consistent at that level, earning figures in the mid-80s to high-90s throughout his recent form. He defeated his main contender (on paper), Van Frassen, last out. It’s hard to find any more reasons to go against him, so I’ll pick him on top.
The 6, Summit County, has been competitive in the past, but his figures have been declining recently, and he’s stretching out in distance, too.
Race 7: Claiming $35,000 (n/w3L), 3yo and up, 1 Mile (Grass)[su_column]
- #6 Arrive (4-1)
- #2 Here’s to Mike (3-1)
- #7 Hudson Miracle (7-2)[/su_column]
Another tough field looms here on the grass. I’ll go with the 6, Arrive, who ships in from Maryland. A cursory glance at his figures would show a decline–his last race was an 80, down from an 87 two back, and an eye-opening 96 three back. However, that last race is easily excusable. For one, he was entered against N2X allowance horses–much better than he’ll be running against today. He was also impossibly wide in that race, rallying six-wide after having to check on the turn. With only eight horses in this field–as opposed to 13 in the Maryland race–he should get a cleaner trip in here, and subsequently run back to his figures of old. Trainer Jamie Ness and jockey Trevor McCarthy have also been having great meets, only further enhancing his cause.
The 2, Here’s to Mike, has run two solid races recently, including a good rally last out at this level at Monmouth. The 4, Call Wil, was competitive at this level last year, while the 7, Hudson Miracle, ran well last year, but was dull in his seasonal bow at Aqueduct.
Race 8: Allowance (C), 3yo and up, NJ-bred, 6 Furlongs[su_column]
- #6 Loverbil (2-1)
- #8 Light’s Gone Wild (5-1)
- #1 One for Don (6-1)[/su_column]
This race has some weird conditions: three-year-olds and up, NJ-breds, who have started at least once in an NJ-bred allowance race, AND which have not won two NJ-bred allowance races. Strange.
Anyway, there’s some salty veterans in here, and the best of the veterans is the 6, Loverbil. He ran a big race last out in the John Reilly Handicap, with a three-wide sweep to overtake Rainbow Heir. He was caught late by the much-the-best Saucy Don, but still earned a BRISnet figure of 97. The only one to do that recently is the 1, One for Don, who is taking a giant leap in class here. Loverbil has shown class in the past, is continuing to improve, and should get the job done here.
The 8, Light’s Gone Wild, has already won two races on the meet and appears to be coming into his own; he could be dangerous as well.
Race 9: Claiming $20,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 5 1/2 Furlongs (Grass)[su_column]
- #6 Double the Energy (5-2)
- #3 Love That Kelly (3-1)
- #7 Taty’s Gold (7-2)[/su_column]
I’ll go with the 6, Double the Energy. Last time out, at a similar level and distance, she was bottled up almost the entire way down the stretch, with no room to run. She finally got clear late, only to miss by three-quarters of a length. Her figure actually improved off of that race, to an 82, and it could improve even more with a clean run here.
The 3, Love That Kelly, has run well in the past as well, but she’s cutting back to a sprint from a route. I’m not “shore” what that means in terms of her figures, but I wouldn’t bet to win in this spot.
Race 10: Allowance (N1X), 3yo and up, NJ-bred, 1 1/16 Miles[su_column]
- #3 Miami Music (3-1)
- #7 Tribal Honour (5-2)
- #6 Ride Ride Ride (2-1)[/su_column]
Despite his less-than-impressive last race, I’ll give the 3, Miami Music, another shot. He was against a tough bunch of starter allowance horses in that race, and it was also his first start off a three-month layoff. Before that layoff, he ran back-to-back figures of 88, which would put him in the winner’s circle here. With that race under his belt, and a solid workout here on June 7, I’ll give him a shot to run back to his old races and win it.
The 6, Ride Ride Ride, also looks good in here, as he was on the pace the entire way around at this level, only to hold on OK. However, the horse that he was dueling with, Mint Julius, is back in here. It’s entirely possible the two of them will engage each other again, which would lead to a losing outcome for both of them.
Race 11: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w1x), 3yo and up, 5 Furlongs (Grass)[su_column]
- #2 Deterrent (5-2)
- #7 Starship Wildcat (7-2)
- #8 El Botas (4-1)[/su_column]
Lots of speed signed up for this one, and none of the horses who can close are all that good. Besides, two of the speedsters in here–the 3, Golden Story, and the 7, Starship Wildcat–engaged in a terrific battle in their last race, holding on all the way to the end to run 1-2. Will they do that again? It’s “shore”ly a possibility.
I’ll try a different route in here, and go with the 2, Deterrent. He’s got one of the inside spots, so even if he’s on the lead, at least he’s not losing too much ground. He ran well on the lead at this level at Gulfstream, so he’s proven he can withstand the heat of the pace. He’s no “shore” thing, and in fact I wouldn’t take a short price on anybody in the field.
The 8, El Botas, is also worthy of a mention, having run a lightning-fast 95 in his most recent outing. and takes a drop down in class from the John McSorley Stakes. The only issue is, he’s only 1-7 lifetime on the grass.
Race 12: Claiming $5,000, 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs[su_column]
- #8 Uncle Chub (9-2)
- #9 English Manor (3-1)
- #11 Brother Mark (5-1)[/su_column]
I’ll select a personal favorite horse of mine in here, the 8, Uncle Chub. He crushed the competition at Parx last out, winning by 1 1/2 easy lengths, earning a figure of 82. That’s the best last-out figure in the race, and he’s run up to an 86 in the past. He likes the track here at Monmouth, hitting the board in four races out of five starts. With nobody else having great stats in this big field, he’s the one I’ll land on.