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: Maiden Special Weight, 2yo, 5 Furlongs[su_column]
- #3- Remarkable Tale (2/1)
- #6- Paddy O’Wagon (7/2)
- #4- Awesome Slew (5/2)[/su_column]
Only one horse in this seven-horse bunch has any experience: the 2, Not So Quiet Man, who was not so great in his debut. It’s tough to separate the rest of the first-time starters, but I’ll take a shot with the 3, Remarkable Tale. All of his workouts to prepare for this race have been strong, most recently a :47.4 half-mile on June 6. I know it’s been a while since his last workout, but no one was working stronger than he was, which should bode for victory.
The 6, Paddy O’Wagon, has turned in good workouts as well. Not to mention, trainer Jane Cibelli has been having a great Monmouth meet, going four-for-15.
Race 2: Claiming $12,500 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs[su_column]
- #5- Rocket Man Richie (3/1)
- #2- Eight Cents (5/1)
- #1- Keepin it Zeal (4/1)[/su_column]
A casual glance at the race would suggest that the 2, Eight Cents, is a contender. He was determined in his last race, running wide the whole way, only to miss by a half-length. Also, he’s run better in sprints than at routes. He’s cutting back to 6 furlongs here, suggesting he is the most likely winner.
However, I cannot, in good conscience, endorse a sucker horse like him. In his 23-start career, he’s won only once, while coming in either second or third a whopping 14 times. That’s no horse to put your money on, especially a horse, like him, who will probably go off as one of the favorites. Can he win? Yeah, of course he could. Would I bet him to win? No.
Instead, I’ll take the 5, Rocket Man Richie, who was near the lead while racing wide all the way last out. He looked clear at the 1/8 pole, only to be caught late by Pelekas Beach. He still earned a brisnet figure of 80, the best in the field by four points. He should be a better value than Eight Cents, too. I’ll take him.
And I will also say: avoid betting Jimmy Connors, the 4. He was running in allowance races last year, and now he’s being dropped into a $12,500 claiming first off the layoff? No thanks!
Race 3: Maiden Claiming $50,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, NJ-bred, 6 Furlongs[su_column]
- #2- Fakery (3/2)
- #6- Golden Earrings (4/1)
- #7- Market Tales (4/1)[/su_column]
This race requires no imagination. The 2, Fakery, is a standout. In her last start, she was defeated by Bustin Out, who was 2/5 and could not have lost that race if she tried. Fakery lost that one by four, but was eleven lengths clear of the third place finisher. As a matter of fact, the third and fourth place horses in there are coming back in here. Fakery blew them away, and none of the others in here have shown anything showing that they can beat her. Fakery can’t lose.
Race 4: Claiming $5,000, 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs[su_column]
- #2- Back Forty (5/1)
- #6 Bob and the Gang (6-1)
- #10 Awesome Heart (5/1)[/su_column]
The 5, Gansett Bay, has all the makings of a Monmouth Park winner. He’s shipping in from Belmont, where he was just claimed by David Jacobson. His figures are the best in the field, having earned an 84 in his last outing. He’s ridden by the best jockey here, Paco Lopez.
However, when one looks between the lines, alarms are raised. It’s not just that he was claimed for $12,500 last out, and is now dropping in for $5,000. It’s that his most recent workouts have been in plow horse time. He did 3 furlongs in a dawdling :40.0 in his last workout, and has gone as slowly as :41.1 in recent memory. That’s bad news, and suggests he may be in for a low price for a reason. He’ll also be a big favorite in here, too. I’ll pass.
Instead, I’ll take the 2, Back Forty. He’s very consistent, earning figures in the high 70s-low 80s every time. Nobody else in the field who has four legs (looking at you, Gansett Bay) does that. He’s taking a drop in class here, after being consistently overmatched at the open $12,500 level. I think he’s found the spot where he’ll excel, so I’ll go with him.
The 6, Bob and the Gang, returns to dirt in this race, where he’s shown better form. The 10, Awesome Heart, ran some great figures at the state-bred level at Aqueduct, but has a far outside post and is completely devoid of early speed. That may harm him at this distance.
Race 5: Claiming $5,000, 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs[su_column]
- #9- Lagi Lagi (4/1)
- #8- Pepe (5/2)
- #10- PJ’s Magical Wink (7/2)[/su_column]
A similar field as the fourth race goes in the fifth. Even though he hasn’t won in ten starts this year, it’s hard to ignore the 9, Lagi Lagi, and his last race. He made a bold five-wide sweep around the turn, only missing by a close nose. Unlike in that race, he has some of the best figures in here, earning a 78, an 81, and an 88 in his last three. With a more ground-saving trip, he’s the most likely winner.
The 8, Pepe, also has competitive figures, but hasn’t raced since April. Trainer Jason Servis does have good stats off the layoff, but I’ll look toward fresher rivals for the top spot. The 10, PJ’s Magical Wink, has the best last out figure, of 88, which was earned in a race that he narrowly missed winning.
Race 6: Claiming $6,000, 3yo and up, 5 1/2 Furlongs[su_column]
- #8- Lookingoutforyou (3/1)
- #6- Hop Skip and Away (8/5)
- #2- Street Brawl (7/2)[/su_column]
First of all, my rooting interests in this race are squarely with the hard-knocking veteran Hop Skip and Away, who has post 6. He’s run 75 times, winning eleven times, and is making is 2015 Monmouth debut here. However, he was lackadaisical in his last race at Belmont Park, so I am not “shore” how much he has left in his tank. Regardless, if he wins, it will be a great moment.
My money will be on the 8, Lookingoutforyou. He won his last race in restricted claiming company, at 2/5 odds. Now, he’s going into open company, first off the claim for trainer Jamie Ness. His figures are among the best, an 80, 77, and 89 in his last three. I’m feeling good about his chances here.
A bunch of others are candidates here, too. The 2, Street Brawl, was compromised by a stumbling start last out; before that, his figures were sharp. The 4, Exchange the Limit, broke very slowly in his last race, only to mount a rally and finish fifth. With a better start, he’ll be dangerous. There’s several horses in here who can win it, and if Lookingoutforyou is too low of a price, by all means, feel free to bet against him.
Race 7: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w2x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 5 1/2 Furlongs (Grass)[su_column]
- #6- Indian Splendor (5/2)
- #5- Peggy Joyce (8/1)
- #8- Sweet Tooth Sweety (4/1)[/su_column]
This race begins the all-female Jersey Shore 6. The 6, Indian Splendor, ran one of the best races anyone has run all season last out. She was hustled to the lead from the outside, but wound up getting caught in a duel through a :21.1 opening quarter. Despite all that, she held on to win by almost two lengths. It was a huge effort, one that earned a field-best figure of 92. It showed that, even if she gets entangled in a another duel, she can hang on and dust them off. A lot of the others whom she defeated in that race are coming back here, so a repeat of that last effort should be good enough here.
The 5, Peggy Joyce, is the most likely one to pick up the pieces if the leaders do indeed falter. That’s what she did en route to victory here last out. The 8, Sweet Tooth Sweety, has some of the consistently best figures, but faltered despite a perfect set-up in that Indian Splendor race. Also, trainer Pat McBurney has been less-than-impressive at this Monmouth meet.
Race 8: Claiming $12,500 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 Mile 70 Yards[su_column]
- #8- Whogoosedthemoose (6/1)
- #3- Anita Vacation (4/1)
- #2- Gallant Lady (6/1)[/su_column]
This is a tricky race to handicap. Nobody in the field has shown especially great form over two turns. The one with the best figures in the race, the 7, Sweet on Smokey, is taking a drop from the n/w2x allowance level, all the way down to n/w2L claiming. That’s a really bad sign.
As such, I’ll take the horse in the race who has run the best over a route of ground, and who isn’t taking any suspicious drops: the 8, Whogoosedthemoose. She broke her maiden at Parx at this distance, earning a figure of 79. She’s earned back-to-back 71s at Penn National most recently. It’s not great, but it’s the best among everybody going a route. She’ll be my pick.
The 3, Anita Vacation, ran well over the winter at Laurel at 1 mile, but that was going one turn. We’ll see how he stretches out. The 2, Gallant Lady, has the best figures in the field sprinting.
Race 9: Claiming $12,500, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)[su_column]
- #6- Pleasant McGee (8/1)
- #3- Echale Salsita (5/1)
- #8- Heaven Help Me (3/1)[/su_column]
A wide-open bunch begins the late pick 4. I’ll take a shot with the 6, Pleasant McGee. She recently completed an experiment as a steeplechaser, where she went 0-3, with one second. On the flats, however, she’s shown ability. Her last three figures on grass, earned last fall at Laurel, were 77, 76, and 72, all of which put her in the upper echelon of the field. Assuming she can run back to those, she’s the most likely winner.
The 3, Echale Salista, has shown good form in recent times, earning a 77 in her last start over this course. However, she hasn’t worked since then. The 8, Heaven Help Me, ran the same number in her last race, taking a big jump up in form. The only question is if she can maintain that form, or if she’ll decline back down to the mid-60s.
Race 10: Maiden Special Weight, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 6 Furlongs[su_column]
- #4- Private Estate (5/2)
- #5- Pointe Class (2/1)
- #8- Sudden Snowstorm (9/2)[/su_column]
The likely favorite is the 5, Pointe Class. She earned a figure of 80 in her dirt debut last out, making her the only one in the field to show prior form. She’s also trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Abel Castellano, which means that she’ll be a low price. While she’s got a very good chance of winning, there’s some interesting first-time starters in here, so I’ll look elsewhere.
Specifically, I’ll look toward the 4, Private Estate. Trainer Wayne Catalano doesn’t run many here at Monmouth, but when he does, they do well: he’s won two races from six starters. Paco Lopez also takes the mount here. She’s working well, too, most recently throwing down a :47.2 four-furlong bullet on June 22. She looks fresh and raring to go for this one, so I’ll try to beat the most likely favorite with her.
The 8, Sudden Snowstorm, has similar form as Private Estate, turning in a good 3 furlong workout on June 23. She can upset this race, too.
Race 11: Eatontown Handicap, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)[su_column]
- #6- Stellar Path (7/2)
- #10- I’m Already Sexy (6/1)
- #12- Old Harbor (20/1)[/su_column]
The grade 3 Eatontown is Saturday’s feature race. I’ll go with the 6, Stellar Path, in here. Her figures going in here are the best, having earned a 96 and a 98 in her last two races. She led almost the whole way around in the grade 2 Nassau at Woodbine, only to lose by two lengths. Even so, it was an honest pace in that race, and she didn’t have the figure edge in that race that she does here. She’ll be my pick to add a graded stakes win to her resume.
The 10, I’m Already Sexy, ran a similar race last out in the Mint Julep Stakes at Churchill, but her figure was only a 93. However, if she can get a clear lead, she’ll be one to watch. The 12, Old Harbor, will have to draw in off the also-eligible list to get in here (thanks, rail settings!), but she ran great first off the layoff in her last race. She can definitely improve here.
Race 12: Maiden Claiming $10,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 6 Furlongs[su_column]
- #5- Lina Bella (3/1)
- #8- O’Lucey (5/2)
- #3- Lili St. Cyr (4/1)[/su_column]
I’ll wrap things up with the 5, Lina Bella. She earned a figure of 59 in her last race, best in the field. She was also six lengths clear of the fourth-place finisher in that third-place effort, showing superiority over the rest in the field. Furthermore, she’s earned figures as high as 66 in the past.
The 8, O’Lucey, lost the jockey at the start in her last race, but ran competitive numbers before that outing. The 3, Lil St. Cyr, makes her second start off the layoff here.