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 $12,500 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, 1 Mile[su_column]
- #3- Mi Amore/2-1
- #1- I Will/3-1
- #6- Run Slado Run/4-1[/su_column]
In a race like this, a lightly raced horse with improving form is a good bet. That is the profile of the 3, Mi Amore. He’s making his third start off the layoff, coming in with brisnet figures of 78 in his last two. He was much the best in his last race, rating off the leaders, then rolling on by for a convincing score. Furthermore, the horse whom he beat by four lengths, Diacetto, won his next race here, on June 28. That’s a good sign that that race could be live, by maiden claiming standards, and that Mi Amore is the most likely winner.
Although it’s not readily apparent on paper, the 1, I Will, has the best early speed ratings in the field, plus the 1 post. He may wind up getting a clear early lead–we’ll see. The 6, Run Slado Run, is two for his last three and rallied from the back to win at this level last out.
Race 2: Maiden Claiming $10,000, 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs[su_column]
- #4- Clowney/9-5
- #3- Zeal Genius/2-1
- #7- Super Garces/10-1[/su_column]
It’s hard to find anything good to say about anyone in this field, mostly because they’re all, frankly, pretty lousy. I’ll land on the 4, Clowney, in here, as he ran a decent figure of 72 in his last race. That was an improvement of thirteen points from his last race, and nine points better than anyone else did in their last race. Because of that, I’ll pick him. However, I can’t endorse betting on anyone with enthusiasm.
Race 3: Claiming $20,000 (n/w3L), 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles[su_column]
- #3- It’s Charlie Again/5-2
- #4- Stitcher/5-2
- #6- Farmer Jones/2-1[/su_column]
I’ll go with the 3, It’s Charlie Again. In his last outing, he was off the pace, mounted a big rally on the turn, and just missed by 3/4 of a length. He earned a figure of 82 in that race, only equaled by Better Man, who is coming out of a sprint, and now trying to stretch out. The only other one competitive with him recently is the 4, Stitcher, who has a strong aversion to winning. In his last six starts, he’s been second four times, and third twice. That’s a huge red flag that he’s a sucker horse, and not worth betting.
The 6, Farmer Jones, is also worth considering. He may have finished last in his most recent, but he was only beaten by two lengths. It was his first race in four months, and he’s been firing bullets for this one. He may take a big step up here.
Race 4: Claiming $7,500 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs[su_column]
- #8- Siena Indian/3-1
- #2- Hereosaurus Rex/7-2
- #3- Tio Kanki/5-1[/su_column]
I picked the 8, Siena Indian, in his last start, and he let me down, finishing third. However, he ran well in that race, dueling two-wide before giving way late for a respectable third. He earned a figure of 76 in that race, the best last-out number in the race. There is speed on his inside, in Boss Daddy and Hereosaurus Rex, but none of those two generally stick around for long once pressured on the lead. On the other hand, Siena Indian does, and that’s why he’ll be my choice.
Race 5: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w1x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 5 1/2 Furlongs (Grass)[su_column]
- #5- Sunrise Kitty/3-1
- #7- Double the Energy/9-2
- #6- Billyscrystalball/6-1[/su_column]
My pick in here will be the 5, Sunrise Kitty. In her last race, on April 5 at Gulfstream, she dueled on the inside, but still drew off to an easy three-length score. She earned a figure of 88 there, the best in the field, and earned an 85 before that. Those two are the best recent pair of figures earned by anyone in here. Jason Servis also hits at a solid 24% with horses first off the layoff, and being ridden by Joe Bravo certainly didn’t hurt anyone. She will have to contend for the early lead with others, but I think that she’s good enough to brush them off and win it.
The 7, Double the Energy, had to duel in her last start, and also won it, but earned a lower figure than Sunrise Kitty. It was an impressive effort nonetheless, and she enters this race with three ascending figures. The 6, Billyscrystalball, narrowly missed in her last two down at Pimlico, and is a strong contender for the exotics.
Race 6: Claiming $5,000, 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs[su_column]
- #7- Pro Prospect/7-2
- #6- Chilton/2-1
- #4- Reggie D/4-1[/su_column]
I kept waffling between the two major contenders in this race: the 6, Chilton, and the 7, Pro Prospect. Chilton looks appealing on the surface, shipping in from Belmont, and running recent figures of 81, 82, and 90. Pro Prospect is making his second start at Monmouth on the year, running a 78, an 83, and an 83 in his last three. While I acknowledge that Pro Prospect will be overbet, thanks to his being trained by Jamie Ness, I can’t back Chilton with good faith. He was running for $25,000 two back, and for $16,000 last out, and now he’s dropping in to the $5,000 level. That’s cause for concern for me. Pro Prospect, meanwhile, has been running at this level consistently, so it’s nothing unusual to be back here. He’ll be my pick, although I will probably not be playing this one to win.
Race 7: Maiden Special Weight, 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)[su_column]
- #5- Bridge of Luck/9-2
- #3- Deep Consideration/4-1
- #9- Amigo/3-1 [/su_column]
While usually I try to avoid sucker horses in maiden races, it’s tough to do here, as just about every major contender in here qualifies as one. The 3, Deep Consideration, lost to the very talented Boot Scootn Daddy two starts back, and missed by a neck last out. However, in ten career races, he’s come in either second or third a whopping NINE times. The 9, Amigo, ran figures of 88 and 84 two and three starts back. However, he’s 0-13 lifetime. The 8, Steel Sky, has been showing improving form, but he’s 0-12.
Because of this, I’ll take a bit of an unorthodox shot in here, in the 5, Bridge of Luck. In his last race, at Pimlico, he made a terrific closing rally, coming from thirteen lengths back to finish fourth, beaten by three lengths. He earned a figure of 77 there, an improvement of eight points from his debut. Making just his third career start, he has not yet shown that he’s a sucker. He’s my pick to win it, and hopefully will be ignored in the betting.
Race 8: Maiden Special Weight, 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles[su_column]
- #7- Carajillo/2-1
- #5- Strike Em Down/4-1
- #6- Word/7-2[/su_column]
If he runs back to his recent races, the 7, Carajillo, will annihilate the field. His last two races resulted in figures of 89 and 88. Nobody else in the field comes within even six points of those numbers. He worked well on June 27 in preparation for this race, and should find the going here easier than he did at Belmont. There’s little chance of him losing, assuming everything goes as planned.
The 5, Strike Em Down, has been running well here at Monmouth and at Delaware, but sports a risky 0-13 lifetime mark. However, only three of those starts have been on dirt, so there may be hope for him yet. The 6, Word, is a first-time starter from the Kelly Breen barn, and merits some respect by default.
Race 9: Claiming $20,000, 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)[su_column]
- #9- Kitten in May/10-1
- #2- Curve of Stones/7-2
- #1- Cheyenne Nation/5-2[/su_column]
Another wide-open field of grass claimers will travel to the post here. I’ll go with the 9, Kitten in May. In his last start, at this exact same level, he rallied from the clouds, making up ten lengths to finish third. He earned a figure of 84 there, and did the same thing three starts back. No one else in the field has earned that high of a figure this year. He’s no standout in here, but in a wide-open field like this one, he’s my way to go.
The 2, Curve of Stones, was very wide the whole way around last out, and still ran a respectable fifth. With a more ground-saving trip, he can improve. If the 1, Cheyenne Nation, runs back to his figures last year, he’ll be very tough. However, he hasn’t raced since January, and there’s no guarantee that he’ll return to that form. Tread lightly.
Race 10: Allowance (n/w2x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, NJ-bred, 6 Furlongs[su_column]
- #5- Love Came to Town/2-1
- #7- Sweet Henrietta/6-1
- #2- She’s Hot Wired/4-1[/su_column]
The third, fourth, fifth, and sixth-place finishers from the Open Mind Handicap all return in this Jersey-bred allowance. However, in my estimation, none of them can hold a candle to the 5, Love Came to Town. She blew the field away in her last race, winning by seven lengths while earning a brisnet figure of 92. Nobody else has earned a figure in that range, and it would be surprising if any of them could run with Love Came to Town. I expect a win here, and hopefully a showdown with More Than a Party in the near-future.
The 7, Sweet Henrietta, steps down to Jersey-breds after a dull outing in open company. She did show signs of life last year sprinting, however, and hopes to re-capture that magic here. The 2, She’s Hot Wired, was near the lead in the Open Mind before fading to third. However, it was her first start of the year, and she was well clear of three of her rivals in that race. If Love Came to Town doesn’t fire for some reason, she’ll be dangerous.
Race 11: Elkwood Stakes, 3yo and up, 1 Mile (Grass)[su_column]
- #7- Kharafa/4-1
- #8- Rose Brier/9-2
- #2- Plainview/8-1[/su_column]
Monmouth has put together a terrific field for this running of the Elkwood–a full field of grass stalwarts will assemble here. It wasn’t easy to make a selection, but I eventually settled on the 7, Kharafa. His figures are among the best in the field, having earned a 98, 96, and 99 in his last three. He’s well-proven over a route of ground, having won the Mohawk last year at 1 1/16 miles at Belmont. He’s making his third start of the year, showing that he may start to round into his best form.
Going even deeper, the pace situation may benefit him. Plainview, Cement Clement, and Decisive Moment, among others, all have a ton of early speed, but not a lot of late speed. Kharafa, meanwhile, is well-balanced in both categories. He can sit off a potentially hot pace, then make a big move on the outside and roll by to victory.
Also worthy of consideration is the 8, Rose Brier, who had a tough wide trip in the Red Bank, but still ran a great figure of 95. He, too, can rate off the pace and go by when asked.
Race 12: Maiden Claiming $10,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 Mile 70 Yards[su_column]
- #10- Savanna Breeze/4-1
- #2- Highland Dancer /7-2
- #4- Be Smitten/6-1[/su_column]
I’ll go with the 10, Savanna Breeze, to close out the show. She showed a lot of improvement in her last start, running a clear second at this level, while earning a figure of 56. That’s one of the best earned by anyone in the race, and shows that she looks like she’s ready to run a race that can beat a field like this.