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 $6,000, 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs

  1. 1- Palm Island (3/1)
  2. 4- Where’s That Cat (7/2)
  3. 2- Proven Warrior (1/1)

The 2, Proven Warrior, looks like the obvious sort, and that’s why I’m going against him. His Brisnet figures look to be among the best in the bunch, running up to a 98 in his last three. However, I’ll be taking a shot against him, because of that huge class drop. David Jacobson claimed him out of his last race for $20,000. He’s now dropping him in for $6,000 one start later, after running a solid fourth for $20k. Now, that drop may not mean much, and he’ll win going away, but I’m taking a shot against. Especially when you consider Proven Warrior will be a very low-priced favorite, it makes sense.

I’ll take the 1, Palm Island, instead. His figures are the second-best in the field, earning a 77, 80, and 82 in his last three. Trainer Claudio Gonzalez has improved his winning percentage to 11%, as his barn continues to heat up. Should Proven Warrior not fire, Palm Island is the most likely winner.

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Race 2: Claiming $5,000, 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs

  1. 5- No More Strippers (7/2)
  2. 8- English Manor (3/1)
  3. 4- Hershyslitethepowr (10/1)

I’ll go with the 5, No More Strippers. His form is consistently the best in the field, earning figures of 80, 83, and 88 in his last three. Not many horses in this race can pull that off; One For Don ran a good race back in June, but that was also his lone start in the barn of Jorge Navarro. Brahman’s last race looks very fluky. English Manor is once again on the outside, after being hung wide throughout in his last start. When all this is considered, it becomes obvious to pick the consistent runner. That horse is No More Strippers.

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Race 3: Claiming $16,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 6 Furlongs

  1. 2- Money Game (2/1)
  2. 6- Misszippityslewda (3/1)
  3. 4- Flashy Zee (4/1)

My pick here is the 2, Money Game. In her last start, at the n/w1x allowance level, she roared up the rail late, narrowly missing by 1/2 length while earning a figure of 92. She’s earned mid-80s figures before, so that race was hardly a fluke. Her late speed is also strong, so a repeat of that strong closing rally is likely.

The 6, Misszippityslewda, was inexplicably flat in her last race. However, that race was over an off track; she may improve on a fast surface. The 4, Flashy Zee, came from off the pace to win at the $10,000 level last out, running a sharply improved figure.

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Race 4: Claiming $20,000 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)

  1. 4- Diana’s Daisy (3/1)
  2. 1- Humantla (5/2)
  3. 2- Set on Salsa (4/1)

I’ll take the 4, Diana’s Daisy in this spot. Her form over the winter at Gulfstream was sharp, earning figures up to a 77 at this level. She’s making her second start off the layoff here, after running fifth over the synthetic at Presque Isle. She’s been working well to prepare for this race, and trainer Michael Rogers hits at an impressive 26% with horses moving from synthetic to grass.

The 1, Humantala, won at this level two starts back, and has the recency edge that Diana’s Daisy lacks. The 2, Set on Salsa, has been in the mix in all of her races here at Monmouth this year, and hopes for a breakthrough today.

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Race 5: Claiming $10,000 (n/w3L), 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs

  1. 5- Invasion Point (3/1)
  2. 8- Keepin it Zeal (9/2)
  3. 6- Category (8/1)

The 5, Invasion Point, is shipping in from Belmont here, and looks very tough to beat. His last two figures, of 85 and 86, are superior to the recent form of anyone else. He’s making his first start off the claim for David Jacobson, who hits at a strong 28% with horses on that angle. His late speed is also among the best in the field, suggesting that he’ll be blowing by the rest of the field while they’re tiring late.

The 8, Keepin it Zeal, dominated a field of n/w2 claimers in his last race. Further improvement would mean likely victory. The 6, Category, was second at this level after getting involved in a duel. The pace projects to be fast again, so his best hope is to try and rate off the leaders.

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Race 6: Claiming $40,000 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)

  1. 8- Killer Crossover (5/1)
  2. 1- Breakeven Analysis (5/2)
  3. 3- Omarvelous (6/1)

My pick will be the 8, Killer Crossover. In his last grass start, here at Monmouth back in May, he rallied strongly down the stretch, finishing second by three lengths. He shipped to Delaware next, only to run third in an off-the-grass event. Now, he’s back on grass, and back at Monmouth, where he ran some of the best races in the field. I’ll take him to rebound with the surface switch.

The 1, Breakeven Analysis, steps back down into claiming company, which he should find easier than allowances. The 3, Omarvelous, had run well on grass at Gulfstream earlier in the year, before moving to synthetic for his last few. Returning to grass should be what he needs.

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Race 7: Maiden Special Weight, 3yo and up, 1 Mile 70 Yards

  1. 4- Park Ranger (5/2)
  2. 6- Have a Good Laugh (6/1)
  3. 7- Smooth Talkin Tom (12/1)

Just about everyone in this race who has good form is stretching out, making it a difficult race to handicap. I’ll go with the 4, Park Ranger, based off his solid first start. After being heavily bet, he broke slowly and was rushed up into contention. He then tired out, but still earned an 83 in his first race. Now, he’s stretching out to a route, which, based on his pedigree, may suit him better. I project he’ll improve a lot going into this spot.

The 6, Have a Good Laugh, also has good figures, but an ugly 0-10 career record. I’m against him until he proves that he can win. The 7, Smooth Talkin Tom, has been steadily improving in his last three starts, and has a chance to get into the exotic spots at a price.

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Race 8: Claiming $16,000 (n/w3L), 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)

  1. 2- Hudson Miracle (5/2)
  2. 9- Call Wil (3/1)
  3. 8- Wally Did It (4/1)

Two horses stand out in here. The 2, Hudson Miracle, has earned around an 80 in all three of his recent starts, including two near-misses at this level. The 9, Call Wil, ran an 85 two starts back, and figures to be on or near the pace. I give the slight edge to Hudson Miracle in this spot, considering his late speed has been much stronger than the rest of the horses in the field. He also gets a slight jockey upgrade, from Joe Bravo to Orlando Bocachica. Furthermore, he gets a new trainer: Marcus Vitali, who has been having a strong season with grass runners, and is 18% when training a horse for the first time.

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Race 9: Allowance (n/w2x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, NJ-bred, 1 Mile

  1. 1- Amblin Easy (4/5)
  2. 3- She’s Hot Wired (6/1)
  3. 4- Wildly Good Lookin (9/2)

The late pick four begins with a single. The 1, Amblin Easy, has earned above a 90 in all three of her most recent starts, something that no one else in the field has done even once. She’s taking a big drop in class, down from a third in the Monmouth Beach Stakes in her last dirt outing. Against a rather weak field of Jersey-bred allowance horses, she should crush.

The 3, She’s Hot Wired, is always in the mix, but her 2-22 career record is hard to swallow. She’s a candidate for the exotic spots, for “shore”, but not for the win. The 4, Wildly Good Lookin, blew away a field of Jersey-bred n/w1x allowance horses last out, showing a dramatic improvement in form. We’ll see if she can keep it up.

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Race 10: Claiming $16,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 5 1/2 Furlongs (Grass)

  1. 2- Claiming Victory (5/2)
  2. 4- Taty’s Gold (5/1)
  3. 5- Girl From Glan (7/2)

I’ll take the 2, Claiming Victory. She wasn’t great in her last race, at the n/w2x allowance level. However, now she’s taking a drop in class to the claiming level, and her figure of 76 is very competitive in this race. I think this’ll be the level where she’ll thrive.

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Race 11: Jersey Shore Stakes, 3yo, 6 Furlongs

  1. 3- Blame Jim (7/5)
  2. 2- Joe Franklin (4/1)
  3. 6- Bluegrass Singer (9/2)

It’s hard to get past the 3, Blame Jim, in the Saturday feature. His figures make him an absolute standout; he’s run a 98, 95, and 104. He nearly wired a field of n/w2x allowance horses last out at Belmont, before being run down by the older Noble Cornerstone. He’s facing no one of that caliber here, so with a clear lead, he should be home free.

The 2, Joe Franklin, dominated a n/w1x allowance field in his last start, and makes his first start in the Jacobson barn. The 6, Bluegrass Singer, was burned out in the lead in the Carry Back last out, and may find the pace more to his liking.

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Race 12: Claiming $7,500 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs

  1. 5- Hereosaurus Rex (9/2)
  2. 9- Notional Romance (7/2)
  3. 2- Just Ace (5/1)

I’ll conclude the afternoon with the 5, Hereosaurus Rex. He’s been close in three races at this level this season, and all of his figures have been in the 70s. He figures to have a solid edge over the rest of the field, and I’ll look toward him to get out.

The 9, Notional Romance, steps down from the n/w3 level, and has sharp late speed. The 2, Just Ace, narrowly broke his maiden against Jersey-breds last out.


John Piassek is a rising sophomore student at Loyola University Maryland, who has been going to Monmouth Park since before he could walk. Last year, he lived a dream by getting to call a live race at Monmouth.  Check out his “Monmouth Shore Things” blog for daily picks and recaps.