Plenty of stakes action at Monmouth Park this weekend, and our daily Shore Bets will have the picks. Meanwhile, let’s see what else is on tap this weekend:
Top Midlantic-bred Runners in Action
- Page McKenney, ranked second among older horses in the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll, is the mild 3-1 favorite in Saturday’s $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes Saturday at Mountaineer Park (4:30 post time). The Pennsylvania-bred, trained by Mary Eppler, enters off three consecutive placings in graded company, most recently a third in the Grade 3 Cornhusker. In that race, he was some five lengths clear of Carve, who is 9-2 here. Other notables in for the 1 1/16 test include Larry Jones trainee Albano (6-1), who brings jock Kerwin Clark with him; PA-bred Edge of Reality (6-1), who took the Turning for Home at Parx last out for trainer Graham Motion; and Freestyler (10-1), who enters on a four-race winning streak.
- Favorite Tale, fourth among older horses in the Top Midlantic-bred Poll, is 5-1 in the morning line in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga (post time 5:14). The Pennsylvania-bred son of Tale of the Cat romped to a four-length victory in the G2 Smile at Gulfstream last out, dominating a field that included Breeders’ Cup Sprint champ Work All Week, who ran second. He’ll likely try to wire the field under Irad Ortiz. Todd Pletcher trainee Rock Fall, who has won five straight, all by open lengths, including the G2 True North, is the 2-1 favorite.
Midlantic-breds in Graded Stakes
- The Big Beast, a Maryland-bred, is 4-1 in the Vanderbilt and will race against Favorite Tale. Trained by Tony Dutrow, the son of Yes It’s True scored his career-topping win over the Spa strip, taking a win in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop. He’s raced just twice since that August win, however, taking an Oaklawn allowance in March before running fourth, as the favorite, in the Grade 1 Carter at Aqueduct in April.
- Virginia-bred Just Call Kenny (10-1) makes his return to graded company in the G2 Monmouth Cup Sunday at Monmouth Park (post time 4:25). The son of Jump Start, trained by Pat McBurney, ran four times in graded company last year, with his best results being a pair of thirds. This season, he has placed second once in three starts in Monmouth allowance company. Just Call Kenny is one of a trio of Midlantic-breds in the race.
- Grasshoppin, a Pennsylvania-bred, is 20-1 on the morning line in the Monmouth Cup. He is cross-entered in the West Virginia Governor’s Stakes, as well. The son of Cat Thief has won five of 18 career starts and most recently ran third in the Turning for Home Stakes at Parx Racing.
- Valid, another Virgina-bred, is 4-1 on the morning line in the Monmouth Cup. The son of Medaglia d’Oro almost never runs a bad race and won the G3 Fred Hooper earlier this year at Gulfstream Park but has lost six straight since. He most recently was third in the G3 Salvator Mile, behind Bradester who is 5-2 here. Protonico, who most recently won the G2 Alysheba at Churchill Downs on Derby weekend, is the 2-1 favorite.