The Racing Biz is pleased to welcome Shore Bets, with a revolving cast of Monmouth Park handicappers.  Today, 19-year-old Dan Gonella hopes to help you “get everybody’s money.”

by Dan Gonella

Purse $18,000. For Three Year Olds Or Four Year Olds And Upward Which Have Never Won Three Races. One Mile

  1. #6 Better Man (5/2)
  2. #3 Colonel Jordan (3/1)
  3. #2 Gottcha Blessin (3/1)

I would use a few in Friday’s opening race, but I prefer Better Man with Wilmer Garcia aboard for trainer Pat McBurney. There projects to be a hot pace as Gottcha Blessin and Colonel Jordan have both shown lots of speed at the distance while Category stretches out after showing early speed at six furlongs. Better Man should be able to sit a nice stalking trip and take first run on the pace setters, which is favorable because there does not appear to be much closing kick in the field; he is due to improve making his first start with McBurney since that itself is a 17% win angle. However, it is better to be safe than sorry, especially with unknown track conditions prior to the first race, so the aforementioned pace-setters may be worth a look. Gottcha Blessin had put together his two best lifetime performances at the $7,500 and $12,500 beaten claiming levels before showing nothing in his last effort against $18,000 foes over the turf. You might as well put a line through that last race because he pressed extremely fast fractions over a surface in which he does not prefer, so he had little chance there. However, he has never won from off of the pace, so he may struggle with other speed in the race. Colonel Jordan comes off a front running win against $7,500 beaten claimers, but also has a win from off the pace against $10,000 maidens; he won by ten lengths that day in a race in which he was heavily favored, so take that with a grain of salt. Category has some back class to compete here, but has only run one route race and it was not a great effort. Conditioner Claudio Gonzalez stretches this one out to a mile and puts leading apprentice Nik Juarez aboard so it would make sense for him to want the lead; I think his chances will increase if he does not break on top and settles into a stalking position.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]

RACE 2: CLAIMING $25,000 – $20,000

  1. #6 Discreet Concorde (4/1)
  2. #5 Anna May Our Queen (2/1)
  3. #4 Henry’s Song (9/5)

I don’t see any singles in this turf sprint either, even though I anticipate Henry’s Song will be heavily favored. Henry’s Song makes her first start since December of last year in a race that produced five next out winners. She has definitely shown ability, but I think she may need a race off of the layoff. According to DRF Formulator, Christophe Clement is 0 for 2 at Monmouth on the meet running a horse with a layoff greater than 180 days. She should be one of three likely closers in this field along with Discreet Concorde and The Slipper Fits. The Slipper Fits has shown a solid closing kick at the distance as she takes a slight drop in class; that last $30,000 beaten claiming field was a pretty talented bunch, so don’t sell that race too short; she is a must use in exotics. I like Discreet Concorde who drops in and cuts back to a better distance following a tough mile allowance race last out. At 26-1, she was running well against better for five or six furlongs until she tired and was not ridden at all in the stretch, so the running line looks much worse than her performance actually was. Trainer Terri Pompay is having an excellent meet, winning at a 22% rate, and jockey Gabriel Saez has been riding very well lately; expect Discreet Concorde to sit off of a hot pace set by Anna May Our Queen, Haunted Vision, Secret Six and Miss Red Cloud and for her to pass her rivals late. Of the front runners, Anna May Our Queen is one you must use in the exotics as she sets fast fractions and has held for second in her last two starts, but I think the pace will be too fast for her to win this one.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]


  1. #2 Twist and Turn (5/2)
  2. #8 Birch Creek Crazy (7/2)
  3. #9 Well Up (4/1)

I think Twist and Turn looks very tough to beat here as she makes her first start since joining the barn of Jorge Navarro. Not only does Navarro win at a staggering 30% in his first start off of the claim, but he wins at a 47% clip in the first start off of the claim for all maidens. In addition, she keeps the blinkers on for the second time while retaining the services of Nik Juarez, making her look like a winner here. Birch Creek Crazy gets blinkers here and will be guided by apprentice Vicente Gudiel who has won 17% of his races in places such as Illinois and Florida. Birch Creek Crazy was sent out at 3-1 last out and did not show much, but trainer Doug Nunn wheels this one back in 7 days, likely meaning that that last race took almost nothing out of her; expect improvement out of her here. Since coming over to Monmouth Well Up has run two decent races to close in for a second and a third place finish. She has shown some closing ability and is helped with speed to her inside; she may try to get a little more involved early, but as others tire, expect to see her passing horses in the stretch.

 [su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]

RACE 4: CLAIMING $16,000 – $14,000

  1. #3 Sterling’s Maximus (2/1)
  2. #7 School on a Hill (12/1)
  3. # 8 All About Yasom (3/1)

This is not an easy race to figure out pace scenario, but Lucky Year and Stealing Saratoga appear to be the main speed threats. Lucky Year has Nik Juarez aboard and appears to be running into form after facing a tough field last out while Stealing Saratoga put up his best career speed figure two starts ago, as a 10 year old, on the lead. While facing better last out she reared at the start and was never in the race which gives her a legitimate excuse. I think there is a chance that Pacific Image will be near the leaders, and I’m not exactly sure what to expect from Street Icon. Street Icon showed speed in his 2015 debut, without the apprentice aboard I would think he may not be quite as forwardly placed in his second start of the year, but you never know. Sterling’s Maximus should have every chance to win this race and make it three in a row for trainer Michael Trombetta. Sterling’s Maximus will receive a positive jockey change to Trevor McCarthy who appears to have a lot of options here since Sterling’s Maximus has shown versatility in her career. In his last four starts, he has had some type of excuse, but he has put together four bang up efforts, three of which came in allowance company. School on a Hill offers a lot of value as a closer in this field after running well in defeat to Sterling’s Maximus last out. School on a Hill seems to like the turf; if Serpa can get him a little closer he should have a good chance this time out.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]


  1. #1 Hold Everything (6/1)
  2. #6 One for Don (7/2)
  3. #4 Perfect Trippi (3/1)

My top pick in this final leg of the early pick 5 is Hold Everything for trainer Patti Farro. Hold Everything wired the field in his last race and will now receive a slight weight allowance as apprentice Vincente Gudiel will be aboard. I don’t see a ton of speed in this race and I am encouraged by the bullet workout on August 6th. Perfect Trippi retains the services of Abel Castellano Jr, who also rode Dubious Bachelor last out, and will receive a very slight class drop as he goes from open claiming to a beaten claiming race. Perfect Trippi was impressive in his 2015 debut as he won off of a six month layoff. That was followed by a decent effort in which he had some trouble on the turf against better; last out he ran a decent second place finish after he may have taken the lead a little too early. If there are tiring horses on the lead, Perfect Trippi will get first run at them. One for Don makes the first start in the barn of Paul Kopaj, a 25% win angle, and returns off a game second place finish in a race which produced a next out winner. He has faced better in prior starts and he should sit a nice trip right off of Hold Everything; if I don’t get a fair enough price on Hold Everything, I would likely play One for Don.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]

RACE 6: MAIDEN CLAIMING $35,000 – $30,000

  1. #4 Extensible (2/1)
  2. #7 Brad and the Gang (6/1)
  3. #3 High Above Georgia (9/2)

It is hard to bet against Chad Brown who has won 50% of his starts at this Monmouth meet. Extensible drops in from the maiden $75,000 rankings and takes off the blinkers for one of the best trainers in America. Extensible is definitely the most proven turf runner in here and should appreciate the major drop in class. Brad and the Gang appears to be the speed of the race for Pat McBurney and Trevor McCarthy. The connections tried to get him on turf two starts ago, but the race was rained off.  The following start was a solid turf debut for him as he finished a close third in a race where the second place finisher won next out. Without much other speed in the field, Brad and the Gang has a major shot at an upset. High Above Georgia makes his first career start for Arnaud Delacour and Daniel Centeno. Delacour thrives with first time starters, maiden claiming debuts and debuts at over a mile as he ships this runner up from Fair Hill, Maryland. Centeno and Delacour win together at a 47% rate and the last workout makes me think this one can run, but unless Extensible goes off at 3/5 I likely will just watch this one here.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]

RACE 7: CLAIMING $25,000 – $20,000

  1. #4 Chase Lane (5/1)
  2. #8 Cleancut Kid (2/1)
  3. #7 Lord Tyrion (4/1)

I’ll start by saying that Cleancut Kid is the horse to beat. In the first start for Jacobson this gelding put together a really nice race against better and put up a really solid speed figure in the process. However, I’m a little concerned with the layoff for a barn that would prefer to run them back quickly. There should be a brisk pace which would set up well for him, but with other closers he may have some work cut out for him if he is not 100% sound off of the layoff. I really like Chase Lane for Todd Pletcher and Abel Castellano Jr making the second start in 2015. Last out in a five furlong turf sprint he ran into an up and coming turf monster in Oakbluffs who won a stake at Monmouth last weekend. Chase Lane was not involved in the race at all, but he galloped out past the winner after losing by more than 10 lengths over a surface which he likely does not prefer. This is his first time in for a claiming tag and the class relief will be much appreciated; he may be overlooked and should offer some good value as another closer in this spot. Lord Tyrion gets some class relief and cuts back to six furlongs after having some excuses in recent starts. Jamie Ness spots them well and this one will be piloted by Trevor McCarthy once again; he should have a nice trip stalking likely pace setters such as Dave the Usher, Keepin It Zeal and Distinctivelygreat.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]

RACE 8: CLAIMING $16,000 – $14,000

  1. #9 Treasury Devil (9/2)
  2. #5 Hyman Roth (4/1)
  3. #4 Fan Base (6/1)

We have what should be a nice betting race here in the 8th as we get back to the turf for a $16,000 open claiming race where I really like Treasury Devil for Jorge Navarro and Daniel Centeno. Treasury Devil makes his first start after being claimed for $20,000 by Jorge Navarro for owners who excel at the claim and drop game. Treasury Devil was unlucky to have run into a very nice turfer in Lighthouse Sound who has put together three straight impressive route wins over the Monmouth turf course. Now, Treasury Devil gets the services of Daniel Centeno who is taking off of two other mounts in this race to ride here for Navarro. Treasury Devil has put up really solid speed figures against better and should sit a nice trip off of the leaders; his last two four furlong works in 46.3 and 47.0 make him look very live here. Hyman Roth is a solid turfer for Derek Ryan that is taking a drop in class as well. This level of competition should suit Hyman Roth well; he’ll look to take first run at the leaders, but will have to show a little more to not get caught. The likely pace setter is Fan Base who is also making his first start in the barn of Jorge Navarro. Fan Base returns to the turf where he has clearly done his best running and should not face a ton of pressure on the lead outside of Pasta Lover or possibly Here’s Johnny. Fan Base is stepping up in class, but improvement is expected under the conditioning of Navarro.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]


  1. #4 Va Banque (5/2)
  2. #5 Pomeroy’s Package (2/1)
  3. #2 Eye Luv Lulu (7/2)

In today’s feature I landed on Va Banque, but that was not an easy decision among a very solid group of sprinters. I like Va Banque because he should sit an ideal trip behind the leaders. I envision Joe Franklin going straight to the lead from the rail with the weight allowance and he should be pressured or stalked by Pomeroy’s Package. The pace should be too fast for anyone to wire the field, especially since there is some strong closing kick in the field, but I imagine that the consistent Pomeroy’s Package will press the lead and will gain the lead shortly after the turn. I am of the impression that Pomeroy’s Package likes to run second and will get passed by Va Banque late; take note that Va Banque is also the only runner in for the claiming tag, meaning that he is the only horse who has achieved enough to not be eligible for the conditions. Eye Luv Lulu will likely try to come from off of the pace and get set up by stablemate Joe Franklin. Eye Luv Lulu has put together some solid state-bred efforts in New York and he may be better suited going one turn in his second start for trainer David Jacobson; he should make a late run, but I am not sure if he can pass Pomeroy’s Package.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]


  1. #9 Post a Joke (10/1) *If Matt Rispoli is still riding*
  2. #1 Heavy Hitter (3/1)
  3. #11 Yourthekingjimmy (5/2)
  4. #3 Divine Glory (10/1)

It is important to note that jockey Matt Rispoli’s only mount of the day at Monmouth is Post a Joke. This is important because it is in the last race of the day, starting after 5:00 pm, and he has four mounts at Penn National, a 3 hour car ride from Monmouth, starting in the first race at 6:00 pm. If Rispoli stays for the mount here, I’m taking that as a sign that Derek Ryan has Post a Joke ready to go in this spot. I can forgive Post a Joke’s last start around two turns in the slop because it is possible that he hated both of those things. That race was on 8 days rest which tells me the start before took nothing out of him, energy wise. It may be a bit of a stretch, but I’m not too fond of taking real short prices in these maiden finales. Heavy Hitter steps up a tad in class and will be piloted by Trevor McCarthy for trainer David Jacobson. Having McCarthy stick around for the day’s final race is always a positive sign; he should sit a nice trip off of what projects to be a quick pace. Another who projects to sit a similar trip from the outside is Yourthekingjimmy. Last out he looked like a sure winner as he took the lead at the top of the stretch, but it appears that Paco Lopez moved too early and the horse did not have enough left in the stretch. Expect the hot riding Gabriel Saez to wait his turn and make a move that will allow him to have enough horse for the finish. Another big price should be Divine Glory who had no chance in his last start after breaking in the air. This one gets blinkers and cuts back to a sprint following a race that produced two next out winners. His best career start was with blinkers, so if he should have improved chances in here in the third start off of a long layoff.

Dan Gonella is a 19 year old accounting major at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ. When he is not playing baseball or stuck in the bunker at Lakewood Country Club, Dan, a resident of Point Pleasant, NJ, spends his summer weekends at Monmouth Park. Dan was introduced to horse racing by his parents who had owned numerous thoroughbreds up until the early 2000s. An aspiring horse player, Dan hopes to own some horses of his own someday. If you are ever at Monmouth Park and see a kid looking embarrassed because his dad is screaming something like “I got everybody’s money!” make sure to say hi, because it is likely Dan.