The Racing Biz is pleased to welcome Shore Bets, with a revolving cast of Monmouth Park handicappers.  Today, Rob Harding takes a swing.

by Rob Harding

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  • Race 3: #2 Padre Graz
  • Race 7: #1 Jahwol


  • Race 9: #4 Skipperdee
  • Race 12: #8 Malekith

Race 1:

  1. #4 One Red Cat 10-1 ML
  2. #1A PJs Magical Wink 7-2 ML
  3. #8 Lewis Henry 10-1 ML

In a race where it looks like there will be a lively speed duel between #2 Siena Indian and #9 Two More Jacs, I will take a chance with a few prices who should be coming late. #4 One Red Cat hails from a barn without a winner on the year, but trainer Bielak is sneaky and tends to have had a few very nice priced horses every meet the last few years. Although light on recent form, there are a few beyer numbers at Monmouth last year that would be competitive here. I am willing to bet that the pace set up could wake this guy back up… #1A PJs Magical Wink has enough speed to stay close but doesn’t need the lead, and receives a nice jock switch from winless Cartwight to hot riding bug Gudiel… Finally, I can thank #8 Lewis Henry for putting me into the position I currently sit in the Monmouth Park “Survivor” contest, as I hooked him when he won at 75-1. Although the races since aren’t very good, there are excuses. If I have learned anything about trainer Berrios over the years, it is that he wins at a number, and 20-1 again today is very possible with a clean break.

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Race 2:

  1. #8 Sublime Twist 5-1 ML
  2. #5 What the Chub 5-1 ML
  3. #7 Jr’s Chili Pepper 5-2 ML

In the top two spots here, I like two horses who were recent reclaims by their barns. #8 Sublime Twist was reclaimed three starts back. Kelly then subsequently tried him around two turns, which returned two flops. Now returns to sprinting where he was a sharp 2nd in that race in which he was claimed and should get a nice trip stalking the early leaders… #5 What the Chub was reclaimed by Kate Demasi, an 18% trainer at the meet, should show good speed from the early bell and poses a good chance to stay on late… #7 Jr’s Chili Pepper is another who flashed good early speed in his last race before folding. Gets in with the weight break today with Gudiel aboard which could make the difference.

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Race 3:

  1. #2 Padre Graz 4-1 ML
  2. #1 Chubble Maker 4-1 ML
  3. #6 Zealevo 5-2 ML

#2 Padre Graz showed a lot of fight last time against an even money favorite going longer, doing all of the dirty work before succumbing late. Although the race last time was solid, this guy does his best work going shorter (4/6 ITM) at the distance… #1 Chubble Maker was overmatched in an open optional 20 last time out, now drops back into state bred allowance company, where he returned to win of the layoff in July… #6 Zealevo will have to deal with several on the engine here, but looks fastest of the bunch and does not have to deal with the impressive Loverbil in here, who beat him the last two times out.

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Race 4:

  1. #1/1A Ness Entry 7-2 ML
  2. #4 Bea Wildcat 8-1 ML
  3. #7 North Ocean 5-2 ML

Both halves of the Ness entry look formidable, with me leaning slightly toward the #1 Lubango, coming in off a hard fought win going slightly shorter. Now claimed by 35% trainer Ness, who is also 35% off the claim. #4 Bea Wildcat has shown very good speed, and I appreciate that the uptick in Beyer was repeated again last time. Looks to be in really nice form for Vitali and will pose one of the best values in the race. #7 North Ocean has been beating up on better, so I ask, why the drop to the basement here? If North Ocean is sound, obviously has a huge shot in here, but with the question marks I raised I will go elsewhere for the top spot.

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Race 5:

  1. #4 To the Flag 6-1 ML
  2. #7 Girl from Glan 4-1 ML
  3. #9 Sweet Butterfly 3-1 ML

#4 To the Flag is in good form, and only tried the turf once against tougher. I will give this one another shot with bug Gudiel in the irons… #7 Girl from Glan was beaten by #1 Mo Didn’t Know in their last race, but Glan was steadied at the start before bringing a furious run late. With a better break, I would expect this one to be involved at the wire late… #9 Sweet Butterfly comes in off an impressive win going slightly shorter last time, but has to deal with an extra half furlong today, so I will side with a few others for the win spot.

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Race 6:

  1. #9 Entertainer 7-2 ML
  2. #1 Jay’s Way 6-1 ML
  3. #8 Decorated Solider 4-1 ML

#9 Entertainer was a good 2nd to a horse named Full Salute, who then promptly came back to run a fine 2nd to a 1st time starter in the Tyro on the grass. That race came back in a good time, and with a step forward I think this one could be very tough today, albeit at a short number… #1 Jay’s Way goes for a 32% first time out trainer and has been working well, which is enough for me to endorse… #8 Decorated Soldier comes in for Pletcher, and has been working well at Monmouth after shipping in for Saratoga. Pletcher is able to get Paco to ride today, which is always a plus at Monmouth. I would expect this one to be sitting close to the pace.

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Race 7:

  1. #1 Jahwol 8-1 ML
  2. #3 Native Strike 3-1 ML
  3. #6 Biamonte 8-1 ML

I have a feeling that 8-1 price on #1 Jahwol won’t hold, but I am still willing to take 4-1 or better on this one. My reasons: Most of the horses out of Eskendereya have appreciated the turf so far, and this one went for a high price at the sale. Additionally, was bet heavily 1st time out at 6-1, and finally, Centeno and Delacour are something like 40% together on the year, so, watch out… #3 Native Strike ran fourth to a horse named Casual Smile in May. Casual Smile came back to win a turf stake on Haskell Day at an upset price, and so the company this one has kept have gone on to do better things… Finally, #6 Biamonte has had plenty of chances, but always seems to run well. Seems like a perfect fit for the 3rd slot.

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Race 8:

  1. #5 Bull Ensign 7-2 ML
  2. #7 Percussion 5-2 ML
  3. #6 Tinto Mesa 3-2 ML

In a race that looks loaded with a lot of early zip, #5 Bull Ensign will find himself well behind in the early stages, but has the capability to pick up all the pieces if a lot of the speed horses take their shots at each other early… #7 Percussion has found himself once again after being claimed by Jorge Navarro, running a game 2nd on Haskell Day to a solid horse in Box Office. I would expect this one forwardly placed again here, but the risk is that #2 Horsens could provide some serious pace pressure… #6 Tinto Mesa was the easiest of winners last time out in breaking its maiden, but I worry that the field he beat wasn’t very good, as neither of the prior dirt efforts had provided much confidence.

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Race 9:

  1. #4 Skipperdee 8-1 ML
  2. #1 Midnight Bounty 9-2 ML
  3. #9 Workerbee 7-2 ML

#4 Skipperdee was claimed last time out by owner/trainer Wayne Potts, who has not started a horse at the meet. I found this fascinating that he decided to take the plunge on this guy. Immediately steps up from 20k to 35k, and while Potts has no stats at MTH, hes 23% off the claim and 13% on the year… #1 Midnight Bounty has regressed after that terrific turf debut in June, but is reunited with Bravo today and gets class relief… Finally, #9 Workerbee comes in off a long layoff, has good prior numbers, and rider Coa makes the trip for 3 for 10 at the meet Proctor.

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Race 10:

  1. #2 Wind Racer 8-5 ML
  2. #6 Candy Portena 6-1 ML
  3. #4 Lets Parlay 6-1 ML

#2 Wind Racer returns on the trainer switch for Derek Ryan, and if this guy runs to his debut on a fast track, he will crush by 10… #6 Candy Portena is a horse that fascinates me. This gal was 1-9 in a 12.5k claimer at Gulfstream, and looked like she could not lose, but did. After being claimed that day, however, she has run off victories in three straight races with ascending Beyers, and continues the ascent up the class ladder today… #4 Lets Parlay was the easiest of winners in a statebred allowance last time out, and while this is a steep class hike, I think Sacco has bigger plans for this one going forward.

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Race 11: G3 Cliff Hanger S.

  1. #6 Special Envoy 8-1 ML
  2. #5 Inchcape 7-2 ML
  3. #1 Middleburg 9-5 ML

#6 Special Envoy has run two good races at today’s distance of 1 1/8, won the local prep for this one, and we have already discussed the Centeno/Delacour team prowess. Although the Beyers are a little light in comparison to a few others, I will take a shot at a price… #5 Inchcape has run comparable Beyers to the favorite, was only beaten a length when they met two back, and was just off of a wicked pace last time out. I think he is better than what he showed two back in not being able to hang on after setting slow fractions, but its possible the turf was deep that day. The entire body of work is impressive on the whole, and so it is worth giving another shot… #1 Middleburg is the deserving favorite, and a must include in all horizontal wagers, but there are some other good horses in here, and is by no means a slam dunk.

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Race 12

  1. #8 Malekith 10-1 ML
  2. #2 Full Pads 6-1 ML
  3. #3 Ignatius 5-1 ML

I thought that #8 Malekith would show improvement on the stretchout last time, and at the top of the stretch she looked quite good before fading late. I have reason to believe she will take another step forward, as jockey Castellano Jr. had to hustle her out of the gate from the 12 hole to establish early position. With a kinder post, I feel more confident she can stay around… #2 Full Pads is trained by Willard Thompson, whose horses usually run well farther into their form cycle. Stretches back out after good efforts sprinting, and I would expect Bocachica to gun for the lead and take them as far as he can… Finally, #3 Ignatius is also coming in off a much improved effort, and the Eddie Broome barn has been relatively hot of late after a slow start to the Monmouth meet.

Rob Harding is an avid horseplayer who recently completed his Masters in Accounting from Fordham University. He is a big Mets and Giants fan, and now lives in New York City. His favorite horse of all time is Animal Kingdom. Rob can be found on Twitter @Harding_Rob.