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

Unfortunately, I am writing this one from my dorm room and I won’t be on hand to see today’s card. Yesterday was an awesome day of racing regardless of the outcome of the Travers. Let’s hope for another great day of racing; best of luck to those of you playing today, let’s hit ‘em hard!

RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000 – $18,000

  1. #3 Julia Chubouli (8/5)
  2. #1 D’Wild Kiss (9/5)
  3. #6 Easy Landing (7/2)

Julia Chubouli has shown speed and faded in her two career starts, so she should improve with the sizable drop in class and addition of blinkers. D’Wildkiss put up the best last out Beyer when she just missed by a head against similar after leading them the entire race. She’ll likely get the lead from the rail, but she may face some pressure up there. Easy Landing got crushed in a tougher open company field, but she should have every chance to run in the money here like she has done frequently in the past (1 second and 5 thirds in 12 career starts).

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]

Race 2: CLAIMING $20,000 – $18,000

  1. #3 My Little Darlings (4/1)
  2. #8 Good Catholic Girl (3/1)
  3. #2 Imperial Cut (6/1)

The top pick in here is My Little Darlings for Vincente Gudiel and Jane Cibelli. She likely needed that last race off of the layoff and she now joins the barn of Cibelli who is great off of similar layoffs. I think may be able to wire this group here with the addition of blinkers and the weight allowance; a return to those turf races at Gulfstream likely makes this one a winner here. Good Catholic Girl just put up her career best Beyer and comes out of a solid third place finish where the place horse came back to win her next race. She is likely to take first run at the top pick and it wouldn’t surprise me if she held off the closers this time. One of those closers I like is Imperial Cut who remains at the same level. Even with some trouble last out, this one appears to be running into form and should be running late.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]


  1. #5 Sonyador (10/1)
  2. #6 Daddy’s Crazy Girl (3/2)
  3. #8 Silver Bouquet (4/1)

I’ll start by saying that Daddy’s Crazy Girl should have every chance to win and would offer some value at 3/2, but I doubt you will get 3/2 and it would be hard to take anything less on an 0 for 11 maiden with three straight second place finishes, plus although she may just be better this time, there should be some pressure on the lead for Daddy’s Crazy Girl. I’ll tread lightly with this race, but I think it is worth taking a shot with Sonyador stretching out and getting Lasix for Skip Einhorn and Nik Juarez. Juarez has really stepped up and easily asserted himself as one of the most talented jocks here, so it is always a plus to see him step in the irons. Sonyador was beaten only two lengths in her first route attempt by Daddy’s Crazy Girl, it wouldn’t shock me if you see the tables turned here now that she is on Lasix. Silver Bouquet put together a solid effort even though she broke poorly and was steadied. She has been gradually improving in each start after the claim by DiMauro and I think you’ll see some more improvement in here.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]

RACE 4: CLAIMING $7,500 – $6,500

  1. #3 Ka Buki Rose (6/1)
  2. #5 House Red (4/1)
  3. #1 Ticket to Riches (8/5)

I think 8/5 is a little short on Ticket to Riches who looks to be the most likely closer in the field. In the $10,000 maiden win she had a pretty fast pace to run into, but I’m not sure if she’ll have such a set up again. I like Ka Buki Rose who is in for the lowest tag yet for Robert Donato and Angel Serpa. When trying the dirt last time this one stumbled and Serpa fell off, but he’s back aboard here and the last workout on August 15th was very encouraging (2nd best of 98 going four furlongs). House Red takes a sizable drop in class and switches to the dirt where she has had some success, but will try stretching out on the dirt for the first time. I see no reason why this one can’t handle the stretch out with Juarez aboard.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]


  1. #5 Huachuca (5/2)
  2. #4 Bid on Line (9/2)
  3. 1/1A Market Tales/Upset City (10/1)

Huachuca looks logical in here as she has field best speed figures and has continued to improve with each start for Edward Barney and Angel Serpa; the last work was pretty solid too, so I expect she’ll turn in another solid effort. The connections of Bid on Line got ambitious and tried open company for a nice pot at Parx and she didn’t run all that poorly considering she started poorly and there was a runaway winner. She’ll get blinkers and some class relief as she is facing Jersey-breds for the first time; a big effort wouldn’t shock me here. The entry is intriguing to me here at 10/1 for a few reasons. Trainer John Mazza is winning above 20% of his races both at the meet and on the year and both horses entered here took a lot of money in their debuts even though Mazza wins at a 10% rate with first time starters. I especially like Upset City by City Zip out of a mare that has produced three runners who earned at least six figures; there is also a full sibling to Upset City that was 1 for 1 in his career. I’ll be watching the odds on the entry, if they’re taking some money don’t be shocked if one of them turns in a nice effort.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]


  1. #6 Tina’s Note (5/1)
  2. #5 Lucky Empress (4/1)
  3. #2 Lost in Success (3/1)

There looks to be a serious amount of speed in this race, so I’ll take a shot with one of two horses who I think can come from off of the pace, Tina’s Note or Lucky Empress. Tinas Note is more of a known commodity on the dirt and she had a nice win off of a 6 month layoff in the first start for Patti Farro, a win angle that is not all that favorable; in the second start off of the layoff I think this one has every right to improve. If you’re looking at trainer stats, go no further than Lucky Empress here. Jane Cibelli wins 20% of starts off of a similar layoff, 34% of starts in which the horse switches from turf to dirt. This runner drops in class here and cuts back in distance, but it’s hard to know what to expect of her on the dirt; if she can replicate her turf form she should win this one. Of the likely pace setters, Lost in Success appears to be the most talented. She will be making her first start in the barn of Marcus Vitali, a 16% win angle, and is in for the lowest claiming tag in her lifetime. This one worked a bullet on the morning of August 25th and appears to be ready to fire a nice effort with Matt Rispoli in the irons.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]

RACE 7: MAIDEN CLAIMING $35,000 – $30,000

  1. #1 How You (7/2)
  2. #2 SS Minnow (8/1)
  3. #7 Royal Palm Drive (6/1)

How You makes his first start in the barn of Jorge Navarro following the claim in a solid effort last out. Navarro is an astonishing 10 for 20 in the first start off of a claim with all maidens. Yeah, you read that right. This one has turf form that makes him a contender as is, but he looks super intriguing here as Daniel Centeno jumps aboard. His most recent race produced two next out winners and he has been working very well in preparation for this one; if this doesn’t scream “live” than I don’t know what does. SS Minnow will make his first start as a gelding and will take a major drop in class from the open maiden special weight ranks for Michael Lerman and Abel Castellano Jr; 8/1 appears to be a solid price on this one. Royal Palm Drive will have Paco Lopez in the irons and will make his turf debut while removing blinkers and stretching out from a sprint. The connections wanted to get this one on the turf two back, but that race was rained off; he is a half sibling to a graded stakes winner on the grass, this may be what he was bred for.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]


  1. #3 Jackie’s Disco (9/2)
  2. #6 My Buddy Zip (2/1)
  3. #5 Sunshine Sandy (5/2)

It appears as if My Buddy Zip and Sunshine Sandy are going to battle each other for the lead here and if one scratches out you should just bet the other because there does not appear to be much other speed, but I’m hoping that Jackie’s Disco is able to stalk these two and pass them late. Jackie’s Disco pressed the pace on a real nice horse two back and in her last start stalked the pace to finish a solid second to another pretty solid horse; the speed figures aren’t exactly on par with My Buddy Zip, who was very impressive in his dominant maiden score, but I’m looking for some value here and I think Jackie’s Disco provides the best value with the pace scenario and jockey change to Daniel Centeno. Sunshine Sandy looks pretty sharp in the barn of Jorge Navarro, but I am not sure she will be able to battle with My Buddy Zip in this spot; I think she could be good enough to hold off others, though.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]

RACE 9: CLAIMING $20,000 – $18,000

  1. #10 Daddy in the Dark (8/1)
  2. #2 Tree Fire (5/1)
  3. #3 Killer Crossover (5/2)

Daddy in the Dark takes the ultimate cutback in distance from a handful of steeplechase races, but this one has put together some solid efforts over the flat. The connections thought enough to claim this one for $45,000 last year and I’m convinced he has some ability; a couple of half mile works this month should have him sharp and ready in this spot. Tree Fire drops in class and looks pretty solid here for Nik Juarez and Phillip Scott; this one should be able to work out a nice stalking trip and should improve with the class relief and the move back to a firm turf course. Killer Crossover has to be respected with his shown consistency over the grass; a clean break and the class relief should make him a logical contender here.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]

RACE 10: The Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes Purse $150,000. For Three-Year-Olds And Upward. One And One Eighth Miles.

  1. #5 Bradester (9/5)
  2. #6 Matterhorn (9/2)
  3. #1 Matrooh (3/1)

I think Bradester will get the lead in this spot and will be able to hold off the others with Cory Lanerie aboard, but he has shown that he does not necessarily need the lead to win if he is to get challenged by a longer shot, so I like his chances here with as much class as he has. Matterhorn has been improving for Todd Pletcher and will have the services of Joe Bravo who absolutely shows up in big money races. I think he’ll work out a similar trip to Matrooh as they both look to make runs from right off of the pace. Matrooh ships in for Chad Brown and also has been steadily improving. Just like Matterhorn, he’ll have to step up to win this one, but nothing is out of the realm of possibility with the likes of Pletcher and Brown.

[su_divider top=”no” style=”double”]

RACE 11: MAIDEN CLAIMING $35,000 – $30,000

  1. #6 Short Iron (5/2)
  2. #1 Extol (9/2)
  3. #7 Royal Stage (3/1)

Paco sticks around for the last race of the day, always a good sign to me, as he is scheduled to ride Short Iron for Bryan Lynch who does not bring many runners to Monmouth Park; he’s 1 for 4 with 2 second place finishes this year, so this one is probably live. She is making her second start around two turns and projects to have a fast pace to close into. Extol takes a major drop in class from the special weight ranks for Graham Motion and Daniel Centeno. Motion can get anything to run well over the turf; it’s unlikely he spots this one here if she doesn’t have a shot. Royal Stage has put together two solid turf routes and I would expect nothing new here. Apprentice Vicente Gudiel is aboard and it appears he may want the lead, but he should feel some pressure up there; still have to respect this one, though.

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.