The Racing Biz is pleased to welcome Shore Bets, with a revolving cast of Monmouth Park handicappers.  Today, 19-year-old aspiring announcer John Piassek hopes to make the right call.

by John Piassek

The season is beginning to wind down here at Monmouth Park: this is the second-to-last Saturday of the meet. For the first time all year, there won’t be any stakes on the program; two Jersey-bred allowance races headline the show.

Race 1: Claiming $5,000 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 Mile 70 Yards

  1. 1- Daddy’s Crazy Girl (3/1)
  2. 3- Skirt Stake (9/2)
  3. 6- Kellyslittlesecret (9/2)

A lot of these are sprinters trying to stretch out. The 1, Daddy’s Crazy Girl, is the exception. Most of her work has been done over a route, including her one and only career win. She was wide throughout in that race, yet still persevered and won, earning a field-best brisnet figure of 67. She earned a 72 in the race before that, demonstrating that she can consistently flash high speed. Now, she’ll have post 1, meaning less ground loss, and an easier path to victory. She’ll be my play.

The 3, Skirt Stake, has been second and third in two consecutive starts at this level. The 6, Kellyslittlesecret, earned a 73 two starts back, the best anyone’s ever earned.

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Race 2: Maiden Claiming $10,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 Mile 70 Yards

  1. 5- Unbridled’s Quest (2/1)
  2. 6- Cape Ann (8/5)
  3. 3- Silver Bouquet (3/1)

The 5, Unbridled’s Quest, looks the best here. Her last two figures jump out over the rest: she ran a 64 and a 65 in those two starts. That’s a summit no other runner in this bunch has reached. While those figures were earned in sprints, her routing form is not bad either. In her one race going a route, she earned a respectable 62. That was also against straight maidens; she may find the going easier against this sad-sack field of bottom maiden claimers.

The 6, Cape Ann, showed respectable form on grass, and is trained by the astute George Weaver. Weaver’s 17% with horses making their second start off a layoff, and 18% with horses switching from grass to dirt. The 3, Silver Bouquet, was eased in her last race after having to check sharply. Before that, she earned a 63 while routing, enduring a tough trip along the way. With cleaner going today, she’s worth a shot.

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Race 3: Claiming $12,500, 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs

  1. 4- Keep the Canoli (3/1)
  2. 6- No Free Lunch (6/1)
  3. 3- Bobby V. (5/1)

It’s a field full of horses stabled at Monmouth Park for the majority of the year. One of these is my pick: the 4, Keep the Canoli. He’s only made one start at a sprint this season, but it was a winning effort, earning a figure of 89 there. Since then, he’s been running in routes, running figures as high as 93. The cutback to a sprint should be a benefit, as not only has he proven he can run that short, but his stamina means that he won’t be stopping on a dime.

The 6, No Free Lunch, invades from Parx, and carries figures in the 80s into this race. He was hung wide behind a gate-to-wire winner in his last race; expect easier going here, and, as a result, a higher figure. The 3, Bobby V, has a sprinting win this season as well, but has been consistently disappointing at low odds. Not to mention, his trainer, Shane Murphy, sports an ugly 0-22 record on the year.

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Race 4: Claiming $20,000 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, 5 ½ Furlongs (Grass)

  1. 5- The Slipper Fits (4/1)
  2. 2- Anna May Our Queen (9/5)
  3. 9- My Little Darlings (3/1)

This is a good race to take a stand against the favorite. The 2, Anna May Our Queen, has been ridiculously low odds in all three of her most recent starts at this level, yet she’s lost every single one of them. She does have a figure edge, and a surplus of early speed, but there’s no way I can bet her at her likely low odds. I don’t want to be a sucker. I’ll take someone else.

That someone else is the 5, The Slipper Fits. I know that her jockey, Jonathan Zayas, has been less-than-successful at the meet. However, she has a few things going for her. For one, her last-out figure of 78 is the best in the field by seven points. She has a ton of late speed, and is cutting back from a respectable effort at one mile. In her last grass sprint, she was a closing second at 15/1 odds. You won’t get those odds today, but it’s better than having to lose money on Anna May Our Queen again.

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Race 5: Claiming $20,000 (n/w3L), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 6 Furlongs

  1. 5- Musket Mary (5/2)
  2. 6- Concealedwithakiss (7/2)
  3. 2- Chatt Hills (2/1)

There aren’t many more certain things in life than the 5, Musket Mary, winning this race. Her figures leap out over the rest; she’s earned at least an 80 in all three of her most recent starts. She’s won three races already this year, and has not been worse than second sprinting. Her figures give her a gigantic edge, as do her late pace numbers. Don’t expect value, but expect to see her getting her picture taken at the end of the race.

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Race 6: Claiming $20,000 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)

  1. 2- Workerbee (3/1)
  2. 5- Imperial Cut (8/1)
  3. 3- Well Composed (4/1)

A compact field of ten has assembled to begin the pick five. My pick here will be the 2, Workerbee. Her figures going a route are not just better than the rest of her rivals; they are superior. She ran a strong figure of 77 last out, in her first start off a six-month layoff. In the past, her figures have reached as high as an 89, which would blow the rest of these away. The only horse to come close to those is the 6, St. Abbey, who earned those figures in sprints. Over routes, her form has not been nearly as strong. Workerbee looks the best.

The 5, Imperial Cut, was fourth and third most recently at this level, showing sharp figure improvement. She may be a factor at a price. The 3, Well Composed, was not well composed in her last start, running rankly on the lead. When she’s better handled, her form is competitive with these. Watch for improvement.


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Race 7: Allowance (n/w1x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, NJ-bred, 6 Furlongs

  1. 1- Huachuca (5/2)
  2. 5- Gingge (7/2)
  3. 3- Totally Gaga (8/1)

Today’s co-feature drew a field of nine Jersey-bred fillies and mares. I’ll go with the 1, Huachuca, in this spot. She easily defeated a bunch of Jersey-bred maidens in her last start, dramatically improving her figure. She has plentiful inside speed, with her main challenger to the lead being hung on the outside. This appears to be a filly on the upswing, and I’ll tab her to win her second in a row.

The 5, Gingee, broke her maiden easily, but was disappointing in her last start at this level. I’ll give her a chance to bounce back. The 3, Totally Gaga, has been placing in the top four recently at big prices, including a third at 142/1 a while back. She can’t be ignored for spots underneath.

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Race 8: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w1x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 Mile (Grass)

  1. 8- Shesfromboston (6/1)
  2. 6- Bargaining Table (3/1)
  3. 10- Thinking of Mom (6/1)

I’ll pick the horse-for-course here: the 8, Shesfromboston. Her Monmouth record has been tremendous this year: two wins from three starts. Her figures have also been terrific: she earned an 87 en route to a win at this level three starts back, and ran a competitive 82 running over her head in n/w2x company at Delaware last out. Now, she enters a caliber that she’s whipped more than a few times before. She’s the best.

The 6, Bargaining Table, ships down from Saratoga, where she was a close second most recently. Watch for her, though she may be overbet. The 10, Thinking of Mom, defeated a claiming field last out with a gate-to-wire score. She may have a harder time clearing to the lead here, and will have better horses closing in on her late.

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Race 9: Allowance (n/w1x), 3yo and up, NJ-bred, 6 Furlongs

  1. 3- Bat Cave (5/2)
  2. 2- Greed is Good (9/2)
  3. 6- Scobeyville (7/2)

My choice will be the 3, Bat Cave. He’s been competitive all year at this class, missing by a close nose in his last start versus these same horses. He ran an 81 there, and earned an 85 two starts back. He’s getting the riding of Matthew Rispoli, one of the best jockeys left on the grounds. I can’t consider him a “shore” thing, considering he never wins that much, but he’s the most likely one to get the job done here.

The 2, Greed is Good, broke his maiden last out versus maiden claiming company, and has been showing improving form. The 6, Scobeyville, has been in the money three times this season from seven starts, and ran a sharp figure of 86 three races back.

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Race 10: Maiden Claiming $20,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)

  1. 9- Starship Hostility (5/2)
  2. 3- Royal Stage (7/2)
  3. 5- Phantom Flight (3/1)

I will close the show with the 9, Starship Hostility. On the surface, her form is extremely unimpressive, with eight consecutive off-the-board finishes. However, in this race, her figures are the best in the race, having earned a 68 and a 70 in her last two starts. She’s running at the lowest tag she’s ever been in for, and should find the going here easier as a result.

The 3, Royal Stage, has been no worse than fourth in three route efforts this season. The 5, Phantom Flight, ran a decent figure of 68 in her grass debut last time out.

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John Piassek is a 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.