Shore Bets: Monmouth Park May 20
Shore Bets returns for a new year of handicapping the racing at Monmouth Park!
by John Piassek
We should be back on the grass for the first time this meet at Monmouth Park, which should produce some better betting opportunities than last weekend. Expecting some cool and partly cloudy conditions today at the Jersey Shore. First post time will be 12:50 PM EDT.
Race 1: Maiden Claiming $12,500, 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs
6- Guaranteed: While the 0-for-17 mark is cause for concern, he consistently runs brisnet figures in the upper-60s to low-70s, which no one else in the field can say. He’s been third or fourth in his last four starts against similar.
4- Steady Heat: Showed good form over the winter at Aqueduct, but disappointed when hung wide at Belmont Park last out. Gets some class relief and hopes to save ground.
2- Match the Pot: Ran a career-high figure of 64 when cutting back to six furlongs last out, after a string of races at a mile. The reduced distance should help him run his best today.
Race 2: Claiming $25,000 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, 5 ½ Furlongs
1- Our Sarge: He failed to finish his last race at Gulfstream Park after clipping heels late, but showed promise in his first two career starts. He makes his first start in three months today, and has worked out well as he prepares to come off the bench.
5- Empty Prize: Will be the primary speed in the field, had been tiring out when going longer distances, and should find the 5 ½ furlong distance more to his liking.
3- Scrap Iron Phil: Picks up the red-hot Nik Juarez, who finished in the top two on eight of his eighteen mounts opening weekend. The horse finished third against similar at Parx last out, and took some steps forward with his form over the winter.
Race 3: Maiden Claiming $20,000, 3yo and up, 1 Mile (Grass)
7- Eyeing Victory: He almost won against $40,000 horses at Laurel Park last time out, now drops in against easier competition. He ran back-to-back figures of 80 in his last two, which would probably win this race easily. Having Graham Motion train is a bonus.
8- Piazza del Campo: This one is also dropping in class, having run for $40,000 last out and for tags as high as $75,000 in the past. His figure of 86 two races back in easily the best anyone’s run in the field, and declined sharply last out primarily because he was hung wide. If he can save ground here, watch out.
10- Hidalgo: Comes into this race off a three-month layoff. Two races ago, he was second against similar at Tampa Bay Downs, with a good figure of 76.
Race 4: Claiming $5,000, 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs
3- Time Iz Flyin: Texas-bred was last seen running at Indiana Grand back in September. He almost always ran in the 70s last year, and has worked well getting ready for his Monmouth debut.
7- Congrats to MK: He had a rocky start last out against $10,000 horses, and wound up fifth. Drop in class should do him some good.
5- Connectable: This one was last seen back in mid-July, but his workouts have been getting faster, suggesting that he’s starting to round into racing shape. Can’t ignore him.
Race 5: Claiming $20,000 (n/w3L), 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)
5- Island Therapy: Battled in the stretch against very similar last out at Gulfstream, but wound up second. He ran a 79 in that race, and almost always runs in the 80s. Juarez retains the mount.
8- Bird Humor: Comes off a big win at Tampa Bay Downs, where he won by open lengths and earned a 78. He figures to come from the back of the pack.
7- Chief Kitten: Got caught wide last out and tired to finish sixth. He finished second against n/w3L claimers three races ago.
Race 6: Allowance (n/w1x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, NJ-bred, 6 Furlongs
4- Love Came to Town: Finished third in the Maryland Racing Media Stakes in her most recent dirt start, cuts back in distance to six furlongs, has hit the board in seven out of ten races at this distance.
5- Diamond Play: This filly got hot near the end of the Monmouth meet last year, with three wins in a row against Jersey-breds. She hasn’t raced since October, and might need a race.
1- Julia Chubouli: Another one coming off a layoff, she was last seen in September. She’s never run anywhere besides Monmouth Park, and hit the board in six out of nine last year.
Race 7: Allowance (n/w1x), 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)
1- Lost Story: Ran a solid second last out, with an excellent, career-high figure of 88. He hasn’t run since February, but has worked consistently at Fair Hill for a few weeks.
7- Musical America: He hasn’t been worse than second in three grass tries, and makes his second start off the layoff.
6- Mr. Brix: Won at Gulfstream last out with a career-best mark of 86, has won two out of his last three, figures to stalk the pace.
Race 8: Allowance (n/w1x), 3yo, Fillies, 1 Mile
1- What About Tonight: This filly’s won her previous two races by a combined twenty-three lengths at Tampa Bay, which gigantic figures in both. If she runs back to either one of those races, she’ll win easily.
7- Teresa Z: Nearly missed at Gulfstream at this level last out, always runs in the mid-80s. Juarez retains the mount.
3- Berned: Finished second in the grade 3 Tempted Stakes last fall at Aqueduct. She’s probably using this race as a prep for races down the road.
Race 9: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w2x), 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)
8- Riviere du Loup: Last year, he lost the Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes by just two lengths, and the United Nations Stakes by five lengths. He peaked at a 94 last year, and ran a solid 86 in his 2017 debut when losing by a nose. No reason to think he can’t improve off of that.
2- Doc’s Legacy: Was well-beaten in his 2017 debut, but ran a good figure of 88 while going seven furlongs. Should improve in his second start of the year.
4- Scholar Athlete: Coming off a six-month layoff here, will be setting the pace, ran a 102 last year in the Commonwealth Derby.
Race 10: Allowance (n/w2x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, NJ-bred 6 Furlongs
2- Bustin Out: If she can return to last year’s form in her yearly debut, the others are running for second.
5- Single Broad: She’s coming off the shortest layoff in the bunch, having made her last start in mid-February. Has improved her figure in each of her last five races, peaking at an 87 last out when third against stakes company.
4- Irish Defence: Won her first two races against Jersey-breds last year, before struggling when stepping up into open company third time out. She has not run since mid-August, and will hope for an easier time on the front end here.
Race 11: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w1x), 3yo and up, 5 ½ Furlongs (Grass)
4- Starship Thor: He won three races in a row before being defeated last out, running third while racing wide throughout. He ran an 88 and an 89 in his last two, much better numbers than any of his rivals.
3- Dubini: Won his debut at Tampa Bay after a rocky start last out, earning a big figure of 87. He’s inexperienced, but has a lot of potential.
2- My Friend: Finished third in his only grass start, figures to stalk the pace from the inside and should sit a great trip.