Shore Bets: Monmouth Park July 1
by John Piassek
Outside of the Haskell, you won’t find a more important race on the Monmouth Park calendar than the United Nations. Over the past ten years, champions such as Better Talk Now, English Channel, Presious Passion, and Main Sequence have conquered this race. This year’s edition goes as race 11, at 5:57 PM EDT. As usual, race 1 will be at 12:50 PM EDT.
Race 1: Claiming $6,000, 3yo and up, 5 ½ Furlongs
2- He’s a Slam Dunk: Battled on a hot pace last out for $8,000, but held on and won by 1 ½ lengths. He’s hit the board in five out of six lifetime, and draws an advantageous post position.
5- Amace: Won going away last out, albeit over only two rivals at 1/5. Any Navarro-Castro horse is dangerous by default, and his brisnet figures are strong, but he’s going to find things tougher today.
1- Red Rocket Express: Closed from the back at Delaware Park in his most recent start, and got up to win by a nose. Ran a strong 79 last out, and earned figures as high as 86 earlier in the year.
Race 2: Claiming $5,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 Mile
3- Can Can Babe: A confirmed front-runner ships in from Aqueduct and stretches back out in distance. She tired on the front end against higher-class competition several times over the winter, but does have a gate-to-wire score on her recent resume.
2- Glorious Moment: Gets back on the dirt and drops in class. She’s lost her last three dirt races by more than ten lengths each, but her figures in those races are in the low-to-mid 70s, which ought to make her a contender at the least.
1- Dusty Street: She’s improved her figure in each of her last three starts, including a fourth-place finish when moving to a mile last out at Delaware. She didn’t have much of a kick in that race, but it’s not a great field, and a duplication of her 67 last out will put her in the exotics.
Race 3: Maiden Claiming $20,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 Mile (Grass)
8- Crazy Daisy: She led almost all the way around and fought on well in her seasonal grass debut. Retains Nik Juarez’s riding for this spot.
4- Mandeville: Has run as high as an 80 on the grass in the past, didn’t fire in her seasonal debut, with a dull fifth. She’s got the ability in her, but whether she’ll show it is an open question.
6- Kate n Kerri: Showed some mild punch when finishing second last out at this level. She’ll be rallying from far behind.
Race 4: Claiming $16,000 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs
1- Salori’s Bank: This Belmont invader scratched out of a similar spot in New York last week to run here. She usually runs in the mid-80s, which would absolutely demolish this group.
7- Thirtydaysinjune: Broke her maiden as an odds-on favorite at Monmouth two races ago. She shipped back to Belmont Park last out, and was hung wide, but only lost by ¾ of a length with an excellent figure of 80.
3- Parting Shot: Got engaged in a three-wide pace battle last out, but hung in there to break her maiden in her seventh try. Makes her first start off a two-month layoff and gets an undercard ride from Jose Lezcano.
Race 5: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w1x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares 5 1/2 Furlongs (Grass)
1- Liana Susquehanna: She broke her maiden last out by closing from the back, ran a lifetime-best figure of 82 on debut and earned a 79 in her first start back off the layoff. Room for improvement second time out, Juarez stays on.
6- Gold Tinker: This one’s got a similar profile as Liana Susquehanna. Last out, she almost wired a similar group at Penn National in her first race off a four-month layoff.
3- True Pleasure: Was vanned off last time at Belmont, but has worked well since then, including a workout on grass. Has shown good grass form in the past.
Race 6: Maiden Claiming $25,000, 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs
3- Bun Bun: Went off as the 7/5 at this level last out, but lost the jockey at the start. Prior to that, ran consistent figures in the mid-60s, and gets a needed cutback in distance.
4- Baby Isabella: First-timer for Graham Motion has worked well at Fair Hill, and gets Florent Geroux to ride.
5- Show Me Mo: Showed a flicker of ability on grass over the winter at Gulfstream Park, running figures as high as 76. Maybe she can transfer her new-found ability over to the brown stuff.
Race 7: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w1x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 5 ½ Furlongs
6- Frosty Margarita: After spending 2016 in nothing but stakes races, she chooses an allowance race to make her 2017 debut in. Gets Paco Lopez aboard, who really started to heat up last weekend. Has tons of early speed, and should beat this group easily even off the layoff.
5- Stormy Embrace: Switches back to the dirt following two consecutive defeats in stakes races. The last time she faced allowance company, she won, and earned a figure of 91.
1- Zealous Scholar: Ships in from New York with a boatload of early speed. Will be hustled to the lead from her post position two, and will use the speed-favoring track here to her advantage.
Race 8: Maiden Special Weight, 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)
7- Robusto: Engaged in battle for the lead throughout last out, and lost by a neck, with a figure of 80. Earned an impressive 87 in his debut in the race prior. Todd Pletcher is still searching for his first victory of the Monmouth season.
9- Brianbakescookies: 0-for-9 mark is cause for concern, but did earn a 92 in his most recent race. He cuts back in distance from 1 3/8 miles, and Clement has won two races from six runners at the current meet.
2- Finglas: Finished fourth on debut at Pimlico, with a mild closing kick. Has worked well at Fair Hill since then, including two bullet workouts.
Race 9: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w1x), 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs
2- Space Shuttle: He would have been one of the favorites in the Jersey Shore Stakes last weekend, but scratched out to run here. He was promising when breaking his maiden last out, and looks like a great-looking 3-year-old.
1- Great Lou: Crushed a $10,000 claiming group as a big favorite in his most recent race, with a figure of 97. The big question is: is it sustainable?
6- Town Classic: He’s improved in all of his races on the year, and is coming off a solid starter allowance score at Belmont, where he earned a figure of 88.
Race 10: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w2x), 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)
9- Laythatpistoldown: Ran a great race against $25,000 horses last out with a great figure of 91. Jockey downgrade from Bravo to Wilmer is a little concerning, however.
8- Hockey School: Didn’t do much after a wide trip at Belmont last out, finishing eleventh. However, he earned an excellent figure of 92, showed some great middle pace in his last few races, and picks up Paco Lopez.
6- Tusk: Makes his third start off the layoff here, and improved by five points up to an 88 last time out.
Race 11: United Nations Stakes, 3yo and up, 1 3/8 Miles (Grass)
2- Itsinthepost: He was looking like one of the top grass horses earlier in the year, after two graded stakes wins. A wide trip in the Charlie Whittingham Stakes led to a flat effort last out. This is his big chance to recover.
1- Beach Patrol: Didn’t show much punch in the Manhattan Stakes, when he finished fourth. Prior to those two starts, he lost two grade 1s by less than a length, so he’s still got promise.
6- Liam the Charmer: Came from off the pace to lose the Whittingham by less than a length, in what looks like a breakthrough effort. Espinoza comes in from California to ride.