In Focus: Wagering June 30 MATCH Series race
Imperative won the 2014 Charles Town Classic. Photo by Coady Photography.
Our In Focus Guide offers the most in-depth analysis and commentary to the two MATCH Series race to be contested at Monmouth Park on Saturday, June 30!
RACE 8 – Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes
RACE PARTICULARS: Race 8 (4:23pm EDT), $100,000 guaranteed purse for 3yo and up, 1 1/16 miles
- Enough Is Enough (10-1): One of two from the Mary Eppler barn in here, and note that go-to pilot Karamanos chooses her other runner, #3; well-beaten last out in N2X company, which doesn’t bode well against some salty runners in here; closing style would be abetted by zippy early pace, but others with similar predilections more enticing.
- Backsideofthemoon (8-1): Leo O’Brien-trained Malibu Moon ridgling emptied out in the Brooklyn last out but should be happier going this distance than he was at 1 1/2 miles; the six-year-old isn’t bad but looks to be a cut below the major players in here, including Harlan Punch who’s finished ahead of him twice recently
- Page McKenney (5-2): Parlayed a perfect trip off the speed into a win in the G3 Salvator Mile last out, and this ageless wonder out of the Mary Eppler barn continues to amaze; showing a couple of modest maintenance works in the interim and keeps regular pilot Karamanos in the irons; remarkable record of 11 wins from 15 tries at the trip as he begins to close in on $2 million mark; not a ton of speed in this one, so he won’t want to be too far out of it; should be a major player in here
- Imperative (2-1): Got up late to win his last start, the G2 Charles Town Classic — but that was in April 2017; suffered a fractured pelvis in the meantime, but trainer Bob Hess says he’s doing fine now; has posted four consecutive six-furlong moves in preparation for this spot, the last at KEE in 1:12 1/5; on best he’s a major contender, but there’s no good way to know what you’re going to get out of the 8yo after 14 months away; that makes projected short odds a bit tough to swallow
- Harlan Punch (3-1): Has won at distances from a mile to 1 1/4 miles, so this trip shouldn’t be an issue, despite unsightly 0-for-6 ledger at it; gets local stalwart Jersey Joe Bravo in the irons; stopped badly in last, going 1 3/8 miles, but cutback should work; projects to be major speed player in here, and best efforts would get it done; one of two from David Jacobson barn
- Hit It Once More (10-1): Wouldn’t be a surprise to see folks from the Gary Sciacca barn doing a rain dance; this son of Hard Spun is 3-for-5 on off tracks, 3-for-23 on everything else (including 3-for-20 on a fast main track); last wasn’t great but might be better than it looks — note presence of multiple graded winner Timeline, who won, and show horse Tapwrit, the 2017 Belmont winner; look for Carmouche to put this one on or near the lead early
- Red Rifle (15-1): The other Jacobson runner (with #5) makes third start of the season (if he posts) while looking to find the form that led the trainer to drop $100k in claiming him last September; will need a big step forward here
- #5 Harlan Punch (3-1): Looks to have the jump on main rivals as will be on or near the lead early and has back figs that measure up nicely
- #3 Page McKenney (5-2): You don’t think we could leave this guy out of the mix, do you? Just when you count him out, he comes roaring back into form; figures to be rolling late and nobody could be surprised if he gets there
- #6 Hit It Once More (10-1): Another who figures to be forwardly placed early and owns three wins at the trip; may not be quite the equal of the top pair but could easily hold on for minor award