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!
Play our free handicapping contest, featuring the Iselin and three other stakes from Monmouth!
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