Friday’s Monmouth Park opening day feature, the $75,000 Oceanport Centennial Stakes, feels a little bit like a reunion of old friends for the Mid-Atlantic racing fan.
While the New York-based Chateau – a Rob Atras trainee in search of his first stakes win – is the 5-2 morning line favorite, multiple stakes winners based at Laurel Park, Charles Town Races, and Parx Racing are all among his challengers.
The hard-hitting Laki (8-1) will make his first start since last October’s Maryland Million Sprint. The Damon Dilodovico trainee had only a middling season last year, winning once in seven tries, but he still won a stake while earning over $100,000 for the third straight year. He’s been training forwardly for his return to action.
Laki, a Maryland-bred son of Cuba, will break from the one-hole with Trevor McCarthy in the irons.
The Charles Town-based Dr. Feelgood (8-1) has established himself in recent months as the dominant 4 ½-furlong sprinter at that track, winning the Last Enchantment Stakes, the WVBC Dash for Cash, and the It’s Only Money, as well as a couple of allowance races, at that distance. That may make the Crystal Pickett trainee uniquely well suited to this event’s five-furlong distance, but it’ll also be his first start outside the friendly confines of his home track.
Dr. Feelgood is cross-entered here and in a Saturday night allowance at his home track. Regular pilot Darius Thorpe is at Charles Town this evening, so if the good Doctor goes postward today, it’ll be with Jorge Vargas, Jr. in the irons.
Then there’s Midtowncharlybrown (5-1). Trained by Ed Coletti, the son of Uptowncharlybrown won a pair of stakes in 2019, one at his home base of Parx Racing and one at Penn National. He has 10 wins overall and is just shy of $500,000 in career earnings. He’ll make his first start since late November in this spot.
Roberto Rosado has the call.
Monmouth launches its 2020 season this evening with a truncated, six-race card that kicks off at 5:00 p.m. Post time for the Oceanport Centennial, which is carded as the fifth race, is 7:00 p.m.
The track had hoped to open this evening with a capacity of about 15,000 – one-quarter its largest announced attendance of over 60,000 – but the Asbury Park Press reports that it will be limited to just 2,000 total, including 500 in its cavernous grandstand.