Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Sunday, July 10, 2016
On Sunday, we’re headed back out to Monmouth Park where we’ve got FREE PICKS & ANALYSIS from John Piassek (@theyreoff)!
We thank John for taking the time to put together these selections for us today. His picks and analysis at Monmouth Park will featured on DanonymousRacing.com every Sunday this summer. We encourage you to give John a follow on Twitter – he’s one of the sharpest and hardest working young handicappers in racing.
Take it away, John…
With every Sunday of the Monmouth season, we get one day closer to the season’s highlight: the Haskell Invitational. We’re just twenty-one days away from the big race, but for now, we have a ten-race program on this Sunday, headlined by the Wolf Hill Stakes. That race drew an attractive field of ten grass sprinters.
Race 1: Maiden Claiming $40,000, 2yo, 5 Furlongs
Two out of the first three races on the Sunday program are for cheap two-year-olds. It’s not every day that you see Wesley Ward with a horse in a race like this, but he will send out the 6, Bajan Cash. He’s been working up a storm at Keeneland throughout the spring and summer; two workouts back, he went three furlongs in a blistering 35.4 seconds. He has many three-furlong workouts in his line like that. Most recently, he went four furlongs in 50.2 seconds. That’s not great, but isn’t anything bad either. Ward, of course, is great with two-year-olds, and is 25% with horses making their debut in a maiden claiming race. All of this bodes well for Bajan Cash.
The 2, Gone Astray Kiss, is one of three in the race with experience, and had the best debut out of all of them. He was last seen finishing third at this level, missing second place by a nose. He’s been working well since that debut, and will seek improvement off his 60 brisnet figure. The 4, Jerandson, has a string of decent four-furlong workouts, and trainer Daniel Lopez is a respectable 12% with first-timers.
6- Bajan Cash
2- Gone Astray Kiss
Race 2: Claiming $20,000, 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)
We go from a race with a lot of inexperience to one where everyone has plenty of experience. Every one of the nine entered here has plenty of grass background, making handicapping easier. My pick here will be the 5, Metz. He hasn’t been seen since October, when he won at the $16,000 level down in Florida by a neck, earning an 85. He ran an identical race at the n/w3L claiming level three races ago. He’ll make his first start for the Jorge Navarro barn, which is a deadly 33% with horses off a long layoff. If Metz can recover his late-fall form—and with Navarro training, there’s no reason to believe that he won’t—he’s going to be tough to beat.
The 6, Port Aggregate, disappointed last out, finishing fifth in a n/w1x allowance on the dirt. In his last grass affair, he finished fourth at Lone Star Park while running an 86. The move back to the grass should be more to his liking. The 3, Dannhauser, takes a big class drop from the n/w2x level, where he had been running figures in the mid-80s on a regular basis. His only flaw is his trainer; as of the start of the weekend, trainer Kathleen O’Connell had not won a race from thirty starters on the meet.
6- Port Aggregate
1- Seeya When I Seeya
6- Port Aggregate
Race 3: Maiden Claiming $40,000, 2yo, Fillies, 5 Furlongs
It’s the same race as the opener, only for fillies. I’ll take a shot with the 3, Sally O’Prado. While her workouts have been steady, and Orlando Bocachica is a mostly-capable jockey, her main attraction is her trainer. Tony Margotta is a ridiculously impressive 4-for-5 with first-time-starters in recent times, with an ROI of +3.48. That’s good enough for me in a race like this. Any nugget you can find must be seized.
The 5, Samara, is another Wesley Ward entrant, who comes in here with only two workouts. Ward must be respected, of course, but you have to wonder if she’s coming in here a bit short. The 2, Notapradaprice, was part of a favored coupled entry in her debut against straight maidens at Parx, before tiring out and finishing sixth. Nevertheless, trainer John Servis is 22% with horses second-time out, and Joshua Navarro comes in from Parx to ride.
3- Sally O’Prado
Race 4: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w1x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 5 ½ Furlongs (Grass)
We’re back on the lawn for this one. The 7, Back at the Ranch, is perhaps the most eclectic horse we’ve seen all meet. She broke her maiden going 5 ½ furlongs on the dirt easily as a two-year-old back in May of 2015. After that win, she was sent off to Royal Ascot, where she was a non-threatening ninth in the Albany Stakes. She hasn’t been seen since. Nonetheless, she’s been working out all year, including a long stretch of four-furlong bullets, and trainer Jason Servis is a strong 25% with horses off a long layoff. It’s not an especially strong field, and any horse that Wesley Ward once wanted to send over to Ascot must have some grass ability.
The 4, Glad Your Back, has an annoyingly misspelled name, but did break her maiden going gate-to-wire last out at Parx, running a career-best 85. She’s improved in each of her last three races, and figures to be on the pace once again. To get a clear lead, however, she’ll have to contend with the 8, Michaelslittleally, who has been on the lead at first call in four of her last five races. She’s earned up to an 89 in the past, but flattened on the lead against n/w1x horses last out at Gulfstream Park. Her outside post position does her no favors either.
7- Back at the Ranch
4- Glad Your Back
5- Bree Zee Lee
7- Back at the Ranch
Race 5: Claiming $7,500 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, 5 ½ Furlongs
The Maryland invader looks much the best here. The 9, Willful Limit, broke her maiden for $16,000 three races ago at Pimlico, winning by 2 ¾ lengths and running an 82. The only horse to run an 82 in his recent races is Vinnie’s Monster, who has not even run since Larry Collmus was the announcer here. Willful Limit was fifth against starter allowance company in his last race, running a fairly impressive 74. He comes in here in great form, and Kali Francois comes up from Maryland to take the mount on this one. It looks like it’ll be worth the ride up for her.
The 1, Here’s Spartacus, has been second and third in his last two races at this level. He should stalk the pace from the inside. His entrymate, Hereosaurus Rex, also looks pretty strong. He led almost all the way last out at Penn National, before being caught by a head late. His lone career win also comes over this track. The 8, Malekith, was second behind a heavy favorite last out, and should find the going easier when cutting back to a sprint from 1 1/16 miles.
9- Willful Limit
1- Here’s Spartacus/1A- Hereosaurus Rex
Race 6: Allowance (n/w1x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, NJ-bred, 1 Mile 70 Yards
A good-sized field of ten has signed up for this one. The 8, Diamond Play, is coming off a second-place finish against males at this level. She was well-beaten by favored Don’s Marsh in that race, but nonetheless ran well, finishing three lengths clear of third place and earning a figure of 82. That’s the best anyone’s done while routing last time out, and shows that she can stretch out in distance without too much of a problem. There is a bit of a second-itis quality to her, with two seconds and a third in three races this meet, but she was facing much better in those races. As mentioned, she lost to Don’s Marsh last out, and three races ago finished second to the blossoming Banana Anna, who has already won three times at the meet. There does not appear to be anyone of that caliber in here, which makes Diamond Play’s job easier.
The 4, Irish Defence, broke her maiden first time out, running a sparkling 88. That was going six furlongs, and it will be interesting to see how she does at a route for the first time. The 3, Fairbanks E Jet, won by almost nine lengths last out going six furlongs. She’ll make her third start off the layoff here.
8- Diamond Play
4- Irish Defence
3- Fairbanks E Jet
Race 7: Claiming $40,000 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)
The 9, Salt Mine, will be the play here. He broke his maiden in his eighth career race last out, winning by a neck at the $35,000 maiden claiming level. His form had been steadily improving over the winter; he went from finishing eleventh to fifth to third to second in maiden claiming races at Gulfstream. Making his second start of the season, he should continue his improvement, and find himself in the winner’s circle.
The 7, Strong, lost by a neck against similar last out after being hung wide in the stretch. He broke his maiden two races ago at Gulfstream when running in the two-path. The 4, Money Illusion, broke his maiden at odds-on last out here at Monmouth. He was claimed from Chad Brown and makes his first start for the James Frangella barn here.
9- Salt Mine
4- Money Illusion
8- Smooth Talkin Tom
Race 8: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w3x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 6 Furlongs
The 5, Burn Control, has the most back-class out of any of these. In her most recent dirt start, she was third in the My Juliet Stakes at Parx. It was her first race in almost six months, but she still ran a strong 86, the best last-out figure in the race. She was third on the grass last out, and now returns to her preferred surface, dirt. She’s run up to a 94 in the past, and if she can come anywhere close to that kind of effort here, she will be tough to beat.
The 6, Sky Gold, made her last dirt start in the Minaret Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, finishing a disappointing eighth. She ran up to a 98 over the Monmouth track last year, and makes her first start for the Navarro barn. The 2, Two Pump, ships in from northern California, where she was last seen running fifth against n/w2x foes in February. She has the best average late pace in the field, and finished in the top three in every race in 2015.
5- Burn Control
6- Sky Gold
2- Two Pump
Race 9: Wolf Hill Stakes, 3yo and up, 5 ½ Furlongs (Grass)
The Wolf Hill is one of the top grass sprint races at the Monmouth meet. It’s named after a recreational area located down the street from the track, and, as previously noted, drew a pretty good field of ten this year. The 3, Golden Emperor, hasn’t raced since November, but ran well in his last race, winning against starter allowance foes at Laurel Park. He ran a 95 in that race, and ran a 93 two grass races ago. He’s working strongly coming in here, going five furlongs in a sizzling 58 seconds in his most recent workout. Considering not many others in here have shown strong form as of late, and that Golden Emperor is 8/1 on the morning line, that one looks like an appealing wager.
The 9, Pool Winner, comes in here on a three-race winning streak against allowance foes, and has been first or second in all of his last ten races. He will almost certainly be on the lead; the only question is how far he can go. That is up for debate, as his average late pace figures are the worst in the field. The 5, Saratoga Dreamer, won his first race of 2016 going away, taking a n/w2x allowance by 2 ½ lengths and earning a 93, a career-high mark on the grass.
3- Golden Emperor
9- Pool Winner
5- Saratoga Dreamer
10- Joe Franklin
4- Rainbow Heir
5- Saratoga Dreamer
Race 10: Maiden Claiming $10,000, 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs
You can tell that I am desperate to find a horse when I pick one who not only has not hit the board in eleven career tries, but is ridden by Navin Mangalee, who has a whopping one win from 46 tries at the meet. Still, the 1, Speightman, ran his best career race last time out, running fourth at this level at Parx and running a 65. He broke slowly in that race, and wound up thirteen lengths off the pace at the opening quarter. Barring another poor beginning, it’s unlikely that he’ll be that far behind once again. If he can just stay closer to the pace—something that he has admittedly has trouble doing—he can improve on that race and easily defeat this field.
The 7, Super Duker, stopped badly in his 2016 debut last time out. He’s run up to an 80 in the past, and hopes to improve second off the layoff. The 6, Military Citizen, struggled last out at a mile, losing by twenty-one lengths. Two races ago, he was beaten by eight lengths at six furlongs, running a figure seven points higher than last time.
7- Super Duker
6- Military Citizen
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