Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Sunday, June 12, 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…
It’s “shore” to be a big day attendance-wise at Monmouth Park, as it’s the day of the Irish Festival, which always draws a big crowd. As far as the racing goes, eleven races are scheduled, with the featured Select Stakes going as the tenth race.
Race 1: Claiming $5,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 5 ½ Furlongs
We’ll begin the show with a claiming sprint, and you don’t need to look any further than the first horse you see to find the winner. The 1, Gypsy Fire, is 2-for-2 so far this year, coming off of back-to-back victories against similar at Parx. Her brisnet figures in those two races, 83 and 85, tower almost everyone else in the race. Not to mention, she’s shown early speed in the past and has the inside post. That was a very similar setup to what she had at Parx last time out, and she won by three lengths, going away.
The 2, Alice Roadtrain, ran the same 83 figure that Gypsy Fire did last out, which she earned while winning at Parx by ½ length. She ran a 76 and an 81 in the races prior, so that last-out figure was hardly a fluke. While she isn’t quite as fast overall as Gypsy Fire, she’s the clear-cut second best horse in the race, and I’d be stunned if the two inside horses didn’t run 1-2. The 3, Chubby Charlie, closed from the back last out to win, running a 73. She can pick up some pieces when the marginal horses in here tire out.
1- Gypsy Fire
2- Alice Roadtrain
3- Chubby Charlie
Race 2: Maiden Claiming $10,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 Mile 70 Yards
I’ll take a shot with the 6, Cape Ann. She’s only run on the dirt twice, but she managed to hit the board in both of those efforts. Granted, she was beaten by a combined 27 lengths in those two races, but her figures were 50 and 60, which, by the standards of this race, is respectable. Those figures were both earned at routes, too, so she’s proven over a distance like today’s. What’s more, in her last dirt race, she went to the early lead, only to tire out. Against a field like this, she can tire out all she wants, but it may not matter.
The 1, Eye Contact, has run a 59 and a 52 in her two dirt races. She’s never gone beyond six furlongs, but still has shown some semblance of ability compared to the rest, and will be making her second start off the layoff. The 3, U.S. Point, was fourth last out going a mile at the $12,500 level, after flashing some brief early speed.
6- Cape Ann
1- Eye Contact
3- U.S. Point
Race 3: Maiden Claiming $10,000, 3yo and up, 5 ½ Furlongs
Before I get to the handicapping, I have to jump up on the soapbox for a minute. This race attracted fourteen entries, but was split up into two races of seven instead. That drives me crazy. Instead of one attractive betting race, now you have two not-so-big fields, neither of which are super-attractive to the bettors, especially if there’s scratches. And it’s not like anyone would’ve died if this was a ten-race card instead of an eleven-race one.
Anyway, rant over. In the first division, I’ll take the 1, Jordy. He improved very sharply in his second dirt race, finishing sixth at this level at Laurel Park, earning a 55. He will make his first start for the barn of Stuart Shea, who hits at a 19% clip with such horses, and at a 26% rate when dropping horses down in class. In the case of Jordy, he was most recently seen running seventh on the grass here at Monmouth, which serves as a fine prep for today’s race.
The 6, Full Pads, has run figures of up to 69 in the past. His last race, where he was up the track, can be excused, considering that it was at a route, and now he’s cutting back to his preferred distance of 5 ½ furlongs. The big problem with him is that he absolutely refuses to win; he’s 0-for-25 lifetime. The 2, Devin’s Posse, declined sharply from his first-out figure of 56 in his last race, when he was hung wide the whole time. Hopefully, he’ll save more ground today with his inside post.
6- Full Pads
2- Devin’s Posse
Race 4: Claiming $12,500, 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)
This is a great betting race; many of the eight in here have valid claims for being picked on top. My allegiances here eventually went to the 5, China Prince. He’s a horse picked up by David Jacobson during that trainer’s west coast swing this winter, and is now making his first start for Jamie Ness. Ness does not have as much of a Monmouth presence as he used to, but he must be respected. After all, he hits at 32% first off the claim. Not only that, China Prince already has great grass form coming in here. He ran an 83 while finishing third at this level last time out, and earned an 85 while missing by a neck two grass races ago. In a largely paceless affair, expect him to go to the front and hang around there until the end.
The 7, Exclusive Strike, was once good enough horse to go off at a respectable 17/1 in the 2014 United Nations Stakes. Now, he’s coming off a fairly remarkable four-race second-place finishes in a row. His figures have all been strong—including a 91 three races ago—but he’ll almost “shore”ly be low odds, and I can’t bet a horse like that when he’s the favorite. The 3, Kitten in May, narrowly missed by a head in his last race, running a figure of 81. He’s another type who almost always hits the board, but never gets to win. Even so, he has to be respected for the exotics.
5- China Prince
7- Exclusive Strike
3- Kitten in May
3- Kitten in May
5- China Prince
8- Chang’s Secret
Race 5: Claiming $5,000, 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles
Both halves of the Farro coupled entry stand out. The 1, Sue Them All, has struggled in his last three races against better, losing by a combined 37 lengths. However, his figures rate as the best in the field, with an 82, a 72, and an 81 in his last three races. The 1A, Noreen, has been finishing much better, with a win and two seconds from his last three. His last three figures have been 78, 77, and 80. Both of them also have the best early pace ratings in the field, and both of them have the very solid Orlando Bocachica named to ride. While this may mean that one of them will scratch out, whoever does run is going to be very tough to beat.
The 5, Untamed, almost led all the way around last out, before being caught at the wire by the favored Paddington Express. With the early speed of the entry directly to his inside, he may have a tough time getting as easy of a lead here, but if he can get there, he’s going to be tough. The 6, Panama Hat, has improved his figure in three straight races, peaking at a 75 while running third at this level last out. Look for him to rate off the leaders and come on to get a small piece late.
1- Sue Them All/1A- Noreen
6- Panama Hat
Race 6: Claiming $12,500, 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)
If the 2, Iamahandsome Man, can get to the early lead, this one is over. In his last grass race, at this $12,500 level, he managed to get to the front, and took the field gate-to-wire, running a figure of 87. He’s in a good position to do so once again; he has post 2, and the horse to his inside is not known for showing early foot. Victor Lebron hustled his mount to the front last time out, and if he does it again, he’ll likely find himself in the winner’s circle.
The 1, Inside the Pipe, closed from the back to win last out, running an 82. He earned an 86 in the start before that while missing by a half-length. A duplication of any one of those two races will make him difficult. The 6, Tiger Bourbon, makes his first start for the Navarro barn, and comes in here with a string of typical Navarro bullets. He ran up to an 81 over the winter at Gulfstream, so improving that mark can make him tough to beat.
2- Iamahandsome Man
1- Inside the Pipe
6- Tiger Bourbon
5- Simply Classic
2- Iamahandsome Man
6- Tiger Bourbon
Race 7: Maiden Special Weight, 3yo and up, 1 Mile
My choice here is the 4, Noble and True. He’s been facing off against higher-quality maidens at both Aqueduct and Keeneland, and more than held his own, finishing second and third and running figures of 84 and 88. He’s working very well coming in here, and is getting huge class relief here. In addition, he was hung very wide in both of those races. Especially in his last race, he had a very tough trip. He was far behind early on, rallied five-wide in the stretch, and lost by only a length. With a more ground-saving trip and easier opponents, he should have this bunch at his mercy.
The 1, Get the W, makes his dirt debut for trainer Alan Goldberg, who is 23% with horses making their second start off the layoff, and 26% with horses going grass-to-dirt. The horse has shown some ability on the lawn, running an 82 last out, and will hope to translate that form over to the main track. The 2, Vees Boy, ran an impressive 87 in his last race, leading late before finishing second by two lengths. Paco picks up the mount on this one.
4- Noble and True
1- Get the W
2- Vees Boy
Race 8: Claiming $16,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 Mile (Grass)
The 1, Guchi Gold, looks like a standout over the rest. She just missed last out, getting away slowly and then flying late to lose to the very good grass claimer Luckystrikedelcoco by ½ length, earning a figure of 80. She ran an 80 in the most recent grass race before that, too, finishing third at Tampa Bay. No one else in the race has run an 80 even once in their recent races. Jockey Jose Ferrer has been known to pop a few winners on the grass, and her style of running—assuming that she breaks cleanly—will place her just off the pace towards in the inside, a perfect stalking spot.
The 4, Precious Paula, steadily runs in the mid-70s, putting her in the upper echelon of this field. She has not hit the board in four races so far this year, but getting some mild class relief in here bodes well for her chances. The 8, One Penny Piece, comes down from a disappointing effort at Belmont, but has run figures of up to 93 in her career, and did a 76 as recently as two starts ago. It will be interesting to see if she can reverse her form decline.
1- Guchi Gold
4- Precious Paula
8- One Penny Piece
14- Stolen Victory
1- Guchi Gold
Race 9: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w2x), 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs
In his last race, the 1, Still Krz, turned some heads by defeating a n/w1x allowance field very easily, winning by three and earning a figure of 96. It helps that he once again has post position 1 and retains the riding of Paco Lopez, but he really stands out because of his average late pace. In his last three races (excluding his clunker two races ago), his average late pace figure is a 95. No one else in the race has averaged better than an 89. So not only can he go right to the lead from the inside, he has the power to just blow the rest of the field away.
The 4, Gryvon, has been second in each of his last two races running a 90 and a 93 in those two. He’s also a Navarro trainee, who of course is dangerous every time that he sends a contender out. The 6, Pomeroy’s Package, faded badly in his first race off the layoff last out, finishing a distant eight lengths behind the winner. Still, he was only about two lengths behind runaway winner Defer Heaven, and ran a 91 in that race. For not having run in since last August, to run almost what he usually runs is pretty impressive. We’ll see if he can keep it up second off the layoff.
1- Still Krz
6- Pomeroy’s Package
Race 10: Select Stakes, 3yo, 5 ½ Furlongs (Grass)
In this “select” (GET IT?) group of three-year-olds, it helps to find a horse who has a lot of experience running well in grass sprints. The 6, Expected Ruler, is just that horse. He was in way over his head last out, finishing seventh in the Jim McKay behind the superior Ben’s Cat and Rocket Heat. Still, he ran an 84 in that race, a very nice follow-up to the 86 that he earned winning an allowance at Keeneland two races ago. What’s more, he broke his maiden against stakes company over the Monmouth grass last year, winning the Tyro Stakes at 47/1. When you combine all this together, you get a horse who’s a very sound bet.
The 4, Easy River, is coming off a big effort in the James Murphy Stakes at Pimlico, where he finished sixth and ran a 98. He ran that same figure sprinting on dirt at Laurel Park three races ago, so we’ll see if he can do it going short on the grass. The 2, Bobcat, is 2-for-2 so far in his career, with both of those wins coming on the dirt at Laurel. He’s working well coming in here, and Maryland-based Jevian Toledo is coming into Monmouth for the mount.
6- Expected Ruler
4- Easy River
1- Henry the King
4- Easy River
Race 11: Maiden Claiming $10,000, 3yo and up, 5 ½ Furlongs
In his last race, Pico was a 1/5 favorite to defeat a $12,500 maiden claiming field. He actually ran a career high—a 73—but lost by a tough nose to longshot Cajun Colonel. He once again possess a large edge over the rest of this bunch; the second-best last-out figure is eight points inferior to Pico’s. He won’t be a bettable price, I figure, but I’m not trying to beat him, either.
The 4, Silverado Star, comes in here for the hot Eddie Plesa barn, and has run up to a 69 in his career. Plesa is 20% with horses off a 46-90 day layoff to boot. The 6, Chubito, was far behind in his debut, but he turned in a strong three furlong workout since then, and comes in here as a first-time gelding.
4- Silverado Star
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