Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Sunday, June 5, 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…
Nine races are part of Sunday’s Monmouth card, headlined by the Red Bank Stakes, which drew a field of seven. That’ll go as race eight.
Race 1: Claiming $5,000, 3yo and up, 1 Mile
We’ll begin the action with a hard-knocking bunch of older claimers going one mile. I’ll go with the New York invader: the 3, Divine Child. He exits a fifth-place finish in a $12,500 claiming race at Belmont Park, where he was not really a factor. Still, he earned an 81 brisnet figure in that race, and ran an 83 and a 79 in his runs before that. Even better, he’s shown an affinity for the Monmouth surface. In six career races over the track, he’s won two of them, both of them against allowance foes. In this low-level claiming race, he has them at his mercy.
The 6, Goodnewswithatwist, is coming off a third-place finish against similar in a sprint race, where he closed from the back (an unusual feat in a sprint race) to finish third. He’ll hope to stretch out to a mile successfully here. The 5, Kodiak Syd, finished second while chasing heavily favored C D Gold last. In that race, he finished seven lengths clear of Paddington Express, who returned to win at this level on Memorial Day. Kodiak’s figure of 83 is also the best last-out number in the bunch.
3- Divine Child
5- Kodiak Syd
Race 2: Maiden Claiming $25,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 6 Furlongs
My pick will be the Maryland invader: the 2, Meeting Francis. She most recently finished second by a head at Pimlico, earning a figure of 75, the best last-out number in the race. She’s also run in the 70s in three consecutive races, and a 75 twice. That’s a pretty big edge over the rest of the field, only a few members of which have run a 70 or above at any point. Look for a winning effort from this filly.
The 4, Bay Rum, finished third at the $25,000 level at Laurel Park three races ago, for her only in-the-money finish in her career so far. A drop back down to maiden claimers on dirt could be just what she needs. The 3, Bold Embrace, ran a respectable 65 on debut at Tampa Bay Downs, and gets a jockey upgrade to Trevor McCarthy.
2- Meeting Francis
4- Bay Rum
3- Bold Embrace
Race 3: Claiming $16,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 5 ½ Furlongs (Grass)
It’s an extremely wide-open race here, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Not many of the nine entered have many good qualities about them, so it’s hard to find a winner amongst them. I’ll take a shot with a horse who’s got only one grass race in her past performances: the 7, Loya. In her most recent grass sprint outing, she finished fourth in a n/w1x allowance at Parx, running a figure of 74. That’s tied for the second-best last-out figure in the race. Trainer Willard Thompson hits at 13% with horses moving from dirt to grass, a very respectable total, and Loya will also be getting a jockey upgrade to Nik Juarez. All of it combined bodes well for victory.
The 1, Enchanted Dreams, consistently ran in the mid-70s last year all over the mid-Atlantic, but has not raced since last November. It will be interesting to see if she can regain her form right off the layoff. The 5, Sweet Tooth Sweety, had an excellent summer last year over the Monmouth grass, running two figures of 88 in her most recent races here. She’s only raced once in the last eleven months, finishing sixth at Gulfstream in February.
1- Enchanted Dreams
5- Sweet Tooth Sweety
6- Two Step Flor
Race 4: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w1x), 3yo and up, 6 Furlongs
I’ll look toward the 6, Gentrify. He’s shipping out of Aqueduct, where he recently finished fourth at the $32,000 level. Two races ago, he won for $20,000 at Aqueduct, and won another race at this level earlier in the year. He’s consistently faster than these, running at least a 90 in four out of his last five races. By contrast, only two of his five opponents have run a 90 even once in their last three races. He’ll have to contend with the early speed of Dreaming of Neno directly to his inside, but should that one tire out, Gentrify will have a clear path to victory.
The 1, Keep Me Grounded, won three in a row over the winter at Gulfstream, before finishing a disappointing fifth at the n/w1x level last time out. He was running in the low 90s during that streak, so a return to that form will lead to a good performance. The aforementioned 5, Dreaming of Neno, has a surplus of early speed; his average pace figures are by far the best in the field. However, he’s lost his last two races by a combined 37 lengths. If he can get over to the inside and get a clear advantage, Monmouth’s speed-favoring tendencies may take him far.
1- Keep Me Grounded
5- Dreaming of Neno
Race 5: Claiming $20,000 (n/w3L), 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)
We’re back to the lawn to begin today’s late pick 5 sequence, and a wide-open field of eight begins the wager. I’ll go with the 3, Extreme Excess. She’s coming off a second-place finish against similar horses at Tampa Bay, quietly gaining ground throughout and earning a figure of 76. She’s always turned in big figures, running two races with a 77 figure in the past. That would probably be good enough to win this one. She’s working well coming in here, and while jockey Vicky Baze is not a well-known name on the circuit, she’s had two in-the-money finishes with her mounts, so there’s some ability in there.
The 8, Red Parasol, was third as the favorite last out at this level, after checking in the stretch against similar horses. She’ll make her third start off the layoff, always a potent angle, and a signal for more improvement. The 6, Starship Hostility, dominated at the n/w2L level last out, winning by a 1 ½ lengths and earning a decent 73 figure, after running a 77 two races ago. Following an 0-for-21 start, she’s won two races in a row. I have no idea if a horse like that has it in them to reel off three straight wins all of a sudden, but she’s a contender nonetheless.
3- Extreme Excess
8- Red Parasol
6- Starship Hostility
2- Scottish Sweetie
3- Extreme Excess
4- Bay Dawn
Race 6: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w1x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 5 ½ Furlongs
My pick will be the 2, Bodacious Babe. She broke her maiden easily last out, winning by two lengths at 4/5 odds and earning a figure of 90, a career-high. It’s the best last-out figure in the race by six points, and it’s a career-high after running in the high-80s over the winter at Gulfstream. Paco Lopez retains the mount on this one, and has high early speed coupled with an inside post. It’s a “shore” thing.
The 6, Money Game, ran a very impressive 96 two races ago while winning at Penn National, but was a disappointing fourth last time out. She’s coming off a six-day vacation, so her backers will hope that she’s regained her form in that timespan. The 5, Harlan’s Belle, rallied to finish a decent second at Belmont last out after checking at the break. She’s dependable for a figure in the mid-80s.
2- Bodacious Babe
6- Money Game
5- Harlan’s Belle
Race 7: Maiden Special Weight, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, NJ-bred, 6 Furlongs
This is the first division of a Jersey-bred maiden race that drew a field of fourteen, but was split into two races of seven. The 3, Fakery, is a seasoned veteran of these races. She broke her maiden last June, but was disqualified from that win. Since then, she’s tried eight more times to get back to the winner’s circle, but has not been able to get over the hump. Still, I think she’s catching an ideal field for her here. She ran figures in the 80s last year here at Monmouth, and ran a 74 in her lone dirt start of the winter Tampa Bay season, which still may win this race. That 74 was also earned at a route; her better races have generally been at sprint distances. It’s the ideal situation for her to finally break her maiden.
The 4, Upset City, was second against Jersey-bred maidens when last seen in August. Trainer John Mazza is a very good 28% with horses off the long layoff. The 1, Phoenix Rising, was second and third last September at Monmouth, and hasn’t been seen since then. Still, any experience is better than none, as this field contains four first-time-starters.
4- Upset City
1- Phoenix Rising
Race 8: Red Bank Stakes, 3yo and up, 1 Mile (Grass)
It’s the first graded stakes race of the year here at Monmouth, and it drew a solid field of seven, plus one main-track-only entrant. Among the grass starters, my choice is the 6, Middleburg. He had a successful 2016 at Monmouth, winning the Cliff Hanger Stakes and missing in the Monmouth Stakes by a mere nose. So far in 2016, he’s earned a second-place finish in the Miami Mile at Gulfstream, where he ran a 96. He ran a 97 in his 2015 finale, so he continued his great form in his seasonal debut, and should continue it here.
The 4, Reporting Star, won the Appleton Stakes two races ago, before finishing a disappointing eighth against much better horses in the Woodford Turf Classic. He consistently goes in the mid-90s, placing himself in the upper echelon of runners in here. He should find the competition opportune. The 1, Fredericksburg, has improved his figure in each of his last three races, and was a close second against n/w3x allowance horses last out at Laurel: a stakes-quality allowance group, in other words. Before that, he was third in the Danger’s Hour Stakes at Aqueduct. He’s been turning in strong workouts at Fair Hill getting ready for his return to stakes company.
4- Reporting Star
5- Golden Sabre
Race 9: Maiden Special Weight, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, NJ-bred, 6 Furlongs
The second half of that Jersey-bred maiden race will close out the show. My pick here will be the 2, Julia Chubouli. She was fairly impressive in her season debut last time out. She broke slowly, was rushed up into contention, and had to make a wide move on a day where almost everyone was making winning moves towards the rail. In spite of all of that, she made a solid rally wide and finished second, earning a career-high figure of 71. Assuming she can get a fairer surface to run on today, she’s going to be tough to beat with that kind of form.
The 5, Single Broad, has been close in her career, if nothing else, with three seconds and three thirds from ten career outings. She’s had a tough time of it in both of her races this year. In her last race with clear sailing, she earned a figure of 75 while finishing third in maiden claiming company at Laurel. We’ll see if she can stay out of traffic. The 6, Sues Stones, has been fourth and third in two races at the meet, running in the mid to high-60s both times. Look for her to be pressing the early leaders.
2- Julia Chubouli
5- Single Broad
6- Sues Stones
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