Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, July 7, 2018
Eleven races comprise the Saturday program at the Jersey Shore, with the Long Branch Stakes the featured event. The first race will go at 12:50 PM EDT.
We’re happy to have Brian Leckie (@bleck1022) providing free picks & analysis of all the action today! Brian’s a regular Monmouth handicapper, and has written about Monmouth in the past, both here and on 5minutestopost. We thank Brian for providing his analysis for us today.
Take it away, Brian! Good luck to everyone playing along!
#2 Gangbusters should be on the early lead under speed specialist Jose Ferrer. A second place finish at this level should set her up well here. The horse has run well at a mile before, so the distance isn’t a concern.
#6 Go Black Betty was extremely rank last time. It looked like Brian Pedroza tried to rate her and it turned out to be a disaster as the horse clearly resented it. But she still ran on pretty well at the end despite the troubles. If she wants to run early this time, Manny Jimenez should just let her go.
#5 Breath of Dawn has run two good races in a row with Jairo Rendon aboard, but just wasn’t good enough. Now she gets to run around two turns for the first time. But with perennial 0-fer Russell Cash training (whose horses seemingly find ways to lose), underneath is probably more likely.
#3 Dangerous Woman looks to give John Stephens his third win of the meet. She’s been consistently running the best figures in the field, likes the Monmouth turf, and stretches back out to two turns while likely returning to prominent positioning after facing quicker sprinters in her last two starts. I like her chances, though Stephens has cooled off a bit lately.
#5 Golden Earrings ran a decent figure while running 7th in a turf allowance on Haskell Day last year. She never got a chance in her next turf start at Delaware when she fell, seriously injuring jockey Jose Ferrer who, miraculously, is still in the saddle. There isn’t much else to go off of, so this selection is a matter of faith that her figures at higher class levels will be good enough at this 20k beaten claiming level.
#1 Princess Akris has won two in a row on dirt, and drops down 10k returning to turf where she owns a second-place finish by a neck in a MCL25k at Tampa. I don’t think she wins this race, and I certainly wouldn’t back her at the ML price, but she has as good a chance as any to hit the exacta/trifecta.
Race 3- Long Branch Stakes
The running of the Long Branch means that the Haskell is just three weeks away!
#3 American Lincoln just walloped older horses last time in an optional claimer at Monmouth. Granted it was only a OC20k, but those races can be deceivingly tougher than they seem. The third-place horse two back returned to win a Laurel allowance. And American Lincoln hardly disgraced himself in the Tesio. He’s run consistently well since the maiden win. Ferrer should have him forwardly placed, which is ideal on this surface.
#2 Show Me the Bucks has been training very well for this race, running two 4f workouts in 47 last month at Belmont. He hasn’t faced stakes company yet, but today’s debut comes against a relatively weak stakes field after facing OC75-80k fields at Gulfstream and Belmont. This will be his fourth career start, and he’s still improving.
#4 Supreme Aura is class-tested compared with the rest of the field. He just got up to win Monmouth’s Pegasus on Father’s Day. Given the way the Monmouth surface has played lately, it might be tougher for him to rally the way he did and get another win. I don’t think he will be worth the short price, and would prefer to limit to second or third at those odds.
#8 Bartleby takes a sharp drop in class while shipping in from New York. Robertino Diodoro’s win percentage on sharp class drops is pretty solid at 32%. He should also be on the early lead if his early pace ratings are any indication. The one to beat.
#7 Alexander David ran third at this level last time for Tom Albertrani, and switches to the Kent Sweezey barn while retaining Gallardo who’s been riding quite well on the turf lately. Second place well within reach this time.
#6 Pollock should be close to the early pace, which can’t hurt on this turf course. He hasn’t cracked the top four in quite some time now, but if the turf course continues to play to speed he could be worth an exotics flyer at the ML price.
If the course isn’t biased toward speed, then #9 Ataway Max could be a better beneficiary for the exotics, as his form has been decent lately.
#4 Body High was pretty consistent for two starts at this level before trying 25k open claimers. Now she drops back down, gets Castillo aboard who won on her two back, and is trained by Navarro- need I say more? Potential single. #2 Jimmy’s Legacy has been running against stronger competition at the 25k level and in MSWs prior to that, so she gets some class relief today. Her maiden victory two back would be competitive here. The only concern is that Jairo Rendon is riding, and not Gallardo (who was aboard for the maiden win) who instead rides #6 Caitlin’satthebar. This is a horse who only has four starts on conventional dirt. Throwout the last dirt start as that came in a stakes race, and you’ll see a win and a second at the 16k level- both with Gallardo aboard. The numbers are light compared to the top two, but with Gallardo riding as well as he has lately I feel this horse needs to be used.
#7 Dial Josh was left at the gate last time and was never in contention. I’m willing to throw that race out and give him another shot. He earned a good number while sprinting in a MSW in his debut and comes from a family that has been successful on the lawn. The price should be right to take a chance.
#6 Tizcreetly ran a good second last time at Delaware- that should be competitive here as he drops 5k in class. Ignore the comment line as the horse never steadied heels at any point in the race.
#4 Fire Rooster looks to right the ship with his third trainer in as many starts. The number he earned sprinting down the hill at Santa Anita would be competitive vs. this group. Being by English Channel out of an A.P. Indy mare doesn’t hurt either. My main question is the connections- why are they churning through trainers like no tomorrow? I think the horse can be competitive enough returning to the lawn, but I’m just slightly skeptical about the owners.
#3 Include It ran third last time out at the same level while sandwiching runners in the process when he didn’t need to. A forward move third off the layoff will put him into exotics contention again.
#5 Jump Ruler should win this race. Nobody else except #3 Baetykaty- at 8 years old- has run figures as consistent on dirt. The Breen trainee also fired a 4f bullet work on June 29th.
#6 Zeven freaked last time against 10k claimers in an off-the-turf event, winning by 13 lengths. A repeat of that effort should be good enough for second behind the top choice.
#1 Indian Chaser takes a big step up in class from 6250 claimers to the OC20k level. But this is a move that Navarro has done well with in the past. Though his late pace ratings give me cause for concern in the stretch.
#10 Martini Momma is a first time starter for Jason Servis. That’s really the only reason I’m picking this horse, because you never with that guy and his magic blend of hay and oats. If Paco wasn’t riding for him at Parx he’d probably be aboard here. But Jiminez isn’t a bad alternative.
#4 Princess Georgia cuts back to sprinting after going two turns on the lawn in October as a 2YO. She’s had some time to mature since then, and that 457 Tomlinson rating for the distance is exceptional- I tend to like this angle in turf sprints. Good price to take in this weak field.
#5 More to Adore got some stamina into her back in January stretching out to a mile, and now returns to sprinting while stepping down slightly in class. She owns some of the best speed figures in the field while racing against better competition, so out of all of these she would probably be the “safe” horse to take in this field based on prior form.
#3 Canoochee ran a bang-up debut on June 10th. She was a little slow early, made a sustained three-wide bid, and ran on the wrong lead the whole way down the stretch to get run down by the winner. A forward move could win this against the boys. Sacco is showing confidence by entering her here. That 4f move on June 23rd shows she no worse for wear either.
#5 Jersey Fresh ran third behind second-place finisher Catburt in the debut, who went on to graduate on Wednesday’s program at this level. The June 23rd maiden event could be a key race.
#2 Tiraboschi was entered in that Wednesday maiden and was actually the selection of both Kenny Peck and Brad Thomas before scratching to await this two-turn test (and it was a smart move too, because Tiraboschi didn’t stand a chance on that merry-go-round). He has a good chance at hitting the exotics.
#2 Little Code ran a good number two back while running fifth in allowance company. This is a very weak allowance field in comparison, so she should be competitive in this spot. Aside from that race, she has three other finishes ITM on turf. A trifecta finish is very likely, but I’m going for the top spot with her in this mediocre field.
#6 Hera has won her last two starts on turf, also running some very good figures along the way- including a win in an OC75k at Tampa three back. But Derek Ryan has had a very poor win percentage this meet despite having some good starters with winning chances. Though he does have four seconds, which is where I think Hera is likely to finish. #1 Crownstone has run a couple of solid workouts at Fair Hill since the maiden win on June 9th at Suffolk. Unfortunately she gets an 0-fer (so far) rider aboard, and is also running her first race since the maiden. But if she can repeat or improve off of that effort, she should be in exotics contention with a well-executed ride.
#4 Sun of Tara enters from the Navarro barn after running a puzzling ninth at this level in her last start. But with Navarro being Navarro, maybe he’s found a magic potion that can miraculously reverse form. She will have to step up to compete for the top spot, but if Navarro works his wonders she could hit the board.
#7 Casino King ran second at 19-1 in a N4L event one week ago in a competitive event. He was within a length of the early pace, which will benefit him here as it seems few want the lead. Casino King is in good form right now unlike many others in the field.
#6 So Good ran second to Casino King as a maiden last year and has recently put up a couple of figures in the same ballpark at a higher class level. He should benefit from the 8k class drop.
#2 Fake Frontier ran third just behind Casino King in that race last week. He’s another one who’s in good form at the moment, although being a closer in a relatively paceless race usually isn’t a recipe for success. But he loves Monmouth, so hopefully his good form and surface affinity will carry him to a trifecta finish.
If not, then #3 Afleet Domination should benefit from the expected pace scenario as he’s been up closer in his last two starts while also running some decent, competitive speed figures going five starts back at Mid-Atlantic tracks.
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