Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, June 9, 2018
Monmouth’s got a pretty good 12-race card today, with the feature race the Miss Liberty Stakes, which drew a full field. The first race will go off, as usual, 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!
#3 So Good broke his maiden last time in a NJ bred MCL25k while sprinting. Rory Huston has been sneakily good on the stretchout over the last two years, with an ROI of $12.40 that includes 2 wins from 12 starts and a 50% ITM percentage. Also, Paco Lopez gets the mount here after bailing on #7 Accusing, which is very interesting considering that one is trained by Kelly Breen. That’s a very good sign. It helps that he will be on or near the lead, too. Great value at 6-1 ML.
#6 Syndicate Saver ran horribly over the sloppy track last time at the N3L condition. He’s the only horse in the race with two wins to his credit. The race he ran three back would easily beat this field, and if he can run back to that with Ferrer aboard, he has a legitimate win chance.
#5 Guinness Spice drops down from the NJ bred allowance level into beaten 20k claimers while also stretching out. He ran a pretty good race two back under Jairo Rendon, who climbs back aboard today. His figures from those last two races are pretty decent, and if he can handle the extra distance, could give a good account of himself.
I’m against the likely favorite, #2 Lonely Weekend. He was running against top competition two races back and ran second against 50k optional claimers. Then he was walked off in his last race, and drops down to 20k beaten claimers today. Doesn’t seem like a typical Graham Motion move to me. This screams to me that there’s something wrong with the horse and they’re trying to get rid of him. Hard pass.
This is a very competitive, wide open OC30k turf event. #3 Repeat Repeat looks to be lone speed here under Jose Ferrer. He’s also the only horse in the race with a win over the distance, a race in which he led wire to wire at Tampa four back. He comes into this race on a four-win streak and is a prime candidate to extend it to five today.
#6 Brucarita last ran in a turf allowance at Keeneland- and those are always tough races. Two back, Brucarita ran 3rd right behind Rocketry, who just ran fourth. three lengths behind the Queen’s horse in the Belmont Gold Cup yesterday. He’s been keeping very good company, I just think he’ll be up against it from a pace perspective today for the win spot.
#5 Fearless Dragon ran in a key race two back at Gulfstream, then unsurprisingly won his next start under the services of Nik Juarez. Jane Cibelli has been spotting her horses carefully this meet, and this one looks to be well-meant.
I will absolutely be rooting for #7 Celebrity Warrior in this race. Not only has this reliable horse won me money in the past, but sadly his owner and trainer, Joseph Pierce Jr., just died on Thursday at 90 years old. In fact, the owner is listed as “Estate of Joseph Pierce Jr.” A win would obviously mean a lot for the connections. But as for the horse’s PPs, Celebrity Warrior never finished worse than second over the turf at Tampa this past winter except for a 6th place finish first off the layoff. The horse has an impressive record over the Monmouth turf: 4-1-5 from 16 starts. After getting in two subpar races over the dirt this meet, Celebrity Warrior gets back to his preferred surface today.
#8 Prendimi just lays over the field on paper. His figures while sprinting are just better, and he’s the only horse in the field coming from unrestricted MSWs while others are stepping up in class from MCLs. He looks tough to beat. #5 Seeking Glory makes his debut for Chuck Spina, who is 1-for-7 with first time starters the last two years with a ITM percentage of 57% and a $48.20 ROI. Having Ferrer aboard is a positive sign, which means the horse may be forwardly placed.
#3 Match the Pot comes off two second place finishes at the statebred MCL level and steps up in class here. 8-1 is a fair price to take on this runner who hasn’t been facing great competition, but his early and late pace ratings are better than some of the other contenders.
#6 Best Surprise has only raced on turf twice, but they were by far the best Beyers he’s earned. Now he steps down from the 40k claimers down to 16k and gets Paco.
#8 Honor and Pleasure runs first time for the Navarro barn. He’s had a couple of decent works coming into this spot off the layoff, and also sports good back turf form. Maybe the switch to Navarro will cure the ills.
#9 Summer Mischief has been running the fastest races in the field facing New York breds. Clement drops him way down in class from a NY-bred allowance to this 16k beaten claimer spot. Now maybe they just couldn’t find a race anywhere else, but it seems very strange why the connections would enter the horse here for a $16k purse when they could find much better spots elsewhere. Note that the horse broke his maiden on a disqualification in a MCL40k after running well in NY-bred MSW turf races, so he technically still hasn’t won on his own yet. Clement has also been blanked so far at the meet. But despite all the negatives, the numbers are too good not to include this horse.
I’ll admit this is a pretty awful betting race. #1 Jersey Joe B is the 4/5 ML favorite for a reason- he has the best two Beyers in the field and has run the fastest final times in the field for 5 ½ furlongs. But he doesn’t look invincible.
He is the most likely winner, but if he feels enough pressure from #2 Honor N Integrity, then #7 Bluegrass Posse could be a big beneficiary. His fastest races have come in two-turn races, but he could get a good setup here if a speed duel develops up front. He also takes a step down in class while the favorite steps up.
#2 Honor N Integrity steps way down in class from a NJ bred allowance where he ran dead last. Jose Ferrer was aboard in the debut win, but rides Jersey Joe B here. I don’t expect him to win this race, but he could hang on for second or third.
Maiden claimers on the turf have been some of my favorite races to handicap this meet. #3 Cleo has been running in mostly 40k maiden claimers in her turf starts. She’s earned her highest speed figures in those races, higher than any of the others in here. Today, Cleo gets a try against 20k claimers. But jockey Castro Rodriguez is an unknown commodity around these parts, as he gets his first mount at Monmouth here. I’m willing to take the risk.
#8 Disconnect looks to be the latest magic trick produced by my favorite trainer this meet: John Stephens. Stephens has made his presence known in maiden claiming turf races with two second-place finishes with 75-1 and 50-1 bombers. Now granted, those two horses both had at least one start (over dirt) before trying turf for the first time- and Disconnect is a first time starter. But with this being John Stephens after all, I’m going to keep playing his horses blindly in these types of races until the magic runs out.
#11 Storm Cry has been running very well in maiden claimers at Tampa going a mile, but steps up 16k to 20k company today. I see no reason why she can’t be competitive once again, though a minor placing may be her ceiling. #7 Mama’s Red Hat sports decent back turf form, including a third place finish at this level. The speed figures on turf are competitive as well.
When Paco and Jason Servis team up with the ML favorite, it’s usually a wise decision to side with them. So I’m gonna go with #8 Amatteroftime. Plus, he’s the only horse stepping moving from open MSWs (granted they were at Charles Town) to NJ breds. The numbers fit, and while they don’t stand out, they could improve against statebreds. #3 Groovy Tale got a start under his belt last time over a sloppy surface and should be ready to give a good account of himself in his second start. The timeframe between races is also well within Rory Huston’s wheelhouse.
#5 War Tales ran a great debut race before failing as the favorite in his last two races. That’s not a good sign for betting a horse to win at 5/2 ML, but he should still run well to finish underneath.
#2 Candy Asset should win this race. I’m usually leery of a horse taking such a sharp drop in class, but he was previously trained by Pletcher down at Gulfstream, and Sacco’s home base is Monmouth. So I don’t see him being entered here as a negative indicator that he’s gone off form. Plus he gets Paco’s vote of confidence.
It’ll be interesting to see what #3 Ben of the Bridge can do at the 16k claiming level, considering the numbers he ran against allowance company and 25l claimers on the lawn. I think he will give a very good account of himself in this spot.
#5 Girine is a pretty consistent ITM finisher, including a 0-4-4 record from 10 starts over the Monmouth turf. Though he hasn’t run since October, J. Willard Thompson has been known to get them ready to run off the layoff.
#9 Mission Driven also takes a step down in class, but hasn’t run since last July. Have no fear, Navarro is here! With a steady work tab and a bullet in tow to boot. If he can regain his back from, he will be tough. Navarro is really the only reason to use this horse at all off of his most recent form.
#7 Chovanes opened a big lead last time and got caught at the wire. There’s no way he should have lost that race, so now that Ferrer replaces Tunon today, Chovanes should be in much better shape. The Ferrer/Navarro combo is no secret, especially with speed horses (in this case, lone speed). But Chovanes has shown a tendency to get caught late in his races regardless of who’s riding him. Here’s to hoping Ferrer cures those seconditis ills.
If anyone else in the race can run him down, it’s #5 No More Music, who drops to the lowest level of his career and has the figures to be competitive in this spot.
#6 Salem Loop has been consistently running in the money at this level in his last four starts, and the competition won’t change all that much today.
Race 10: Miss Liberty Stakes
#7 Party Boat has been faced great competition last year, including two close placings to Proctor’s Ledge, who won a G2 turf race on the Derby undercard this year. She finally gets away from tougher competition here. The tuneup off the layoff should leave her fit enough to run a good effort here. Bravo gets the call here for my favorite trainer, Graham Motion.
#3 Stallion Heiress ships up here from Maryland after a running a non-effort over soft turf on Preakness day. But the race two back was very strong, and this is Sheldon Russell’s only mount on the card. That’s a positive sign at 6-1, plus the bullet drill on June 2nd shows she’s ready.
She will vie for the early lead with #6 Team of Teams, who has two stakes wins already this year. The speed figures are quite good. Like Stallion Heiress, Team of Teams is a need-the-lead type. Problem is, the former is faster, which will put Team of Teams at a disadvantage.
#9 Dynatail comes out of a solid performance in an optional claimer at Belmont after faltering against tough competition in a Keeneland turf allowance and the Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa- which featured one of the best fields assembled for a distaff turf race this year. The competition should be much easier for her to handle today.
#3 Blue Y Gold should get a good pace setup with #2 Huntington Drive and #6 R Limo Joe battling for the lead. That was a solid effort first off the layoff last time, and considering how well he ran, a forward move is expected today.
#6 R Limo Joe is faster than Huntington Drive, and should outlast him on the lead. But I think he may be just a bit tired nearing the wire. Still, you can’t discount the Ferrer/Navarro combination, as mentioned earlier.
#7 Giant Trick gets the services of Carlos Hernandez, who has never been worse than second aboard this horse. He has been much better since transferring to the Mario Serey barn, with the exception of two subpar efforts- and one of them came last time in the slop. He should bounce back today, and will be sitting right behind the pace set by R Limo Joe and Huntington Drive. Giant Trick should be poised to make first run, though I think Blue Y Gold passes him.
A maiden claiming 10k is a pretty bad way to close the card, so when in doubt, go with the drop in class. That leaves me with #7 Bamboo Garden on top. This one moves from 20k Jersey bred maiden claimers into open 10k company. The speed figures are terrible, but not much you can do with in this field.
#3 Dats Her would be a logical choice to win, if only Russell Cash horses weren’t literally finding ways to lose repeatedly this meet. Poor Russell.
#5 Sweet Pea got the debut out of the way last time and Sacco puts blinkers on today, but she will need to turn the tables on Dats Her and #4 Star of Midnight, who ran behind Dats Her in the last race. I see no reason why she should finish in front of Dats Her again today.
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT A GAMBLING SITE. PICKS & ANALYSIS FOUND ON THIS SITE ARE MERELY OPINIONS BASED ON SUBJECTIVE ANALYSIS. PICKS DO NOT GUARANTEE ANY SUCCESSFUL OUTCOMES WHATSOEVER. PICKS ARE PROVIDED TO GUIDE YOUR STRATEGY TO PLAYING THE RACES. MATERIALS FOUND ON THIS SITE ARE IN NO WAY INTENDED TO ENCOURAGE GAMBLING. WHERE LEGAL, ALL WAGERS SHOULD BE MADE RESPONSIBLY AND ARE DONE SO AT YOUR OWN RISK.