Monmouth Park: August 12, 2017, By Brian Leckie

Race 3

Selections: 3-2-6

Jorge Navarro’s #3 Cavity is on a three race win streak and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. #2 Picozza is peculiar. Three straight starts on the dirt following a claim have produced 10+ length losses in each. Juan Serey has been very selective in how he’s spotted his horses at this meet, and has been successful doing so. This horse sports great turf speed figures going back. Maybe this horse just wants to get back on turf? At 8-1 ML, worth a chance to find out. #6 Powerline is pretty inconsistent. Sometimes his speed carries, others he looks like cheap speed. He won’t hold on for the win here, but maybe- just maybe- he can hang on for third today? I’m not in love with anyone else in the field so I land on him for the third spot.

Race 4

Selections: 1-4-5

#1 Instant Replay looks to be well-meant on the class drop from $16k claimers in NY down to $10k claimers here, getting beaten by pretty decent horses in Nonna’s Boy and Castaway in his last start. This horse sports good back speed figures versus better, and he should offer value at 8-1 on the ML. #4 D’marin is on a tear for Scott Volk right now, winning three in a row at this level and is a real fighter when headed near the finish. The horse loves Monmouth and this distance, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t run well again today. #5 Battery has some very competitive speed and late pace figures, but he seems to prefer sprinting around one turn as opposed to this distance. The class is there relative to this level. He wheels back in eight days for this one, and should finish well in the exotics.

Race 5

Selections: 4-6-9

#4 Buddy’s Tiz is two for two at Monmouth AND takes a step down in class with Nik Juarez aboard. The conditions of this race are for horses who have not won since Feb 11 or which have not won four races. Buddy’s Tiz has won his last two and has only three lifetime wins. Horse is in form and ready to pounce again. #6 Hot to Seek Her almost never wins but usually gives a good account of himself finish in the money. Nothing really to like, and nothing really to knock, but should be in the exotics at the end. With the scratch of the other two pace horses, #9 Niche might assume the role of front-runner. This horse has had some really bad luck recently, but if he can pick himself back up on the turf, he might give a good account of himself on the lead in a race devoid of other pace pressure.

Race 7

Selections: 4-3-6-10

I love it when speed routers cut back to sprints. #4 Ortiga is doing just that. Despite some other fast horses signed on, this one actually has the best early pace ratings in the field. I love Gallardo in turf sprints, so I’m picking this one. I’ll forgive #3 Just Talkin‘s effort two back at Monmouth in a similar spot when he stumbled at the start and lost all chance at getting position. Gets Nik Juarez today, as well as a class drop. #6 Billyscrystalball powered through the wire last time, though I’m concerned about the switch from Juarez (who rides the 3 here) to Bocachica. If this worries you, you can’t go wrong with #10 Poochy who ran second in that race. Either one of them would be sufficient to round out the trifecta.

Race 9

Selections: 5-4-6

This is one of the most wide-open races this meet besides the Haskell. There are a multitude of ways one can go in here. Many horses who have been proven going longer are cutting back to a 1 1/16. I’m going to go with an upset here on #5 Untouchable U. Many hotshot trainers are entered in this race, but this horse sports speed figures on turf that are just as competitive with the others, plus Kevin Mendez and Anthony Margotta Jr are a perfect two for two. #4 Chicadoro had a dynamite effort two races back at 1 1/8 but was in front down the stretch. Juarez is enticed, and should also run well at this distance. He’s also the “other” Clement in here. #6 Great Soul almost stole that last race on a synthetic surface at Presque Isle and popped his best speed figure to date while doing so in a statebred stakes race. He’s the speed of this field, and the bullet work on July 23rd indicates he’s still keeping his sharp recent form. He’ll take them as long as he can. #1 Texting, #7 Squeezeand #8 Island Reward are all horses you could use in your superfectas. All are trained by “big name” trainers Chad Brown, Christophe Clement, and Jason Servis, respectively. I didn’t use them among the top three because I believe this is too short for Texting, Squeeze is coming in off of a loooong layoff but Bravo usually gets first call for Clement at Monmouth- and he’s aboard, and while Island Reward ran a superb race three back under Castellano, why is Hector Diaz riding him instead of Nik Juarez? All of these questions landed me on the top three instead.

Race 10- G3 Monmouth Oaks

Selections: 8-3-7

This is a much more contentious renewal than last year’s event. I’ll go with #8 Proud and Fearless. Brian Pedroza hardly comes over here, but he decided to come and ride this horse, who is in great form right now and her last two efforts are better than anyone else in the field. #3 Overture is the only G3 winner in the field, taking the Indiana Oaks last out. Bravo, who won this race last year aboard Unbridled Mo, lands the mount and is a proven winner around two turns at this distance. You can’t go wrong with either of these two for the top spot. #7 You Know Too is another horse who continues to improve. She steadied last time in the stretch run of the Delaware Oaks, but still ran a new top figure. That workout on July 26th was a blazing 59 4/5, and that last six-furlong work on August 3rd wasn’t bad either. Cintron comes over here with two wins already on the Monmouth meet, and this horse should outrun her 8-1 ML odds.

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