I’m taking another trip to Monmouth today and it will be probably be one of the last ones of the summer. Unfortunately there isn’t much to discuss in the way of racing at Monmouth since they have only carded seven races and most of them don’t have more than six or seven horses. I am, however, looking forward to seeing Charismatic Pulpit likely break his maiden in the third race. I was impressed with his debut and love his pedigree to eventually stretch out, but first he needs to clear this hurdle.
Most of my wagering today will probably be focused on Saratoga, so let’s analyze a few of the races:
Race 2: Starter handicap $25,000 at seven furlongs
At first glance Saginaw (#6) just absolutely lays over this field. But a closer look reveals a couple scenarios in which he may be beaten. There is a lot of speed in this race, with Lubango all but committed to go from the rail and Strapping Groom doing his best running when loose up front early. Itsagoodtendollars likes to be close as well and Saginaw is never far off the pace. Perhaps if Saginaw is forced to chase some demanding fractions early, he may start to feel that 128 pounds on his back in the stretch. If that occurs, the only true closer left to pick up the pieces is Indy Scent (#5). I’ve always maintained that “Horse to Watch” Indy Scent is a better horse than it looks on paper and he could really succeed if his connections just concentrated on running him distances of around a mile on dirt. I think that this trip should fall into his wheelhouse and he’s rarely going to get a better pace scenario than today. I’ll try him to win and also use him in the exacta with Saginaw.
UPDATE [12:30]: I had made Indy Scent my best bet of the day, but after the scratch of Strapping Groom, his chances are not as good due to a lack of early speed. I’m shifting my best bet of the day to my other strong opinion that Yes She Rules will win the finale.
$5 Win 5
$5 Exacta Box 5-6
Race 3: Maiden claiming $35,000 at six furlongs
I had first taken note of Espiritu Libre (#1) when he made his debut at Aqueduct for trainer Rudy Rodriguez last winter. Going a mile first time out, he sped off to a large lead through very quick fractions and collapsed in the stretch. I thought it was a better performance than it appeared to be and he followed it up with another solid effort that looks even better in retrospect. He again faded in that subsequent start, but was beaten that day by Street Life and Five Sixteen, who would go on to finish one-two in this year’s Curlin Stakes and are two contenders in Saturday’s Travers Stakes (G1). I think this horse has a bit of a ability and given the speed he showed in his first start, the turnback in distance should be no problem. He’s working well for this and I expect a good effort.
$10 Win 1
Race 8: Allowance N1X at one mile on the turf
The seventh race here on July 28th was a bit of an anomaly. Pianist was the big favorite and I thought Raise the Flag and Dreaming of Cara looked poised to run big races, but none of them fired. I don’t mind being wrong, but it was a bit suspicious that no one was able to make much of a closing impact at all. The first two finishers, Assateague and Kitty Wine, just ran one-two around the course the entire way. Dreaming of Cara since came back to be a solid fifth in the Yaddo Stakes in what was a much better effort, so I’m thinking that speed just held together and am viewing the pace as if it were very slow. Given all of that, I like Raise the Flag (#4) to come back and turn the tables on both Kitty Wine and Pianist, who finished ahead of her that day. Raise the Flag was the only horse in the race to make up any significant ground late and I’m hoping there is enough pace in here to prompt an honestly run race. Antonia Autumn is also dangerous, but as Gio Ponti’s little sister, I’m expecting her to be overbet.
$10 Win 4
Race 9: Claiming $35,000 at 1 1/16 miles on the turf
My third “Horse to Watch” of the day is Yes She Rules (#5) in this last race of the day. I’ve been waiting for her to get into a spot exactly like this one. She was completely stymied in behind the pack when attempting to make her run last time and may have finished in the money with a cleaner trip. That was her first race back off a bit of a layoff and she should be set to step forward. She also is dropping in class and should be tough to hold off in the stretch for the red-hot Chad Brown.
BEST BET OF THE DAY: $20 Win 5 (Yes She Rules)