We’re off the turf and muddy today after a mix of rain and snow yesterday.
Race 5: Claiming $15,000 at six furlongs for fillies and mares
I had a tough time with this race, but I think I’ve landed on a horse that is going to be a bit of an overlay. I expect most of the play to go towards Zero Yield, who is almost always well bet, and Andy Serling’s selection, Victoryat Last, who I have a hard time believing will go off at her inflated morning line of 8-1. Now I know my pick seemed to go off form recently at Monmouth, but I just can’t find anyone else in this race who possesses the early speed of Skiddles n’ Bob (#4). In two of her last three races, the half miles were run in 44 3/5 seconds and it’s not as if the Monmouth track was playing especially fast on those days. I like that she’s back in the barn of Gary Gullo, for whom she ran one of her best career races on June 6th at Belmont and I’m hoping she can get clear early and be brave in the stretch. I’ll be very surprised if I don’t get a higher price than her morning line. Anything over 6-1 would be fair. Also, on the off chance that Victoryat Last (#10) is ignored at the windows, I’ll throw a few dollars at her as well since she is a likely winner.
$10 Win 4
$5 Win 10
Race 7: NY-bred Optional Claiming $14,000/N1X at one mile
Anyway you slice it, the two main contenders in this race are Pearl of Wisdom (#2) and Coalition (#6). The difference between them is that Pearl of Wisdom is probably going to be a much shorter price due to his recent good form and his popular, high percentage trainer. I think Coalition is the slightly better horse, but I am concerned about the layoff and the manner in which he tailed off this spring. However, I trust Shug McGaughey to have him right for today and I would say his chances of winning are just about equal to Pearl of Wisdom’s. In situations like this it’s often best to back the longer price and hope for the best, so I’ll play the straight exacta.
$10 Exacta 6-2
Race 8: NY-bred Optional Claiming $25,000/N3X at six furlongs
I see there being a fast, contentious early pace in this affair due to the presence of Night Maneuver, Smokin Hero, and Old Man Meese all drawn alongside each other. Throw in Driven by Solar and Readytodefer pressing from the outside and I’m thinking that this race may collapse late. If that is the case, the two obvious horses to go to are Mineswept (#1) and Verbosity (#8). I think the latter horse is the much more likely winner after his breakout performance last time at Belmont when he nailed Head Heart Hoof on the wire. Head Heart Hoof came back to destroy a good field here last week, so I think the form of that race has really held up. Since this field is so competitive, Verbosity should be bettable win odds so I’ll back him on top and use him with Mineswept in the exacta.
$10 Win 8
$5 Exacta Box 1-8