Let’s look at a few spot plays for Saturday’s races. We had originally written up Belmont’s seventh but that has been taken off the turf. As of this posting, Belmont’s 9th is still on the turf, but obviously if it comes off, then that makes the play moot.
Belmont Race 6 – 3/up, Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, dirt – #9 Switzerland (8-5) is the favorite but has lost at 2-5, 4-5, and 2-5, though last time he did catch a sloppy track. He’s still untrustworthy. We’ll try #2 Wonderful Light (8-1), a sibling of G1 winner By the Moon. He debuted last time and ran fine with a mild inside run late in a race dominated up front. He should improve in his second start for trainer Michelle Nevin.
Belmont Race 9 – 3/up, n2x, 10 furlongs, turf – #6 Infinite Wisdom (12-1) stretches out to 10 furlongs for the first time, but his dam won the Group 1 Italian Oaks going 11 furlongs and the Grade 2 Bewitch going 12. His comeback race featured a very slow pace and Infinite Wisdom had to chase wide the whole way, fading late. He has a right to improve in his third start of the year and should get a good forward trip in a race that likely will feature a moderate pace.
Monmouth Race 2 – 3/up, F&M, Maiden Special Weight, 8.5 furlongs, dirt – Chad Brown has the likely favorite and horse to beat in #6 Our Cause (6-5), who was a wide second behind a moderate pace on May 28th. But we’ll take a shot with #7 Silencer (4-1). Silencer hasn’t run since November 27th, but that was her debut and she took some money, especially for a Bill Mott first-time starter. She chased wide in a race that was won wire to wire with the show horse fading to third and Silencer likely needed that race, like most Mott firsters. Obviously the layoff is a concern but she’s a decent alternative behind the obvious favorite.
Monmouth Race 4 – 3 yo fillies, OC 50k/n1x, 1 mile, dirt – This is an interesting race with Rudy Rodriguez shipping in #2 Bonita Bianca (2-1) for her first start since December 30th. In that race, she benefited from a super-fast pace in sweeping by to beat New York-breds. She won the one-turn Maid of the Mist against NY-breds in October and is the horse to beat. But there are reasons to be concerned. Her late-running style might not fit this track and Rodriguez is 1-15, $0.90 ROI (100 – 240 day layoffs in dirt routes) per DRF Formulator. #1 Frank’s Folly (3-1) is one alternative, but she has one sloppy track race that is good enough and she is going to be a short price. We’ll go with #4 Waitingforaspark (6-1) stretching out for Anthony Margotta, who is having a tremendous meet. Her debut was solid at Tampa with a slow start and some traffic. She then buried a field with an outside move on May 14th (granted that might have been the place to be that day). But in a field where you are looking for someone to take a step forward, we’ll take this third-time starter bred to route – by Bodemeister out of a Monarchos mare.
Monmouth Race 8 – 3/up NJ-breds, n1x, 6 furlongs, dirt – This is another fun race. The last time they ran this race we liked #9 Follow the Rainbow (7-2), who broke slow but didn’t run especially well. We’ll use him again, thinking he should improve second off the layoff, but the horse we want is a new face, #3 Chub Scout (8-1). There is some other speed in here, but he is very fast and is drawn inside (the rail has been good lately though it rained overnight so be sure to follow the earlier races). Chub Scout came off the bench on May 27th and was part of a very fast pace, but he put away Jersey Joe B and held off a late runner to get a very nice win. His pace rival, Jersey Joe B, came back to win and improve his figure by seven points.
Monmouth Race 10 – Jersey Shore Stakes – 3yo, Stakes $60k, 6 furlongs, dirt – #4 Proforma (2-1) is the horse to beat, dropping out of the Chick Lang on Preakness Day, a race that was his first start in five months and largely held together. He should improve and if he gets back to his races from the fall, he’ll be tough. However, we’ll play #6 Alex Again (5-1) for John Servis. He’s turning back out of two Parx route races, a good move for Servis – he’s 15-53 (28%, $1.98 ROI going route to sprint on dirt in the last three years) per DRF Formulator. This horse, however, does have speed to be close enough in his sprint races. It’s a mild concern he did not run well outside Parx but those were tough fields, both at Gulfstream and one was off a layoff. He’s the upset pick.