By Brian Monzo
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Saturday’s feature of the day is the Preakness Stakes. We took a long look at that, but there are a few races I like at Belmont Park and Monmouth Park as well that we can discuss.
Last week, we hit a couple of winners and exotic wagers at Monmouth Park. Let’s aim for more.
We head to Belmont Park first.
Race 5: 20K Maidens — 5 1/2 Furlongs on the dirt
King Keene hasn’t won in 15 tries, but showed some early speed in his last race, placing by three lengths. A shorter race and good post position should help. Skyhook gets a major class drop, and after taking a wide trip in last, should be in the mix. Getting Ortiz on the mount looks favorable. Woburn catches the outside draw, but ran a good one the last time out, and had a solid work last week. It’s worth keeping on eye on.
Race 9: The Grade-2 Vagrancy Handicap, $200k Purse — 6 1/2 Furlongs on the dirt
Miss d’Oro is coming off a second-place performance in the Distaff, and recent works show she is ready to go. She has hit the board in each of her seven starts, including four wins and one at this distance. She may choose to go closer to the lead early. Spectacular Sky will hit the lead from the beginning and will try to wire the field. Has hit the board 14 of 19 tries, including six wins. Irish Exchange will have some value, with a ML of 12-1, but if she brings her best she could take this group. Exotics play, for sure.
Now we head down to Monmouth Park and look at the feature race at the Jersey Shore on Preakness day.
Race 11: The Grade-3 Red Bank Stakes, $100K Purse — 1 Mile on the turf
Hobbs is coming off a nice closing win in the Turf Classic at Tampa Downs. He has five turf wins and draws Elvis Trujillo on the mount. He should be coming around the turn and flying late. Finale should be two or three lengths from the lead, and if he has anything left in the tank, he should be heard from late. Would expect an early move from jockey Chris DeCarlo is this horse is going to win. Todd Pletcher horses always get bet at Monmouth. Expect the price to shrink from 6-1. Za Approval is coming off a nice win in the Appleton Stakes against similar, and, like Hobbs, this horse has to be held off late. Joe Bravo gets the call for Christopher Clement and will be tough to ignore.
Obviously the Preakness is the top race of the day, but if you’re in the mix for the day of racing, these are some very appealing races.
I will be tweeting out some picks all day @BMonzoWFAN.
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