Monzo: Grades Stakes Weekend In NY, NJ And California
By Brian Monzo
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Great racing continues this Saturday as Belmont Park has the G2 Suburban Handicap and the G2 Dwyer Stakes, Monmouth Park has the G1 United Nations Stakes and Hollywood Park has the G1 Hollywood Gold Cup.
I love these competitive races, especially when a favorite can, and likely will be beat (except for the Gold Cup!!).
Let’s start at Belmont Park for the G2 Suburban Handicap:
Race 8, the Suburban Handicap, Grade-2 $350K, 1 1/8 miles on the dirt:
Alpha returns to the US after a mediocre stint in Dubai. He ran a tough in the Breeders Cup Classic, but had a great summer at Saratoga. This field has some class horses, but if he can get close to Percussion on the league and can find that zing that won him the Travers and the Jim Dandy, he could be the one to win this one. Trainer Kiarnan McLaughlin says he looks better than ever. My top choice here. Last Gunfighter just keeps getting better for Chad Brown. Getting Javier Castellano on the mount helps, and this guy has won six straight. Wouldn’t be a stunner in the least. Flat Out is 4 for 5 at Belmont and has the fight of a champion. Will be the favorite and will be there in the end. Won this race two years ago with ease.
The next race is the G2 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont featuring six solid ponies:
Race 9, the Dwyer Stakes, Grade-2 $200K, 1 1/16 miles on the dirt:
Saint Vigeur has run great on the dirt and with the Brown/Castellano connections, this guy is poised and ready to go. I like him to sit two lengths off the lead and turn it on down the stretch. My top pick — and could be 4-1. For Greater Glory will be sitting well off the lead, but if the pace is fast, I certainly can see him coming late down the stretch to grab a piece at a nice price. I think this track will do him a huge favor. Make Your Move is a wild card here. I think he will be the longest shot on the board, but he is 3 for 8 in his career and appears to the kind of horse that can run forever. I think he will stay 3-4 lengths from the lead and could be the fastest mover late.
We head to Monmouth Park for the always great G1 United Nations Stakes on the turf. I love this race.
Race 11, the United Nations Stakes, Grade-1, $500K, 1 3/8 miles on the turf:
Big Blue Kitten ran a big one in the G2 Monmouth and was closing like a beast for Chad Brown and Joe Bravo but wasn’t able to catch Boisterous. I think the added ground will be huge for this one and if you can get 3-1 on the board, it’s a must have. Little Mike is 12 for 23 in his career, including a Breeders Cup win. This horse has a ton of heart and will be on or close to the lead. I love Joel Rosario on the mount, but I think the distance will hurt him from getting the win. Will be the one to catch and should finish on the board. Hangover Kid will have a huge price, possibly 25-1, but I think trainer Jason Servis liked his closing kick in his last claiming race, and jumping to a G1 is crazy, but this horse can run distances and is a must on all exotic tickets.
Finally, we look at the G1 Hollywood Gold Cup at Betfair Hollywood Park:
Race 9, the Hollywood Gold Cup, Grade-1, $500K, 1 1/4 miles on the cushion:
Game on Dude continues to be one the best earners in the country. This horse is 6-years-old, is 13 for 25 and keeps doing great things for Bob Baffert. He will go to the lead for Mike Smith and likely hold the gang off. I expect this horse to be the heavy chalk and would be stunned if he loses. Kettle Corn gets Rafael Bejarano on the mount and with great speed and a good trip, could figure on the board. If he can resort to how he can in the San Diego last year, he will have a huge say here. Clubhouse Ride ran a huge one in the California and will be the second choice. Joe Talamo will give this horse a chance, I just doubt that Game on Dude will lose.
I will be at Monmouth Park for the United Nations.
Good luck to everyone!
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