By Brian Monzo
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I took an extended look at Friday’s card at Monmouth Park. To me, there are some very favorable odds that could pay out. The racing at Monmouth Park has been good, not great, this season. The purses are low, so the quality of horse isn’t where you’d like it to be. But, the races have been good and as the weeks go on, it appears the racing is getting better.
For Friday, there are three races for which I like plays.
Race 4, Maiden Special 36k, 1 1/16 miles on the turf:
Paskha is coming off a good run in her debut at Belmont and drops in class here to try for her first win. The connections of Christophe Clement and Joe Bravo are as good as it gets on the turf and I expect her to be a big player here. Top Choice. Sweetness Galore looked very green in her first race but ran good early in that race last month at Belmont. I think she bounces back nicely here. Toute Allure gets a pass on the last race due to it being off the turf. Her previous three on the turf were very solid for John Servis. He knows where to place horses and this looks like a good horse to have on tickets. Should be making noise late.
Race 7, Claiming 16K, 6 Furlongs on the dirt:
Really Bullish is the speed of this race and if in the earlier races, speed is holding up, this horse is going to be very hard to hold off. Think this could be her day. Afleet Memories was my top choice last out, but got bumped early and it was just a mess. Taking her again to sit just off the pace and take a run at it late. Could be the one that catches Really Bullish. Small Secret hasn’t run well at Monmouth, but if she can find form from last year through early this year, she could have a say here. Leaving her in the mix.
Race 9, Optional Claiming 22K, 1 1/16 miles on the dirt:
Charli Sunshine has been running superbly for just under a year now and has hit the board in six straight. Should be sitting close to the lead and should have a big say in the end. Has some tactical speed, and I expect a nice run. Winning pick. Bow Bells hasn’t run since October at Keeneland for Todd Pletcher, but gets a ton of class relief and probably needs a race, but if she runs at 3/4 strength, she may be able to take this group. Bravo on the mount helps. Likely chalk. Elba is coming off a few races where she was, or close to, being the favorite. She broke through in her last, winning by nine lengths. A lot of competition here, so she will likely be 14-1 or so. Could be a value play on exotic tickets.
We also have a few stakes races to look at this weekend. Will get that out there on Friday.
Enjoy, good luck.
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