First post is at Parx at 12:55 pm EDT.
Holiday weekends make for great racing and there are lots of full fields, turf racing, and a few stakes races thrown in for good measure. So far, the Pimlico meet appears to be a success with record numbers for the Preakness and full fields and good attendance on other race days. Hopefully this will encourage Stronach to actually consider the Baltimore facility an asset and not an issue. Mick feels that if Stronach pulls the plug on Pimlico that the state of Maryland should seize the facility and operate Pimlico and Timonium in collaboration with the horsemen in the state. What would Frank and Belinda do if they lost 2/3 of their race dates and most of their horses?
Picks for May 25, 2019:
More gorgeousness, less wind. Weather perfection for horse racing. You know, the way it is at Del Mar all the time.
Belmont Race 1
A $100K purse for a maiden race? How cool is that? Belmont has been running these for a while as preps for their upcoming 2 year old stakes. The previous fields have been dominated by exceptionally well bred and expensive juveniles. This race, on the other hand, is just dominated by the king of the 2 year olds, Wesley Ward. His two runners, 2-Karak and 3-No Nay Maybe, will get crushed at the windows due to his success with both 2 year olds and firsters. These runners have excellent turf pedigrees and this may be a prep for a trip to Royal Ascot for the winner. Bet Ward, not the horse.
$10 P/S 2-Karak and 3-No Nay Maybe
$2 Exacta Box 2,3
Monmouth Race 5 John J. Reilly Stakes
7-Cozy Lover looks to beat up on the NJ breds in this 6f contest but ends up drawing a salty group with several viable challengers. 6-Amatteroftime moves from Charles Town where he spent the last 7 months in the care of Jeff Runco before being returned to trainer Jason Servis for the Monmouth meet. This boy is 3 for 4 at Monmouth and won the NJ Breeders at this distance last year. 4-Chunnel comes from the always top barn of Jorge Navarro and his 33% winners at this meet is in keeping with prior year success. This one looks to be a step behind but the layoff and cut in distance may help.
$10 W/P/S 7-Cozy Lover
$2 Exacta box 6,7
$1 Trifecta box 4,6,7
Monmouth Race 7 Boiling Springs Stakes
3 year old fillies long on the turf means one trainer should be well represented. And Chad Brown is well represented, indeed. 1-Beautiful Lover is coming off two straight wins and 4-Clause has run the best route speed figure in the field, save one filly. That filly, 8-Retro Street, is coming out of 8 straight claiming races and runs for trainer Derek Ryan, a long time conditioner who will not be confused with Chad or Todd or Bill (or Arnaud, or Graham, or John…). But that last race was impressive and the strong finish suggests that the added distance should not be a problem.
$50 W 8-Retro Street
Monmouth Race 9 Salvator Mile G3
3-Diamond King and 2-Sunny Ridge are the stand outs on class in this race. Both were graded stakes placed last out and both are best at the flat mile. 8-Bal Harbour comes from the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher who excels at bringing horses off short layoffs. In addition, Jersey Joe Bravo gets the call and it’s Monmouth Park after all. Look for 9-California Night to complete the exotics.
$10 W/P/S 3-Diamond King
$2 Exacta Box 2,3
$1 Trifecta 2,3/2,3/8,9
$0.10 Superfecta box 2,3,8,9
Monmouth Race 11 Monmouth Stakes G2
Eight horses and eight question marks. Most of the question marks are about distance since many in here have shown better outcomes at 8f than at today’s 9f. The one horse that is proven over the longer trip, 1-Monarchs Glen, makes his second US start after some success in the UK and a not so successful trip to Meydan. The rail will help if jockey Jose Lezcano can work out a trip and that has been happening at Monmouth with some regularity. 2-Almanaar has a G1 victory at this distance but that was 2+ years ago. His more recent efforts have been less inspiring. 7-Synchrony takes off the hood after his G1 attempt last out and a return to G3 back puts him in the picture. Look for this one flying late and he likes the strip.
$10 W/P/S 7-Synchrony
$2 Exacta 7/1,2
$0.50 Trifecta box 1,2,7
Pimlico Race 5
Can bug boy Avery Whisman get 9-Grandiflora where Trevor McCarthy couldn’t? Into the winner’s circle at Pimlico this year? It will be all about the trip. 10 wide is a problem but a good tracking trip will put this old warrior in a good place to run down the field. 2-Uncle Youdge has failed as the favorite in his last 3, including finishing behind the 9 last out. If the inside post helps, then this one is in the mix. Finally, 3-Jarvis Steel gets the return services of turf sprint maestro, Horacio Karamanos. These two combined to win a similar race 2 weeks ago on this strip.
$10 W/P/S 9-Grandiflora
$1 Trifecta box 2,3,9
Belmont Race 9 (Paradise Creek Stakes) marks the return to the races of undefeated G1 winner 2-Fog of War. Is he the same horse as he was as a 2 year old? Instead, go with the Philly hunch play, 3-Dunph.
Delaware Race 7 gives 8-Celtic Treasure another attempt at turf success, this time with trainer Hugh McMahon’s main man at Delaware Park, JD Acosta, in the irons. 35% is a good win rate and that’s what these two are doing together in Stanton.
Parx Race 1 appears to be a walkover for 4-Charly’s Charm as she gets class relief with the special PA bred exclusion in this maiden claimer. But…look for firster 5-Credit Approved to pull the upset. Trainer Mike Pino and jockey Dexter Haddock are undefeated together in the last 60 days.