We expect both tracks to have dried out by this afternoon, and to be fast. First picked race, the 7th at Monmouth Park, posts at 3:39 pm.
The stakes schedule is light on the last Sunday of August, and we have just three plays: one at Saratoga and two at Monmouth Park. All are on dirt, and while there was a lot of rain around the mid-Atlantic yesterday, especially at Saratoga, we expect both tracks to have dried out by this afternoon, and to be fast. Let’s go.
The Eleven North, one of three state-bred stakes on today’s Monmouth Park card, drew seven runners. The pick is 8/5 second choice 5-Blank Page, who is also the defending champion, having won this race last year. There is some concern about her fitness level, as she was eased in her last start, which was nearly a year ago, and has been on the bench since. But if she’s sound -- and we think she is -- then she will win, as she has a big speed-figure edge, and simply outclasses this group. Look for her to press the pace, and to seize command at the atop of the stretch. We will bet her to win. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 7, $40 to win on 5-Blank Paige.
Seven New Jersey-bred colts go here. Favored 4-Royal Urn a strong play: he should get an ideal trip just behind what figures to be a legitimate pace, and from there, he should use his strong stretch kick to roll to victory. He is a good illustration of a pet angle of ours, the cutback: he won a stakes race at this 6 furlong distance two back, then ran in another stakes, but at a mile, where he took the lead at the top of the stretch, only to get caught and finish second. With the added fitness from that longer race under his belt, we think the rest of the field is running strictly for second money. We will bet him to win at 3/2. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 9, $50 to win on 4-Royal Urn.
A good field of nine lines up for the Shuvee. We are going with a speed play: we like 3-Letruska, who starts for trainer Fausto Gutierrez. She is an absolute cinch to get the early lead, and will do so easily enough, we think, that she will be able to carry her speed the nine furlongs of this race. Her recent races have been shorter, which will lead some bettors to dismiss her chances, but she won her U.S. debut, which was at Gulfstream Park in December, at a mile and a quarter, and we think that the distance will not be an issue. We will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Saratoga, Race 9, $50 to win on 3-Letruska.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.