Racing at Monmouth Park
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Sunday at the track: For something other than NFL games to bet on, Garrity picks plays at Monmouth Park

First picked race, the 7th at Monmouth Park, has a post time of 3:22 pm

Chris Garrity

What figured to be a quiet afternoon in horse racing, due to today being the first Sunday of the NFL season, will be even quieter as a result of the rain-induced postponement of today’s card at Kentucky Downs. Three of the day’s four stakes races were scheduled there, and their absence -- they’ve been rescheduled for Tuesday -- plus the fact that New York and California are still dark, leaves the cupboard a bit bare, as it were.

But we have still managed to put together three quick plays, all at Monmouth Park and all in the span of about an hour, for those of you looking for a respite from the footy. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all three of them. Let’s go.

Monmouth Park, Race 7, 3:22 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 mile 70 Yards, Dirt, New Jersey-bred 3 & Up

Seven go in this first-level allowance for state-breds. We think it’s an easy race to handicap: 3-Stefano broke his maiden in his last start, on this surface and at a distance almost identical to this, and he has the best last-race Beyer Speed Figure (69) and also appears to be controlling speed. Look for him to dominate this race from start to finish. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 7, $35 to win on 3-Stefano.

Monmouth Park, Race 8, 3:48 pm ET

$12,500 Claiming, 1 mile, Turf, 3 & Up

This claimer at a flat mile on the turf drew a field of eleven. We like 6-The Mighty Judge. He won a claiming race at this $12,500 level at Gulfstream Park in April, finished second in a virtually identical spot in May, shipped to Delaware Park in July, where he finished a very close second in a $20k claimer, and now, after a brief freshening, runs back for $12.5k at the Jersey shore. He fits on class, he fits on form, and he fits on running style: he’s got a good late kick, but he also has enough natural early speed to stay close early, which is important on Monmouth’s speed-favoring turf course. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 8, $35 to win on 6-The Mighty Judge.

Monmouth Park, Race 9, 4:14 pm ET

$7,500 Claiming, 5 ½ furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

A field of nine hard-knocking claiming females lines up to sprint five and a half furlongs here. When handicapping a race like this, there are two things that matter most: physical soundness and speed. 2-Always Talking has both: she’s run seven times since the end of May, which suggests that she is physically sound, and she is the controlling speed in the race. Breaking from the inside, she will have to use it, so look for her to pop right out of the gate, go for the lead, and stay there all the way through the finish line. We think she wires this group, and will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 9, $35 to win on 2-Always Talking.

We’re also going to make a fourth play in these three races: in case we catch lightning in a bottle, and get these three races exactly right, we want the rewards at the window to be ample. So we will play all three picks in the Pick 3 covering races 7, 8, and 9. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 7, $20 Pick 3, 7 (Stefano) with 6 (The Mighty Judge) with 2 (Always Talking).

That’s all for today. Enjoy the racing, enjoy the football, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.

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