Monmouth Park hosts one of its biggest cards of the season Saturday. The New Jersey track boasts a 14-race program, one that ends with an all-stakes Pick Four.
I think the card ends with a popular multirace exotics single. However, I also believe there’s value to be had elsewhere in the sequence. I’ll look to extract it with a $13.50 ticket, and here’s how I’ve put it together.
Going against Chad Brown in the Eatontown
One of the game’s most successful trainers sends out a pair in the Grade 3 Eatontown. I like neither of them. No. 7 Lemista hasn’t won since the summer of 2020, while No. 8 Fluffy Socks isn’t without a chance but figures to be overbet.
I’m going three deep, and my top pick is No. 6 Princess Grace. She’s never run a poor race, and she won three straight graded stakes events last summer and fall. The long layoff is obviously a concern, but 7-2 hits me as a very fair price. If she’s right, I think she’ll be tough to beat.
I’ll also use No. 1 Vigilantes Way and No. 5 Whimsical Muse. The former makes her second start off a long break and has two wins and two seconds in four local starts. The latter, meanwhile, took a big step forward with a win over this turf course last time out. There are back races, however, that suggest this wasn’t a total fluke, and maybe top local trainer Kelly Breen has figured her out.
Another stand in the Pegasus
Like the Eatontown, the Pegasus Stakes boasts a Chad Brown-trained favorite I’m just not crazy about. No. 4 Electability was a distant third in the Grade 3 Peter Pan. We the People and Golden Glider didn’t run well in the Belmont, and Electability has never gone two turns on dirt.
I much prefer No. 2 Home Brew, whose lone poor effort to date came in the slop two back. He returned off the layoff to win a two-turn stakes race, and that day’s runner-up has since come back to win. At their likely prices, this one hits me as a much better bet.
No. 3 Mr Jefferson and No. 8 Cooke Creek are on my ticket as well. The former placed in a pair of races at this level in Maryland, while the latter may not have appreciated off-tracks in each of his last three outings.
Three deep again in the Monmouth
The Grade 3 Monmouth is another race with a heavy Chad Brown presence. Unlike the first two legs, I think Brown holds a powerful hand here. He trains two of the three runners I’m using.
No. 3 Public Sector almost certainly needed his return off of a long break in the Grade 1 Turf Classic. I think he’s eligible to improve, given the seasoning and the considerable class drop. No. 6 Sacred Life, meanwhile, has been chasing some very nice turf horses for most of his career. His usual race likely puts him right there in this spot, and I can’t ignore him.
Should he run, I’ll also throw in No. 5 Ever Dangerous. He doesn’t have a rider listed, so that’s far from a certainty. However, he hasn’t run a bad race in nearly two years, and he’s been working consistently ahead of his return.
Not getting cute in the Salvator Mile
It’s not sexy to take a 4-5 favorite. However, I just can’t see No. 3 Hot Rod Charlie losing the Grade 3 Salvator Mile if he’s at anywhere close to his best.
Last year’s Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes runner-up most recently came in second in the Dubai World Cup. This race certainly isn’t the goal, but he’s been tackling top-tier competition for his entire career. I don’t think he needs a top-tier race to best this bunch.
The $13.50 late Pick Four ticket
R11: 1, 5, 6
R12: 2, 3, 8
R13: 3, 5, 6