That fine looking gentleman to the left is none other then Super Saver, the reigning Kentucky Derby champion. He's brought his beach blanket to the New Jersey shoreline to take on a nice field of 3 YO's freshened up after the grueling Triple Crown season, as well as a member of their generation who skipped the springtime silliness and is the Turk's chalk today to upset the more recognizable names, Trappe Shot.
The Turk's just back from Saratoga where he watched the Jim Dandy Stakes yesterday, allegedly the traditional Travers Stakes prep race; this one sure seems like the prep with the bigger prize to me. Ok, let's go!
Monmouth Park Race 11/12 Late Daily Double: The Grade 3 Oceanport and the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, post time 5:04 ET.
The first thing you note when looking over the past performances is the quality of the fields in these two races. Starting with the Oceanport, it's always nice to see a returning champion as we have with Get Serious, but it's also nice to see a fixture of a man back with him, Trainer John Forbes. We wish him well and he has a legitimate chance to return to a winners circle he has known well for over 4 decades.
Trainer Biancone brings two runners into the race and I'm partial to Violon Sacre with J. Lezcano up. A sharp 1 mile effort on firm Monmouth turf in early July with a nice late turn of foot, 9 of 11 lifetime in the money on turf for the 5 YO. Far from heavy chalk but very capable.
Get Serious has had two nice Monmouth firm turf efforts already since late May, both low 100 BSF's, before running out of steam after leading the 2.5 furlong longer Grade I United Nations. Six wins in last nine starts, the six year old NYS bred gelding will go to the post as the bettors top choice and he'll be on all my tickets in one of the top two spots.
R. Dominguez is up for Trainer Motion on Cherokee Artist. An uneven runner, I'm looking at his past performances and I'm keying on some solid turf efforts in 2010 and ignoring the ones I don't like (the fickle red pen of the Turk). I'm looking at this last three race progression that ended with a 103 BSF and a strong second at GP at 1 mile on turf. The 5 YO comes in off a 99 BSF 100K optional Claimer win on firm turf at 1 1/16 miles. Not hard to see the results are possible at a decent price.
Strike a Deal is the best of my middle tier of challengers which includes Nownownow and Whatsthescript.
In the headlining event, a top shelf collection of three year olds competes for $1 Million Dollars in what has become the early Mid Summer Derby, the Grade I Haskell. Many of these horses are making their return to the track after being freshened up after the Triple Crown races; In the field only one horse has run in July and only one horse enters with two straight 100+ BSF, Trappe Shot, the Turk's choice to again reiterate that no one three year old has done much to establish himself as the best of the best since Eskendereya imploded months ago.
This would be a big step up for Trappe Shot who began his current two race string on Belmont Stakes day in an N1X Allowance affair. Trainer McLaughlin, with A. Garcia up, have clipped away at 57% winners at Monmouth and the sone of Tapit will have to stretch out another 1/16 of a mile to a distance his Tomlinson rating (416, second to Afleet Again's 430) tells us he should be comfortable with. He ran steady fractions last time out and finished with a strong :30.36 for the last 5/16's. 4 wins in 4 starts in 2010. Hmmmmm.
Looking at Lucky is a darn good horse who has had some bad trips in his 3 YO campaign and he's been a very good 2 for 2 on fast dirt including the Grade 1 Preakness. He's been training very sharply for Baffert at Del Mar with a smokin' :58 3/5ths at 5 furlongs in his last work before shipping. M. Garcia keeps the mount and wouldn't be surprised to see a strong performance which would help clear up the 3 YO picture.
Ice Box and Super Saver are pretty darn good too and should be placed forward within the tickets. First Dude and wild card Our Dark Knight will be on the edge of the exotic plays.
As always check the weather and the scratches/changes and track condition as you approach post time. The hour by hour forecast shows that there could be significant precipitation an hour or so before race 11 goes to post at 5:04 ET. It creates problems for any handicapper, but that's why this is considered gambling. Trappe Shot has run very well in slop and has a race best 438 Wet Track Tomlinson but Super Saver could advance higher on the ticket if the track gets downgraded.
I'll be hunting for the Daily Double with no more than a 2 X 3 selection matrix and more than likely 2 X 2. 10 cent supers are in fashion and we'll be looking to have some fun after ending our self imposed blogging break in July when I handicapped my arse off in private to sharpen up for the back half of the season.
Have fun, Turk Out!