Key Races & Bets for Saturday, July 20

Molly Pitcher Stakes – Race 8 at Monmouth Park – Post Time 3:27 PM Eastern

There’s really no analysis here. Midnight Bisou is likely to have a paid workout as she prepares for bigger races and she’s a “Free Square” for the pick 3 starting in this race. She won the Phipps last month about as easily as a horse can win and she’s likely banging down the stall doors with energy so Asmussen figures it’s better to race her than to give her a morning workout.

Pick 3
Race 8 Midnight Bisou
Race 9 Fig Jelly, Justaholic, Mai Ty One On
Race 10 Lemonade Thursday, Coal Front, Monongahela

Wolf Hill Stakes – Race 9 at Monmouth Park – Post Time 3:56 PM Eastern

Justaholic returned to the races last month following a year off and ran a big race in his very first turf sprint, easily winning in a 10 horse field to earn a career best and last race best in the field 107 Equibase figure. Only better is logically forthcoming second off the layoff and sprinting over the course again. Trainer Clark took a few years off and this was his first starter and first winner since 2016, with more to come from this 20% career winning trainer.

Fig Jelly is still eligible for the NW2X allowance level but opens at 2 to 1 compared to Justaholic, who opens at 9 to 2 after winning at that level. The reason for the lower odds is likely the fact he calls the Servis barn home and Saez is riding. The gelding has six career runner-up finishes to go along with just two wins but one of those came in a stakes 11 months ago at Saratoga so his best effort may be good enough to win.

Mai Ty One On ran poorly when fifth of six in a turf sprint at Belmont but that was a classified allowance and possibly a tougher field. He finished second sprinting on turf before that and won four of nine last year, all but one a turf sprint. He gets a good post to stalk whoever leads early and with Lopez taking over could be up in time.

Bets: Win bet on Justaholic at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

Exactas: Box Justaholic, Fig Jelly and Mai Ty One On.

Monmouth Cup – Race 10 at Monmouth Park – Post Time 4:29 PM Eastern

Lemonade Thursday returned from eight months off last month and destroyed a short field of six to win by eight lengths. Lopez rides back and the colt is one of only two four year olds in the field (the other Bal Harbor) so not only hasn’t run his best yet he should improve second off the layoff. Trainer Delacour likely had this race in mind when he entered the race last month and since the win Lemonade Thursday returned to the trainer’s base at Fair Hills to put in a very sharp 59.2 five furlong drill to put him on edge for another top effort, particularly as that last race earned a 110 Equibase figure, a level favorite Coal Front has exceeded just once, in September of 2017.

Monangahela is another horse with a sharp local win, and an even better figure (114) which is better than all but one of Coal Front’s seven winning figures. Since joining the Servis barn the horse has been first or second in all three races from 1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles and Lezcano rides back after being up for the win in the Iselin Stakes last month so we can easily expect another “A” race good enough to win.

Coal Front can win but doesn’t have to. He’s 7 for 10 in his career but only two of those were around two turns. One was in February in the Razorback Handicap with a 105 figure and the other came in March in the Godolphin Mile in Dubai. He ran one of the worst races of his career after that last month in the Met Mile, where he wasn’t that well regarded at 10/1 in spite of his record, and so I’ll use him defensively but am hoping either Lemonade Thursday or Monangahela gets the win.

Bets: Lemonade Thursday to win at 2 to 1 or more and Monangahela to win at 3 to 1 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exacta: Box Lemonade Thursday, Monangahela and Coal Front.

Daisycutter Stakes – Race 6 at Del Mar – Post Time 7:30 PM Eastern

Trainer Phil D’Amato has a pair of runners in here for owner Nick Alexander, running as an uncoupled entry. Both are by Alexander’s top sire Grazen. The proven runner is S Y Sky, opening at 7 to 2, with a fantastic record of 7-5-1 in 13 races including 3-1-0 in four starts on turf, all sprints. Four of her seven wins came in stakes. Just Grazed Me is the other, opening at sweet 8 to 1 odds. She has been first or second in all six starts with three wins each and returns from a seven month layoff, trying turf for the first time. If D’Amato has Just Grazed Me in this stakes, you can be assured he thinks she can handle the turf and at the higher odds she’s a great bet. Grazen’s three previous foals are all turf winners and if you take away what S Y Sky has done, the other foals have three wins and a second place finish in eight races so that’s another reason to bet both but hope Just Grazed Me posts the upset.

Painting Corners and A Little Bit Me are the other contenders here, the former a stakes winner at this five furlong trip in April who can win on the lead or from just off the pace and the latter a stakes winner in Kentucky in May in a short turf sprint like this one.

Bets: Just Grazed Me and S Y Sky to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exacta and Trifecta box: Just Grazed Me, S Y Sky, Painting Corners and A Little Bit Me.

San Clemente Stakes – Race 8 at Del Mar – Post Time 8:30 PM Eastern

Keeper ofthe Stars
broke a 17 year track record for 1 1/16 miles on grass at Golden Gate last month, her third straight win, and gets the rail. She earned all three wins leading from start to finish but doesn’t need the lead. Formerly a Hollendorfer trainee, she’s now in the hands of very high percentage trainer Jonathan Wong and Bejarano gets on. That effort was no fluke as the 103 Equibase figure is the best last race figure in the field, even better than horses coming out of stakes, and at 12/1 on the morning line this gal is very playable.

Playable to a lesser extent, I keep coming back to Kalliniki, who opens at 20/1. The reason is a simple one. The top turf jockey on the circuit, and probably the top jockey on the circuit, Flavien Prat, gets on this longshot who has only run twice. The second of the two races was her only turf route, at this mile trip. She handled it like a champ leading from start to finish on decent fractions, gamely hanging on by a head at 54 to 1 at the end of May. That win came after EIGHT months off, with NO prep first, so she’s got to be even more fit for this. Prat and his agent are nobody’s fool and if they took this mount is could be for a very good reason.

Bets: Keeper ofthe Stars to win at 3 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or more.
For a smaller amount, Kalliniki to win at odds of 7 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 10 to 1 or more.

For my analysis of the Haskell Stakes, go here to the Equibase web site.
My top pick is King for a Day, with win betting minimum odds of 2 to 1. I am playing him in exactas with Everfast, Mucho Gusto and defensively with Maximum Security, who I think gets worn down again, this time because of an early pace battle with Joevia and Bethlehem Road.

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Ellis Starr

Ellis is a well respected handicapper and contributor of AmWager. He has been a public handicapper for more than twenty years, educating racing fans of all skill levels with detailed commentary few other handicappers provide.

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