Player Quick Pick: Monmouth for 7/6/2014

July 6th, 2014

by D.S. Williamson

Sunday’s feature is the Grade 1 United Nations, but before that is a terrific Grade 3 race, the Salvatore Mile. Let’s look at that race as well as Race 9.

Monmouth Park 9 | 4:41 pm ET Allowance (40) for 3&up going 1-1/16 mi. (t)

5 – Best Play – Trainer David Jacobsen saddles this four-year-old colt that has won 2 out of his last 4 races. One of the wins was at the $50K starter allowance level. Best Play dug down admirably in the stretch to take that victory home. Jacobsen is on fire at Monmouth while jockey C. Lopez has been fantastic as well. Lopez figures to put Best Play about a length or two behind front-runner Strategic Keeper before pushing to the wire. Unless Strategic Keeper runs off, it could be very difficult to keep Best Play out of the winner’s circle on Sunday.

2 – Strategic Keeper – Paco Lopez takes the call aboard this Empire Maker three-year-old colt that was absolutely terrific when taking home a $35K starter allowance at Gulfstream Park in his last. Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. has put six strong works into this guy since the win on March 14. You’ve got figure that with Paco on his back, he should be in contention throughout, possibly even on the lead. If nobody goes with Paco, the 30% winning jockey will have a good shot to nurse this one to the finish line first.

4 – Picozza – After the maiden score, Picozza ran very well to finish second in the Grade 3 Transylvania. But the two races after that have left much to be desired. In the Grade 2 American, Picozza got thumped when losing by 5.5 lengths and finishing seventh. The race right after, a $77K allowance event, wasn’t much better. Picozza lost by 9.25 lengths in that event. It’s hard to go against Todd Pletcher and Joe Bravo. So, he’s a must use, but putting Picozza in the win slot at likely low odds doesn’t seem prudent.

Monmouth Park 10 | 5:13 pm ET Grade 3 Salvator Mile 3&up going 1 mi.

10– Valid – Jockey Orlando Bocachica almost brought this one home first in a $200K stakes race in his last. The son of Medaglia D’Oro lost that race to Last Gunfighter by a nose. Even though that one didn’t perform well in the Grade 2 Suburban on Saturday at Belmont, Valid figures to perform well with Bocachica on his back in this field. Bocachica should put Valid right off of Stormin’ Monarcho’s throat latch in this. If he can get the jump on Itsmyluckyday and Dawly, a victory could be in the cards.

7 – Itsmyluckyday – The race appears to set up for this classy Eddie Plesa Jr. trainee who finished second to Oxbow in the Preakness Stakes in 2013. Itsmyluckyday has had some injury issues, but all systems appear to be going after a stunning victory in a $75K stakes race on May 24 over the Monmouth dirt. Plesa has put four works into the Laywer Ron colt since then signaling that the chalk is ready to roll in this. If he goes off anywhere near the 3 to 1 odds, think long and hard about making him the key in all of the exotics and a win bet is a must.

6 – Dawly – The pace could leave this one well behind at the 2nd call. Then again, Dawly has shown the ability to rate much closer. If jockey Angel Arroyo can keep Dawly in the mix by the top of the stretch, no more than 2 lengths off, then Dawly could be the one running on while the speed begins to fold. His last race, a victory at Belmont by 3.25 lengths was absolutely stunning because he took down both Mr. Palmer and Balance of Power, two gifted animals. Dawly fits with this group and should be taken seriously in the Grade 3 Salvatore Mile on Sunday.

And remember...

United Nations