Monmouth Park Picks for Sunday, July 29
Race 10 – Grade 3 Molly Pitcher Stakes, $100,000
1 1/16 miles-DirtThere appears to be a standout runner in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher on Sunday. Divine Miss Grey won the Lady’s Secret over the Monmouth dirt at this distance in her last. She beat both Moonlit Garden and Total Control. In the race before, she finished fourth to heavy hitters Lewis Bay and Highway Star in the Bed O’Roses at Belmont. She’s got what it takes to win her second race in a row. Both Berned and Unchained Melody spent their last race chasing Abel Tasman, Ivy Bell, and Unbridled Mo in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps in their last. Unchained Melody finished fifth. Berned finished sixth. Unchained Melody has the much better post on Sunday because Berned breaks from the far outside. I’ll put Unchained Melody second. Berned should have so much trouble that finishing in the Top 3 just won’t happen. Dreamcall figures to get over bet. Then again, the Steve Asmussen trainee does have a nice closing kick and has won 3 in a row. She’s the pick to finish third.
- First: Divine Miss Grey
- Second: Unchained Melody
- Third: Dreamcall
Race 11 – Wolf Hill Stakes, $75,000
5 ½ furlongs-Turf5 ½ furlong turf races are often wide-open events. The Wolf Hill Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 29 is no different. Munnings sired Proforma finished third at 14/1 to White Flag and Big Handsome in the Allied Forces Stakes at Belmont Park in his last. That was his first race over turf. The 4-year-old gelding should improve immensely. Monmouth legend Joe Bravo rides. The only question is how he’ll respond after having not raced since last September. Bravo rode Simon Bar Sinister to an allowance victory at 6 furlongs over the turf at Belmont Park in early July. Simon Bar Sinister finished second to Snowday in the My Frenchman Stakes over the Monmouth turf last year. He could finish second in this as well. Snowday, an 8-year-old horse sired by Falco, finished second to White Flag in an allowance race at Belmont in mid-July. If that form holds, he can definitely beat this group. I’ll place him third.
- First: Proforma
- Second: Simon Bar Sinister
- Third: Snowday
Race 12 – Haskell Invitational, $1 million1 1/8 miles-Dirt Bob Baffert had been pointing Justify to the Haskell Invitational. Because Justify has been retired, favoritism to win the Haskell has fallen on Good Magic. Good Magic is 6/5 on the morning line. Good Magic is the class, but 3-year-olds don’t always improve after running in Triple Crown races. The two horses that have improved the most since the Triple Crown are Core Beliefs and Lone Sailor. Justify drubbed Core Beliefs in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. No problem. The Peter Eurton trainee came back with a nice second in the Peter Pan Stakes before winning the Ohio Derby in his last. He can improve yet again because he showed in the Ohio Derby that he can relax and kick it into gear when asked. Lone Sailor breaks from post-position 1. He gets 32% winning jockey Joe Bravo to ride. Not only that, but he ran with the front runners in the Ohio Derby. He too has a shot to upset Good Magic. Should Good Magic finish in the Top 3? Yes. But, Bravazo could get the jump on him. Good Magic ran his heart out in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. He’s been working decently. There’s no way to tell if his mind really is where it needs to be to win a $1 million dollar race, though. I’m leaving the chalk out of the Top 3.
- First: Core Beliefs
- Second: Lone Sailor
- Third: Bravazo