Highlighted by the filly Untapable taking on the boys in the $1 million William Hill Haskell Invitational (G1), horseplayers are in for a challenging day of handicapping with six stakes on the Monmouth Park 14-race card, and there are no easy races.
The Haskell is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” race, with the winner earning an automatic starting spot in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.
Untapable is seeking to follow in the footsteps of Serena’s Song and Rachel Alexandra, the only fillies that have been able to beat the boys in the richest thoroughbred race run in New Jersey. She is the 2-1 morning line favorite.
The filly will not face Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome, who is taking a short break, or Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist, who ran second in yesterday’s Jim Dandy (G1) at Saratoga, but faces a tough looking group.
The Bob Baffert trained Bayern is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. The colt is coming off a sharp win in the Woody Stephens (G2) at Belmont Park. Baffert has won the Haskell a record six times.
Social Inclusion was third in the Woody Stephens and was third in the Preakness Stakes. The colt will race without lasix and is 8-1 on the morning line. Medal Count (8-1) is getting some hype and may get bet down, and Albano (6-1) is coming off a sharp score in the Pegasus (G3) over the Monmouth Park main track.
For my selections and analysis for the Haskell check out my article on Bleacher Report.
There are five stakes leading up to the marquee event, and I have included all of the stakes action in Sunday’s Best Plays Report.
The stakes action starts with the $200,000 Molly Pitcher (G2) for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Natalie Victoria, who was claimed for $12,500 back in December and has won three of four starts for trainer Michelle Nevin is the 5-2 morning line favorite.
The $100,000 Teddy Drone is a wide-open six-furlong dirt sprint that drew a field of 11. Ribo Bobo (5-2) was claimed for just $6,250 by Jason Servis and the gelding has won 10 of 13 starts for the barn.
The $150,000 Matchmaker (G3) drew 11 and is one of the better wagering races on the day. My full analysis is below.
The $150,000 Oceanport (G3) drew 10 including overseas invader Mshawish (3-1) for the Todd Pletcher barn. He faces a couple of graded stakes winners in Guys Reward (7-2) and Lochte (7-2).
Let’s head out to Monmouth Park for today’s Matchmaker:
Monmouth Park Race 9 The Matchmaker G3 (3:59 ET)
9 Watsdachances 3-1
10 Irish Mission 9-2
11 Emotional Kitten 4-1
2 Starstruck 6-1
Analysis: Watsdachances returns off a two month break her after a game second last out in the Gallorette ‘Cap (G3) at Pimlico. The filly was outrun in the early going and came with a good late run, having to steady briefly at the quarterpole. The winner of the race was Somali Lemonade, who won the Diana (G1) at the Spa in her most recent outing. The Chad Brown trainee figures to move forward in just her second start since last November.
Irish Mission was a good second last out against the boys in the two mile Belmont Gold Cup, beaten a length for the top spot. Two back over yielding footing against the gals she was a decent third in the Sheepshead Bay (G2) behind repeat winner Riposte, who came back to win the New York (G2) in her next start on June 28 at Belmont Park. The cut back in distance will suit and while she has won just one of her last dozen starts, she has been in a few tough spots and she looks like a good fit here with her best. Decent value if she goes off near her 12-1 morning line.
WIN: #9 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 9,10 / 2,9,10,11
TRI: 9,10 / 2,9,10,11 / 2,7,9,10,11
Michael’s Saratoga Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations. Mike has been handicapping the New York Racing circuit on a daily basis for nearly three decades. Get the entire meeting for just $99.95!