2022 Monmouth Oaks Value Plays

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

July 31st, 2022

Sunday’s $250,000 Monmouth Oaks (G3) has attracted a very good field of six three-year-old fillies. The 1 1/16-mile dirt affair is led by a pair of horses that seem formidable to me, so finding value in the event will have to come via the vertical exotics.

Grade 1 starlet #3 Juju’s Map (3-2) disappointed in the Mother Goose S. (G2) at Belmont Park last time out when a distant third, but the Brad Cox charge figures to improve a good deal on Sunday in her third outing of the season. By Liam’s Map, the $300,000 yearling purchase had a fine juvenile year capped by a runner-up performance in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Del Mar, and the Kentucky-bred kicked off 2022 with a facile allowance victory at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day.

The dark bay miss was forced into strong early splits before tiring in the lane in her latest attempt, and I expect her to lead through a moderate early tempo in this spot, which will aid her chances late. Paco Lopez inherits the ride atop the Albaugh colorbearer.

#5 Shahama (9-5) was a fantastic 4-for-4 in Dubai and has given a nice account of herself in two races since coming to the States. The Pletcher pupil was a decent sixth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in her U.S. bow prior to being second best in the Mother Goose most recently. Munnings three-year-old showed improved early presence in her latest venture and has every right to peak in her third run since importing. Jorge Vargas Jr. will guide the Kentucky-bred and keep her in range throughout the event.

#1 Silverleaf (10-1) has shown minor improvement in nearly every lifetime run to date and earned black-type in her stakes debut when third in the Indiana Oaks (G3) last time out. She would have top-three billing as a value contender for the trifecta. But trainer Kenny McPeek told Daily Racing Form that she would probably scratch. 

If Silverleaf does in fact come out, stablemate #4 Runaway Wife (4-1) becomes the value option. The Indiana Oaks runner-up has been first or second in each of her two-turn races to date and looms a very good chance to make the frame with her top performance. The McPeek pupil possesses good positional speed, as well as a consistent late kick, and the Gun Runner lass has done her best work at 1 1/16 miles, too.

Runaway Wife will need a major step forward to upset the top duo, but if one of the big guns fails to fire, then the Kentucky-bred is a very logical threat with Samuel Marin taking the reins. I expect the filly to track the pace in third or fourth to the top of the stretch before being asked for her best late.

Monmouth Oaks Wagers

  • $25 trifecta 3 with 5 with 4 ($25)
  • $12 trifecta 5 with 3 with 4 ($12)
  • $4 trifecta 3,5 with 4 with 3,5 ($8)