Player Quick Pick: Monmouth for 6/22/2014

Molly Jo Rosen

June 22nd, 2014

by D.S. Williamson

A deep field of 10 will contest the 6 furlong Red Cross Stakes, Monmouth’s feature race on Sunday. Before the feature is a very good $22,000 claiming race over the turf.

Monmouth Park race 10 | 5:12 pm ET Claiming (22) for 3&up going 1-1/8 mi. (T)

10 – Ballerino – This looks like a wide-open affair on paper, but Ballerino may be the one to beat. The six-year-old gelding sired by Lido Palace and trained by Roy Lerman was running decent races over the lawn at Tampa Bay and Gulfstream Park last winter. Before that, Ballerino put in a few good races at Belmont and Saratoga. Nobody appears to want the lead in this race, meaning that jockey Abel Castellano, who is known for being aggressive, might just grab it from the outside post.

4 – Quiet Danger – The last two races were decent runs and trainer Willard Thompson, who is winning at 21% at the meet, drops the gelded son of Bernardini from the $25K claiming level to this lower-level claimer. The drop is only slight, but it could be enough to wake up this guy. Jockey Gabriel Saez can put this one onto the pace or come from the clouds. Either way, Quiet Danger’s got a shot in this event.

1 – Sam’s Buck – Trainer George Weaver fits blinkers and puts Paco Lopez onto the back of Sam’s Buck, who should end up going off as the chalk in this race. This is a jump up in class, but improvement is expected since this will be the second race off of a long layoff. Paco can save all of the ground around the first and possibly even the second turn, but the odds will be short and this event is tough. Tread carefully if you’re considering placing Sam’s Buck into the win slot.

Monmouth Park race 11 | 5:43 pm ET Red Cross 3&up F&M going 6f

5 – Lion D N A – Trainer Rudy Rodriguez spots his horses well and this daughter of Lion Heart could get the perfect trip sitting right behind the speed duel among Munning’s Sister, Here’s Zelicious, Ultimate Shopper, Laguna Girl and Mama Zee. Lion D N A has won over $400K and has taken home the win money in three $100K races in her last 10 including winning the Skipat L for $100K over the slop at Pimlico. She could be extremely tough to keep out of the winner’s circle in this if jockey Gabriel Saez times his move correctly.

9 – Munning’s Sister – A winner of over $325K, Munning’s Sister usually runs in Grade 2 and Grade 3 events, not lower-level stakes races at Monmouth Park. Barclay Tagg, who trained Funny Cide to an almost Triple Crown back in 2005, has done a good job placing this five-year-old mare. She’s picked up paychecks at Gulfstream, Santa Anita and Aqueduct in her last three races. She’s won 7 out of 18, picks up Paco Lopez, and faces nothing close to La Verdad, Kaui Katie and My Pal Chrissy in this event like she did in her last.

3 – Pinot Grigio – Nobody figures to get an easy lead in this and if the front-runners get softened up, then this Willard Thompson trainee, who has won two in a row and has a 5-3-6 out of 18 lifetime races record at Monmouth Park, could be the one to pick up the pieces. Pinot Grigio won the Open Mind Handicap in her last. The speed duel will have to develop and Monmouth’s main track can’t be playing towards its normal front-running bias, but if those things happen, then Pinot Grigio could win her third in a row. Put her on all of your tickets. Especially do so if the odds stay close to 20 to 1.