Player Quick Pick: Monmouth for 8/17/2014

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D.S. Williamson

August 17th, 2014

By D.S. Williamson

Our $2 Prudhoe Bay to Favorite Tale exacta in the Jersey Shore paid over $40 yesterday. Let’s see if we can find the winner on top in today’s Monmouth feature, the Grade 3 Phillip Iselin Handicap.

Monmouth Park 9 | 5:08 pm ET

SH (20) for 3&up going 1-1/8 mi. (T)

2– Screenplay – 5/2 – Paco Lopez stays, the seven-year-old gelding gets the rail and the running line in Screenplay’s last, a victory at this level going a mile, reads “coasted to the wire”. There doesn’t appear to be anybody in this race equal to this one’s ability. Chalky, but sometimes chalk is what helps to keep us in the game. Paco could go gate-to-wire or win from a length or two off.

4 – Coturnix – 6/1 – This six-year-old gelding trained by Michael Smithwick is in excellent form having gone 5-2-1 out of his last 9 races. The five victories have been from the $7.5K claiming level all the way up to Allw16000s. The last, a loss at the optional claiming $20K level, says Coturnix fits. Jockey Alex Cintron will keep this one close to Screenplay in the early going.

6 – Sierra Alpha – 5/1 – Lost by only 1.25 lengths to Screenplay in the last and was making up ground in the stretch. If the pace is a bit quicker, that and the added distance could lead to excellent dividends for the gelding sired by Dansili. Only 2 wins out of 23 lifetime races. So, tread carefully if you’re considering for a win bet.

Monmouth Park 10 | 5:40 pm ET

G3 Phillip Iselin Handicap for 3&up going 1-1/8 mi.

7 – Pants On Fire – 3/1 – We have to expect that Paco Lopez learned something when not pressing Valid early in the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup in this one’s last. Pants On Fire finished third to Bradester and Valid. Lopez will keep the winner of over $1 million closer in this and he should definitely be tighter since the Monmouth Cup was his first after the Japan debacle.

3 – Valid – 5/2 – The Monmouth Cup victory was one heck of a race. Valid dueled with Bradester all the way to the wire before over taking that rival for the spoils. He’ll be under laid odds in this since some might consider him lone speed. Don’t be fooled, Paco aboard Pants On Fire will go after him early and Bern Identity is stretching out from a sprint. Still, Valid will be tough in this.

5 – Balance of Power – 5/1 – Trainer David Jacobsen puts speed rider C.C. Lopez on this one’s back for the Phillip Iselin. Does it mean that they’re going directly to the front? It could. Balance of Power shouldn’t be more than 2 lengths off. But, the four-year-old has never raced over the Monmouth dirt and who knows if he’ll like it. He’s intriguing, but he’s tough to put on top.