Undercard graded stakes selections at Monmouth Park for July 17
An outstanding 14-race card will be hosted by Monmouth Park on Saturday. A total of five graded stakes races will take place, led by a pair of Grade 1 tilts, on the signature day of the meeting. Much of the attention on the day will deservedly go to the Haskell S. (G1) and United Nations S. (G1), but there are excellent wagering options throughout the card to be explored. Below are my takes on each of the Grade 3 tilts.
Race 5 -- Matchmaker S.
Fillies and mares will vie in the 1 1/8-mile turf affair. #6 Nay Lady Nay, one of four in the cast of seven for Chad Brown, is not easy to figure out, but she could be of good value in this spot. Dark bay mare won the race in 2020, and though this is a tougher field, the five-year-old is much better than her fifth-place effort in the recent Eatontown S. (G3). Paco Lopez will ride the lightly raced lass.
Race 8 -- Monmouth Cup S.
I expect a big showing from #1 Bal Harbour for Sacco. Third in the race last season, the chestnut has won or placed in 7-of-8 tries on the oval, and he shows a pair of bullet morning drills since adding blinkers following a subpar seasonal debut. Gelding will receive a really good trip while stalking the action to the top of the lane from the rail. Flavien Prat taking the reins is a huge plus, as well.
Race 10 -- Molly Pitcher S.
Seven of the nine contenders in the 1 1/16-mile dirt test finished unplaced in their latest efforts, so I will side with the duo who ran well last time out.
I feel this is the perfect time for #5 Bank Sting to try both open company and two turns for Terranova. Central Banker filly is a question mark at the trip, but she is versatile and rolls in on a four-race win streak. The bay has improved her Brisnet Speed figures in three straight and will be forwardly placed from the break.
Winless since 2019, #1 Our Super Freak is hard to back with confidence in the top slot, but her last two outings were excellent and she fits well in the field. DeVaux pupil was a good second in the race in 2020, and I envision a similar type of result from her on Saturday.