1 mile (dirt), Salvatore Mile Stakes (G3), $150,000 wallet, 3+
It will get really hot on Saturday in Monmouth Park, as their class schedule turns into high gear. With riding restrictions in place, and the Knights Colony in flux, it will be interesting to see how the situation develops. Haskell’s call isn’t until next month, but there will be a lot of work. The Salvator Mile S. is a third class competition on the main track, and it brings together a strong group of runners. Previous winners have included: Itsmyluckyday, Bradester, Classy Class, Page McKenney, Sunny Ridge and last year’s champion, Pirate’s Punch. This defender is back again, trying to come back for the first time since 2001-2002 in this race. The good time must be impressive!
Now, let’s get acquainted with this area…
Gallery #1 (Jky: P. Morales / Trn: D. Bennett):
Bennett Barn sends this rookie “non-G” attendee into a tough spot. Sure, Pimlico’s testicle won the last time in the OC50 in the downhill, but I wouldn’t say a 7-length win makes me stand up and take notice. Coming from Laurel Park after being under Claudio Gonzalez’s eye, Jump Start’s son will have to keep improving. I love one that’s in the class, for sure. However, I don’t think the timing of this race might not be right.
Grade: C +
#2 West Will Power (Jky: N. Juarez/Trn: K. Breen):
Here’s a local breed of Gary and Mary West that has some upside when it comes to running against the mighty OC in both Gulfstream Park and Keeneland. I prefer the last effort because that was an impressive effort. Colt Bernardini showed tremendous speed on his way to a 9+ length victory. If he can replicate that early effort, Kelly Brin may be on his way to visit the winner’s circuit. Looking at rider Nick Juarez’s stats, he’s been riding really well lately. Not bad to include…
#3 Bal Harbor (Jky: M. Sanchez / Trn: G. Sacco):
Greg Sacco has a runner being pulled off the bench here, and we haven’t seen his first samurai exit since last November at Laurel. He’s a graduate in this race, and finished third, only 2 behind pirate punch #10. It’s hard to believe he could come off the bench and score against others with higher levels of fitness.
#4 Green Light Joe (Jky: D. Davis/Trn: J. Hollendorfer):
Over the past few years, Jerry Hollendorfer’s costume has been a moving target. His name got dirty in California, which forced him to try other tracks. I’m not sure he deserved such accusations. I wish him the best is in order. This capable Hard Spun runner came from Jim Jerkens Keep, and once Hollendorfer got him aboard, he sent him to Oaklawn for some tough competition in Arkansas. Over 3 times the biggest colt was running against some of the toughest ones like the Special Reserve, Rated R Superstar and the mighty Silver State. Not too shabby, to say the least… Coming to Monmouth might just be the ticket, the real plus being getting Dylan Davis to ride. Choosing a sleeper…
#5 Informative (Jky: J. Ferrer / Trn: U. St. Lewis):
This is one of the long shots to draw. Urey St. Louis will try to test the “graded” waters. It will be deep. In 5 attempts so far in 2021, this colt is jumping from Bodemeister to the company out of the depth. At this point, just hitting the board would be very difficult. If anyone can succeed, it is Jose Ferrer. He’s a rider who rides well in these vulnerable spots. You never know… It’s a horse race.
#6 Croatian (Jky: H. Diaz/Trn: J. Hollendorfer):
The “other” entrant at Hollendorfer has some strengths, but most caper makers will see fourth-place finish last time out at Oaklawn Park as a dark mark. That was a super enemy on dirt at 5 degrees Fahrenheit at an OC 80k. You must understand that OP contests like this are near G3 events in many cases. The caliber is high, which means that this eunuch is almost immediately worth making the leap. Hector Diaz had a nice tour of Tampa, and he might be able to translate some of that to Monmouth. Long shot for sure…
#7 NY Traffic (Jky: P. Lopez / Trn: S. Joseph):
The leader in this competition is star coach Saffie Joseph, who made some hearts beat faster last summer. Against the authentic in Haskell (G1), the colt just miscalculated to catch him in the wire. Critics have made it loud on him because it’s hard to find a late kick on the dirt. Although he ultimately failed at the end of the “Classic” Trail season, he could still be a major player in the division. This is one of those types that can end up in British Columbia in Del Mar. You never know how it will end. It looks like Joseph is driving Paco Lopez for a ride… he can definitely provide some stability.
#8 Basin (Jky: A. Jimenez / Trn: T. Pletcher):
A very strong runner When he was 3 years old, this former runner Steve Asmussen came to Todd Bletcher a little over a year ago. In Amsterdam (G2) in Saratoga, he was playing, and finished second in Yaupon. His debut in 2021 was excellent, but then, at Churchill Downs (G1) on the Derby bottom card, he left many people confused. Perhaps running against the likes of Flagstaff, Lexitonian, and Whitmore was too much? It would have been just a day out…humans, as well as thoroughbred horses. Bleacher is the third of its kind, so at 8/1, this son of Liam’s Map is my price game. Although Albin Jimenez doesn’t have many attempts on the jersey track, he’ll be priced more than a square at 8/1.
#9 War Stopper (Jky: R. Silvera / Trn: T. Pletcher):
Pletcher is not done when it comes to entries. He has this colt from Declaration of War ready after he ran a fourth distance away in the Ghostzapper (G3) to win the Eye of a Jedi. Perhaps he can return to Monmouth. It won’t be easy as Robin Silvera takes the podium for the first time. His physique shouldn’t be a huge issue, but he’s probably out of depth here.
Grade: C +
#10 Pirate’s Punch (Jky: R. Albarado / Trn: G. Forster):
The Salvator (G3) movie star returned last September. Coach Grant Forster certainly enjoyed the view from the winner’s circle. His short priced router was 2/1 after all, so it was a bit of a take for granted. Working as the underdog on the BC Dirt Mile at 26/1 was like being Cinderella on the ball. Although he finished last, it was still just a great moment on the international stage. How good is this one from Shanghai Bobby? Forster hopes he can build some momentum early in the summer. Nothing beats running in the middle of the season, with jockey Ruby Albarado running the engine.
Join us on Saturday for all of Monmouth’s picks! It should be a great racing collection from “The Shore!”