Pick Your Horses with Monzo

Saturday, June 12

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Author: Brian Monzo

How much fun was last weekend in New York for the Belmont Stakes and the outstanding undercard?

There was much debate on social media about who ran the better Belmont, Hot Rod Charlie or the winner, Essential Quality. My take is that is that while Hot Rod Charlie ran a dominant race, if Essential Quality didn't have the ability to catch up to the cruising Charlie at the top of the stretch, Charlie would have run away with the race. For Luis Saez to know he could push Essential Quality earlier than he wanted to, tells me how much horse Saez knew he had. I think both horses both ran ridiculously good races. Essential Quality was better. Just my opinion.

How great was Casa Creed in the Jaipur? I spoke to both owners of the horse after the race, and they were thrilled with his performance. How could you not be?

Let’s get into the races this weekend...

Stakes action returns this Saturday at Belmont Park, Churchill Downs & Monmouth Park with the Dancin Renee Stakes at Belmont, the Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes at Churchill, and the Salvator Mile Stakes at Monmouth. Play Saturday's best racing for a $15 bonus. Here's how: Bet at least $50 each on Belmont Park, Churchill Downs & Monmouth Park, and get a $15 bonus… win or lose! New to NYRA Bets? No problem! Sign up today with promo code Monzo200 to earn a $200 sign up bonus! Start playing today at NYRABets.com or download the NYRA Bets app. Available nationwide.

Dancin Renee - Belmont Park - Race 8 - 4:40PM ET

We will start local and look at the Dancin Renee Stakes here at Belmont Park, run at 6 Furlongs on the dirt and start working on that $15 bonus. Let’s start with $50 on Espresso Shot.

A solid field here in which the inside runners all offer a good amount of speed, including Sadie Lady and Ruvies in Time. Fierce Lady draws the rail with Luis Saez on board, and if the jock's orders are to be on the lead, that’s where she is going. I do think all three horses are super-fast, especially Sadie Lady. However, I am hoping for a speed duel for the lead, allowing the outside runner, Espresso Shot a chance to wear down the speed late, getting up for victory for trainer Jorge Abreu. To me, these races are where rider Javier Castellano is best, and I think it sets up perfectly for Espresso Shot. Sadie Lady is too good to leave off tickets, and another horse that could pick up a piece late is Eloquent Speaker, who will be sitting off the pace, and loves this distance and track.

Espresso Shot 7/2
Sadie Lady 2/1
Eloquent Speaker 10/1

Salvator Mile - Monmouth Park - Race 10 - 4:28PM ET

Next, we head to Monmouth Park for the first time on the SSG, and give a glance to the Salvator Mile, as we continue to work our way to the $15 bonus offered by the good people at NYRA Bets.

I predict that NY Traffic is going to be very difficult to hold off here. This is the perfect horse, running at the perfect track with the perfect rider. You have a fast horse, with an aggressive rider in Paco Lopez at a track where being close to the lead is a good thing. I think we will be looking at a race where Green Light Go and NY Traffic are well ahead of most for the majority, and NY Traffic pulls away to win by open lengths. NY Traffic ran at Monmouth in the Haskell last year and just missed beating the eventual Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup Classic winner Authentic who just got his nose down at the wire. There is not an Authentic in this race, and I think a mile suits NY Traffic exactly right. Hard to leave Pirate’s Punch off the ticket, who has had success at this track and this race, but who I think is a level below the top two horses. We also get the talented Basin here, but my thought is his style won’t benefit his cause here.

NY Traffic 9/5
Green Light Go 8/1
Pirate’s Punch 5/1

Mint Julep Stakes - Churchill Downs - Race 9 - 10:11PM ET

Finally, this week we close out with Grade 3 Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes at Churchill Downs, run at 1 1/16 miles on the grass.

This race has one of my favorites, and that’s Juliet Foxtrot. She is certainly a versatile runner, and she has more than one game, but I think they are going to try and get her on the lead here. With Sister Hanan and Crystal Ball (if she runs) both on her outside, I could be a scenario where rider Tyler Gaffalione hits the gas and never looks back. Unfortunately, she isn’t going to be much of a price, so we have to find a price underneath. I am going to use Mintd, who draws the rail and I think will be sitting just off the leaders and can come flying late. The other runner I am interested in is Henry Woods for Mark Casse, who returned from a layoff to win on this track last month and should get a good trip with Florent Geroux aboard.

Juliet Foxtrot 6/5
Mintd 12/1
Henry Woods 6/1

Follow me on Twitter all weekend for picks, as well as all the great promotions here on NYRA Bets! We still have great racing at Belmont before heading up to Saratoga so make sure to click back every week for picks, thoughts and fun!

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