Monmouth Park Picks for June 13: Spotlight Race, Pegasus Stakes

Monmouth Park rides again on Sunday ... the featured Pegasus Stakes is on the menu. See who J.N. Campbell likes in that race and all the rest, below ...
Monmouth Park rides again on Sunday ... the featured Pegasus Stakes is on the menu. See who J.N. Campbell likes in that race and all the rest, below ...

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Monmouth Park, under the watchful eye of Darby Development, is seen as a path-breaking racetrack. Our turf-man has you set to go for the Pegasus Stakes and all the rest! Do not forget, a number of betting opportunities abound. At HorseRacing.net/us our experts have you covered from the dirt to the turf.

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Horse Racing Picks

SPOTLIGHT RACE: 1 1/16th (Dirt) Pegasus Stakes, $150k, 3

As Monmouth Park readies itself for the mid-July running of the Haskell Invitational (G1), the sanctioned prep for that fine race is here—the Pegasus Stakes. A $150k event, racing around this oval will test some former Derby Trail colts, and a few new shooters. Everyone is trying to make their mark. Though this is a short field of 5, some interesting angles surface.

Namely, the presence of Brad Cox’s Mandaloun #2 should make everyone sit up and take notice. After running through a highly-successful Louisiana Series, the colt arrived at the Kentucky Derby as the “second choice” out Brad Cox’s stable, behind Essential Quality. In the end of 147, the Into Mischief was pretty game down the lane, as Florent Geroux guided him to a 2nd place finish, just behind Medina Spirit. After a break, the Juddmonte homebred is back, as Cox gets him ready to target the Haskell. At 3/5, the connections deserve such a mark because, let’s face it, at some point this one is probably going to end up being the Derby Champ. With Baffert’s colt testing positive (2x), the legal wrangling might take years, but it probably should happen. When, is an entirely different question … For this race, the colt has a strong late-kick, excellent back class, and a set of works that look inviting.

If there is an alternative selection, I do not think it is Brooklyn Strong #1 or Weyburn #4, a pair of NYRA-based runners that tried the Derby Trail. The former actually drew in for 147 after numerous scratches, but finished in the last ¼ of the field. Not surprising … As for the latter, trainer Jerkens held him back after an unprecedented win in the Gotham (G3), and a 4th place finish in the Wood (G2). Based on his works, he could need one before we consider him a legit threat.

As for Lugamo #5, a colt out of Chitu for trainer Antonio Sano, I liked the idea of shipping this one to Dubai for the UAE Derby (G2). That was a bold move, and though he did not have the juice to keep up with Appleby’s Rebel’s Romance, who won, it was good to see the US-based conditioner give it the old international “college” try. I do not normally like backing runners who return from overseas on their “first-out,” but this could be one to use, especially if you think the Derby Trail entries are in the mood to fail.

For my money, while although I do not like the idea of taking Cox head-on, I think that a well-bred colt like Dr Jack #3 deserves more than a passing glance. Todd Pletcher is who he is … a HOF-bound conditioner who sends great products out to the track. Who doesn’t like a class riser? Here is a lightly-raced 3-yr-old who has a pair of wins. Breaking his maiden down at Gulfstream Park in early April, he arrived too late to try the meandering “Trail.” So, Pletcher decided to follow up that debut with a go at Pimlico in a OC62.5k event. It was an easy score against 8 others going a 1 1/16th on the MT. Having Paco Lopez ride at Monmouth should be a boon, and I like the tasty price of 5/1. These Pioneerof the Nile types are super strong, and you might be witnessing the ascendancy of a possible divisional leader. That is a brash statement, but this is Pletcher we are speaking of … isn’t it?

Here is how I would construct a wager based on what we are facing in this contest …

Wager Recommendation: $100 Win, #3 and/or $2 Trifecta Wheel, 3 w 2 w 1/4/5

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