Monmouth Picks & Spotlight Race for June 20: Grade III Eatontown S.

The Eatontown Stakes (G3) brings together a strong field with some classy barns strutting their stuff at Monmouth Park. Graham Motion's runner should be game ... have a look to see what his chances are like in the below piece.
The Eatontown Stakes (G3) brings together a strong field with some classy barns strutting their stuff at Monmouth Park. Graham Motion's runner should be game ... have a look to see what his chances are like in the below piece.

Sunday's card at Monmouth Park includes a robust slate of 12 races, and you should know that some of these field sizes are massive by North American standards. As usual, our turf-man has you covered, including a "spotlight" of the "feature" of the day, the Grade III Eatontown Stakes!

If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country on Sunday, be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.

Horse Racing Picks

Spotlight - Race 11: 1 1/16th (Turf) Eatontown Stakes (G3), $150k, F&M 3+

A robust field has assembled for this edition of the Eatontown S., and in the past this race has seen its share of nice winners. Last year’s victor, Valiance for Todd Pletcher, ended up moving back to the dirt, and was pretty smart in both the Spinster (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Keeneland. A Monmouth go like this one can serve as a bridge to further greatness. There are so many choices afoot ... With a bevy of celebrated trainers present, including Christophe Clement, Tom Proctor, Chad Brown, Mike Stidham, Saffie Joseph, Graham Motion, and Shug McGaughey, among others, it going to be quite a tussle. 

When it comes to turf racing in America, none of these trainers maintain as large a reach as Brown does. He sends Nay Lady Nay #6 into the Eatontown after a 4th place finish in the Beaugay S. (G3) at Belmont in early May. The layoff was a challenge, so it was understandable that the newly-minted mare might not be automatic. She can be dangerous here, as Dylan Davis gets the call.

The other stablemate is Counterparty Risk #4, who is owned by the powerful Klaravich Stables. This filly’s best came at Tampa back in February when she won the Endeavour (G3). She tried to “graduate” in the Hillsborough (G2), but it didn’t take. Off a poor start in a “Non-G” at Aqueduct in April, it is unknown how she will respond here.

I want to use Brown’s best entry (#6) and the “KS” entry (#4). However, I am thinking that both are still untrustworthy at the stakes level, at least to use on top. The honor of the zenith goes to the venerable Micheline #5 from the Stidham operation. Her psyche continues to be a topic of discussion as the Godolphin filly travels with her own portable stall. Remember, she cannot be enclosed in a stall; she needs breathable space and open skies. The turf running ability she exhibited last time in the Jenny Wiley (G1) was a miss, as the filly finished dead last. Stidham knows that she is better than that. Coming back from a major loss makes for a great betting opportunity. Maybe Mychel Sanchez can utilize his grass riding ability when it counts!

Adding in a couple of others should do the trick … Let’s consider Saffie Joseph’s Sweet Bye and Bye #9 and also Graham Motion’s Crystal Cliffs #10. The former out of Sky Mesa was sharp at Gulfstream Park, Joseph’s winter base … Trusting her might be a good idea, especially since she is coming in hot. As for Motion, he sends an Irish bred, owned by Madaket Stables, to Monmouth in hopes that the 4-yr-old can improve on a “just miss” at Pimlico in the Dahlia 100k. She lost by just a nose.

Using all of these runners in a horizontal wager makes a ton of sense. Let’s roll the dice in what promises to be a very tough race to handicap.

Wager Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 4/5/6/9/10

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