The first set of 2-year-olds are set to go at Monmouth Park this Friday as the track plays host to a pair of maiden events, one for colts and geldings, the other for fillies.
The first set of youngsters will be the colts and geldings, who go in the day’s opener at 12:50 p.m. A field of seven is entered with Noble Dave, Follow the Rainbow and Bay Numbers perhaps the trio who standout most based on pedigree.
Noble Dave, who breaks from post two, is by High Cotton from the Songandaprayer mare Sing That Song, making him a half brother to 2012 Grade 3 Sapling winner Brave Dave, who was also trained by Eddie Plesa Jr. Noble Dave sports a trio of Monmouth Park works, including a bullet, in preparation for his debut Friday.
In terms of breeding, Follow the Rainbow, a New Jersey homebred from New Farm, certainly should like the track. A colt by Henny Hughes, Follow the Rainbow is out of Rainbow Pride, a stakes runner-up herself and the mother of Rainbow Heir, winner of the 2013 Grade 3 Jersey Shore and a pair of other stakes events over the Oceanport strip.
Morning-line favoritism at 2-1, however, belongs to Bay Numbers, who also goes for Eddie Plesa. Set to start in the colors of Live Oak Plantation, Bay Numbers sold for $180,000 earlier this year and is out of the stakes winning mare Zawzooth. The colt by Algorithms has the services of the meet’s top rider Paco Lopez.
Three races after the boys go, it’s the girl’s turn, with a field of nine entered.Once again, Eddie Plesa’s runners look like solid debuters as Show Me Mo and Misschief Maas have drawn the two outside posts.Show Me Mo, by Uncle Mo is out of a multiple stakes winner at four and five – Joyful Wager. The $115,000 purchase will go in the colors of Karl and Cathi Glassman with Lopez in the irons.
Just to her outside will be the Laurie Plesa color-bearer Misschief Maas, a daughter of Yes Its Legal from the Forest Camp mare Forest Retreat, who is the mother of Flay Mignon, last year’s Colleen winner on Monmouth turf.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out Nonna Mela, a $310,000 buy earlier this year. This daughter of Arch is from the Storm Cat mare Cool Storm, who sold at auction as a yearling for $1 million. Her dam is She’s a Winner, mother of 2009 Haskell winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up Bluegrass Cat.
The morning line favorite in the fillies event goes to the Kelly Breen trained Day by Day, runner-up in her debut at Gulfstream on April 28.There is no mistaking the resume that Monmouth Park maiden races have for jump-starting the careers of some talented horses. Since the 1960s, eight champions and a host of major stakes winners have gotten their start right here.
The champions who have come out of Monmouth maiden races include Tosmah (1963), Candy Éclair (1978), Lord Avie (1980), Open Mind (1988), Dehere (1993), Holy Bull (1994), Skip Away (a champion in 1996, 1997 and 1998), and Smoke Glacken (1996).
MONMOUTH SET FOR LARGEST HANDICAPPING CONTEST SATURDAY
Monmouth Park is set to host its largest handicapping contest ever with the $2,000 buy-in Pick Your Prize Handicapping Challenge this Saturday. A total of 140 entries have been received, representing 113 players from 24 different states as well as Canada and Puerto Rico.
“We are so pleased at the overwhelming buzz that this contest has generated,” said Brian Skirka, contest commissioner and marketing manager at the racetrack. “There’s $140,000 in total prizes, including 13 seats to the 2017 NHC and four to the BCBC.”
Players’ bankrolls will be divided into $1,000 for prizes and $1,000 for wagers, which must be made on Monmouth, Belmont and Churchill Downs races. There are guaranteed prize payouts to the top five finishers.
In addition, the top 20 will then “pick their prize” from the prize board, which will feature spots to the National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas (“NHC”), the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (“BCBC”) at Santa Anita and cash. The top four finishers will get two prizes each, while fifth through 20th will then select one apiece.
The 13 seats to the NHC is the most given away in any contest throughout country, other than the BCBC. The next most is 10, which is given away at Monmouth Park in the Aug. 13 $500 Super Qualifier.
Following Saturday’s “Pick Your Prize,” the following is a list of contests for the entire Monmouth season:
* Sunday, July 3 – $250 Monmouth/Woodbine contest. Top two finishers receive NHC seats with the winner also getting a $2,500 BCBC entry fee.
*Saturday, Aug. 13 – $500 Super Qualifier. NHC spots to the top 10.
*Saturday, Sept. 10 – $200 contest with top two finishers receiving NHC seats.
THREE-DAY RACING SCHEDULE RETURNS JUNE 3
Monmouth Park returns to a three-day racing schedule tomorrow Friday, June 3 and will continue all summer long through Labor Day. Monmouth will host live racing on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays with special Monday cards on Independence Day, July 4, and on Labor Day, Sept. 5. The highlight of the meet will once again be the $1 million betfair.com Haskell Invitational on July 31.
After Labor Day, racing then goes back to two days a week, Saturdays and Sundays, until closing day Sept. 25, after which turf racing will move to the Meadowlands for the month of October.