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Thoughts on Sunday

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Not much stakes action today as most tracks have pushed their top events to tomorrow's holiday.  

-Pretty chalky day for me yesterday as it seemed like every race I looked at was won by low priced horses.  That doesn't do much to help pad my bankroll. 

-According to the DRF/Equibase results charts, Monmouth handled $8.3 million yesterday.  I can't seem to find the article now, but before the meet began I recall one of the Monmouth officials stating that they hoped to double last year's daily handle, which would have put them in the $6 million per day range.  So far, in the early going, they seem to be exceeding those expectations.  

UPDATED 6/1: DRF.com ran an article today that quoted a former New Jersey Thoroughbred official who was instrumental in the re-organization of the Monmouth meet as saying that they hoped the track would hand $4.5 million a day this year.  Through the first five days of the meet Monmouth is averaging $8.6 million.

-It was nice to see Atta Boy Roy run a second strong race at Churchill Downs this spring, even if he didn't quite have enough to hold off Riley Tucker in deep stretch of the Aristides.  The Washington-bred will likely be pointed to the Breeders' Cup Sprint this fall after showing that he can hold his own against stakes quality competition.  The Sprint division, at least right now, doesn't look to be overflowing with quality, so it's as good a year as any for an Emerald horse to try and make a splash.

-Marcus Armytage of the Telegraph (UK), is finding the talk of picking a winner in this year's Group 1 Investec Derby (English Derby) ‘an impossible task', as he outlines in a column he wrote yesterday.

-I squeaked through day 3 in the Survival at the Shore contest at Monmouth Park.  Today's contest races are the 8th, 9th, and 10th on the card.

In the first leg, race 8, I'm going to take a shot with 5-Richie Rules (6/1).  He should like the class relief from his last effort at Gulfstream and he's shown he can run on or off of an early pace.  With a decent amount of speed in this spot he'd probably fare best if he were to sit back and let the leaders come back to him in the stretch.  The jock is ice cold at the meet (0-for-21), but we'll take a shot for the value.

The second leg, race 9, features a competitive field of ten going a mile on the lawn.  8-Sea Road (4/1) should be good enough to get into the top 3 and has a shot to grab the top spot if she can get the trip.  The only bad race of her career is her only non-dirt affair; a win today would make it four in a row for the Stanley Hough trainee.

I feel pretty god that one of my picks in the first two legs will at least finish in the top three and push be onto the next day.  As a result, I'm looking for a pure long shot play in the last leg and will play the 6-Ask the Moon (15/1).  This field doesn't have a tremendous amount of speed in it, and the scratch of the 7-Manitoba Miss should ensure that things stay sane on the front end.  Ask the Moon is severely outclassed by several in this field, but if she can gain a tactical advantage perhaps she can pull the surprise.  I don't like the long lay-off and I have a feeling she's going to Irun out of gas after about six furlongs, but I'm willing to take a shot in this spot.