Timeform's US expert Mark Milligan picks out four of his best bets from Monmouth Park's Opening Day on Saturday.
"...This is a welcome drop in class and he is fancied to take full advantage..."
Monmouth Park, situated on the Jersey Shore, gets its season underway on Saturday, the meeting highlighted by the 50th running of the betfair.com Haskell Invitational in late July. The roll of past winners of the Haskell reads like a who's who of American racing: American Pharoah, Holy Bull, Point Given, Rachel Alexandra, and Skip Away, to name but a few.
The top-class turf horses also get their chance to shine earlier in the month in the United Nations Stakes, won in recent times by the likes of Main Sequence and English Channel. While the opening day is relatively low-key compared to what is to follow, there is some competitive action, and hopefully a few bets to be had.
Win back #7 Model Citizen in Race 2 (18:16 BST)
In what looks a two-horse race on paper, Model Citizen is taken to get the better of main rival and Morning Line favourite, One Sided. With a pace advantage over the latter, there is every chance that Model Citizen can control this from the front, and he could be long gone by the time One Sided hits top gear. Hail Cepheus looks best of the rest.
Win back #9 Here's to Mike in Race 8 (21:23 BST)
An open-looking turf claimer, with the returning Here's to Mike possessing as good a chance as any. A winner at Gulfstream Park when last seen 120 days ago, Here's to Mike has won off a layoff before so his absence isn't too much of a concern. Main danger Unbridled Ocean has been running well in some strong contests in New York, while Boss Man hasn't been seen much of late but is capable on his day.
Win back #2 Ostrolenka in Race 9 (21:53 BST)
Trainer David Jacobson's raiders to the Jersey Shore are always to be respected, and he can take this allowance optional claimer with Ostrolenka. Seventh in a strong-looking non-graded stakes contest at Belmont last time, Ostrolenka had finished third in optional claiming company prior to that, recording a smart TimeformUS speed figure in the process. He can get the better of Defer Heaven, with Gambler's Ghost also entering calculations.
Win back #3 Rainbow Heir in Race 10 (22:23 BST)
The main event on Saturday's card, this $50k five-furlong turf stakes race features last year's winner Rainbow Heir, who has secured a good draw in stall 3. A winner in similar company at Gulfstream Park West in November, Rainbow Heir was just touched off by the smart Power Alert at Gulfstream's premier track after that, before finishing down the field in G2 company at Keeneland last time. This is a welcome drop in class and he is fancied to take full advantage.