Handicapping a stakes race is rarely easy, and today is no exception. In fact, the Grade Three Matchmaker at Monmouth is as hard as it gets.
This nine-furlong grass race appears to be full of talented but inconsistent horses.
The 4-to-1 morning line favorite is C.S. Silk, and I don't think this horse has much of a chance to win. Despite a nice win in her last start, this Dale Romans horse doesn't appear to be fond of the nine-furlong distance.
Unbridled Essence appears to be in good form, with a fantastic second-place finish in her last start on May 30 in the Grade Three Violet. This five-year-old also has three wins in eight career starts over the Monmouth turf.
Cherokee Queen is the most experienced horse in this field, with 30 lifetime starts, including seven wins. This six-year-old was terrible in her last start, finishing 17 lengths behind C.S. Silk over a good turf at Belmont on June 11.
Marquet Madness appears to be the pace setter, along with C.S. Silk, and despite an impressive last start, I'm confident this horse will be a factor early. In her last start, the $77,000 Liberty, Marquet Madness, ran over a yielding turf and absolutely hated it. The track today is expected to be firm, and her recent form over firm turf courses has been solid.
The horse with the best recent form is Romacaca, who was scratched yesterday from the co-feature at Saratoga. This five-year-old has won her last four races, including her last race over the Monmouth turf. With 11 wins in 20 turf races, this is a horse that will stalk the early pace and be a stretch threat.
In the end, I don't think any of the already mentioned horses are going to win. In fact, I think the long shot 30-to-1 Dream Louise is the play here.
I really like the recent form of Romacaca and the stakes wins of C.S. Silk, but I really like how this race sets up for the closing Dream Louise.
Dream Louise is 2-for-2 over the turf at Monmouth and 2-for-3 at nine furlongs, so the four-year-old has proven herself capable.
The reason she's 30-to-1 is because this is a huge step up in class for her and she's coming right back after winning a nine-furlong race on July 16 in 1:47.2.
As the race hits the top of the stretch, I expect C.S. Silk will be struggling to hold off Romacaca as Marquet Madness begins to backup. Cherokee Queen will be right behind and Dream Louise will be flying in the middle of the track.
Dream Louise over Romacaca in 1:47.4