Race Of The Week: Eatontown Stakes
Monmouth Park Race Features Vulnerable Favorite
By Derek Simon
Saturday’s card at Monmouth Park features three graded stakes races, including the Philip H. Iselin (G3) for three-year-olds and upward racing 1 1/16 miles on the main track, the Eatontown Stakes (G3), a 1 1/16-mile turf event for fillies and mares, and, of course, the biggie — the United Nations Handicap (G1).
Run as the 11th race on the card, the United Nations is a 1 3/8-mile turf test that has traditionally lured some of the top marathon grass runners in the country. Recent winners include World Approval, Big Blue Kitten (twice), Presious Passion (twice) and English Channel (twice).
This year, Bigger Picture will attempt to repeat his narrow victory in 2017 and his advanced age (7) would seem to be a plus. Over the past 30 years, 25 winners of the United Nation were five years old or older. In fact, the last sophomore to capture the Monmouth feature was Manila — in 1988, when the race was still 1 3/16 miles.
However, the race I chose as the Race of the Week is the Eatontown, largely because the likely favorite in that grass affair looks vulnerable to me, which means there should be some value elsewhere.