Piassek's Plays: Selections at Jersey Shore

Horses race in the stretch on opening day of the 2021 season at Monmouth Park. (Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

In his regular gambling blog, John Piassek presents his top picks for the upcoming weekend in horse racing, offering betting options at different budget levels. Piassek’s Plays is brought to you by Horseplayers.com, the official online qualifying site of the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). Horseplayers.com offers low-cost feeders every day and BCBC and NHC qualifiers every weekend, and it’s the only site where you can qualify for the $1 million BCBC. It’s free to sign up – click here to get information about registering and how to enter contests.

Piassek has contributed to the horse racing sites The Racing Biz and Danonymous Racing and worked at Tioga Downs, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga Race Course. He joined America’s Best Racing in January 2021.

Saturday, June 12

Monmouth Park, Race 8, Post Time 3:27 p.m. ET

weekend TV schedule

Friday, June 11: 12:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, June 12:
5 p.m.-8 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, June 13:
12:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

#8 Gallant Plunger: This first-level allowance optional claiming race at six furlongs on the dirt drew a field of eight. The heavy morning-line favorite at 3-2 odds is Acceptable Risk. He's making his first start for Todd Pletcher, off a sharp maiden special weight win on this track. However, that victory came last September, and he hasn't raced since then. It's possible he's just that much more talented than these that it won't matter, but I'm always willing to take a shot against a vulnerable heavy favorite.

Because of that, I'll try the second choice in the race, Gallant Plunger. He's shipping in from Lone Star Park for trainer Steve Asmussen. He was well-bet in his last start, going off at 9-10 odds in a first-level allowance at Lone Star. After a wide trip, he closed strongly in the stretch to get third, losing by just half a length. He won twice earlier in the year at Oaklawn Park, running big figures each time, and has some of the best late speed in the race. He's had a recent workout on this main track, which shows that he's had time to acclimate to his new surroundings. Look for him to rate toward the back of the pack early on and mow down his rivals in the stretch. 


$4 to win on 8

$3 exacta box: 3 with 8 ($6 total)


$5 to win on 8

$2 exacta key box: 8 with 3,4 ($8 total)

$1 trifecta: 3, 8 with 3,4,8 with 3,4,5,7,8 ($12 total)


$10 to win on 8

$4 exacta key box: 8 with 3,4 ($16 total)

$2 trifecta: 3, 8 with 3,4,8 with 3,4,5,7,8 ($24 total)

Monmouth Park, Race 11, Post Time 4:58 p.m. ET

#1 Freer: I'll take a lightly-raced horse in this field of maidens on the grass. This Todd Pletcher trainee was not highly-regarded for his debut. He went off at 18-1 in his first start, a maiden special weight race at Gulfstream Park in April. However, he outran his odds, holding on for second after setting a fast early pace. For his second start, he has a favorable inside post draw on a speed-favoring grass course, and adds Monmouth's leading jockey, Paco Lopez. I'm anticipating a gate-to-wire victory, as he takes a step forward under confident handling second time out.


$6 to win on 1

$2 exacta box: 1,5 ($4 total)


$9 to win on 1

$4 exacta key box: 1 with 3, 5 ($16 total)


$18 to win on 1

$8 exacta key box: 1 with 3,5 ($32 total)

newsletter sign-up

Stay up-to-date with the best from America's Best Racing!