07/28/2010 12:48PM

Monty's Best plunges in class at Woodbine


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Friday’s seventh race at Woodbine, a competitive $32,000 claimer, contains several classy droppers who are a tricky read, including Monty’s Best, who sticks out like a sore thumb in the seven-furlong sprint.

Monty’s Best showed promise two years ago during the fall of his 2-year-old campaign, when he wound up second in the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs. After getting the following winter off, he came out loaded for bear in the spring and early summer of 2009, winning a first- and second-level allowance in consecutive starts.

Monty’s Best went to the sidelines for the second half of 2009, after ending up sixth in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer. Following an eight-month layoff, he finished fourth behind a trio of top sprinters – Hollywood Hit, Field Commission, and El Brujo – in the Jacques Cartier Stakes here on April 11.

Monty’s Best missed the board in each of his two most recent outings on the grass, including in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes on June 27. The steep class drop that he’s taking on Friday raises more than a few red flags, and he should be viewed as a vulnerable favorite.

Apprentice Omar Moreno will ride Monty’s Best for trainer Reade Baker.

The durable 9-year-old Salty Langfuhn, a 12-time winner in 46 outings, was favored when he returned from a 5 1/2-month break in a $50,000 claimer July 4, but could only manage fourth over a speed-favoring track. He hasn’t competed at this low a level since trainer Steve Asmussen claimed him for $32,000 in May 2008.

Luis Contreras, who won three races aboard Salty Langfuhn last year, has the mount.

Step On Up is the hottest runner in the 11-horse field. A five-time winner in 10 starts last year, Step On Up won his last two races in June, against $40,000 and $32,000 company. A wide-stalking trip over a track that had a rail bias didn’t hinder him too much last time, when he prevailed by a head and got an 80 Beyer Speed Figure, close to the Beyer par of 81 for this level.

Pure Attitude saved ground over an inside-favoring track when he toppled $25,000 opposition over seven furlongs on July 15.

Dumbledore was a prominent second in a quality route at this price July 1. The fifth- and eighth-place runners from that race both came back to win their next starts. Like Pure Attitude, he has an excellent seven-furlong record.