An intriguing combination of proven milers and newer faces will meet on Saturday, June 12 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey for the Grade 3 Salvator Mile. One of the most historic horse races of the entire Monmouth Park meet, the 2021 edition of the Salvator Mile drew a field of ten horses, aged four and up, to battle for a purse of $150,000.
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History of the Salvator Mile
This year marks the 74th running of the Salvator Mile. The race is named after Hall of Fame inductee Salvator, who debuted at Monmouth Park in 1888 and won 16 of his 19 starts. Named horse of the year in both 1889 and 1890, he is best remembered today as the subject of a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox about his 1890 match race with Tenny, called How Salvator Won.
Some of the best Salvator Mile winners in history include 1965 Preakness winner and Champion Three-Year-Old Tom Rolfe (1966), two-time leading North American sire Smart Strike (1996), prominent sire and broodmare sire Distorted Humor (1997), and Flower Alley (2006), a Distorted Humor son who sired 2012 Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another.
Salvator Mile Horses and Odds
This is the official field for the 2021 Salvator Mile. This includes post positions for each horse, as well as their trainers and jockeys.
- Galerio: Dale Bennett/Pablo Morales
- West Will Power: Kelly Breen/Nik Juarez
- Bal Harbour: Gregory Sacco/Mychel Sanchez
- Green Light Go: Jerry Hollendorfer/Dylan Davis
- Informative: Uriah St. Lewis/Jose Ferrer
- Croatian: Jerry Hollendorfer/Hector Diaz, Jr.
- Ny Traffic: Saffie Joseph, Jr./Paco Lopez
- Basin: Todd Pletcher/Albin Jimenez
- War Stopper: Todd Pletcher/Ruben Silvera
- Pirate’s Punch: Grant Forster/Robby Albarado
Free Salvator Mile Picks
Let’s learn a little about how the Monmouth Park meet looks so far, and then find out who the top contenders are in the Salvator Mile!
Monmouth Park Notes
There was a lot of buzz going into this year’s Monmouth Park meet due to the new whip rules. Riders have not been allowed to use the crop in races except if absolutely necessary for racetrack safety. Several riders, including Monmouth regular “Jersey Joe” Bravo, have opted not to ride there. Though, many of the regulars are back and riding well at the meet.
The current leading rider at Monmouth is veteran jockey Jose Ferrer, who takes the call on likely longshot Informative. Other top Monmouth riders who will be riding in the Salvator Mile include second-place Nik Juarez, who rides the up-and-coming West Will Power, and fourth-place Paco Lopez, who takes the call on Ny Traffic.
Among local trainers, the most successful local trainer to have a horse in the Salvator Mile is Kelly Breen. He enters the racing week tied for the lead in the jockey standings. He sends out West Will Power in the Salvator Mile.
Salvator Mile Handicapping
Pirate’s Punch shined at Monmouth last year, winning this race and crossing the wire first in the Iselin (G3) before being disqualified for drifting late. The two-turn mile suits him very well, this is a class drop from his last race in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, and he has been able to run well off a lay. He can also get a good clean trip, with tactical speed from the outside.
He will have plenty of speed to stalk. Galerio will probably have to send from the inside, Green Light Go and Ny Traffic do their best when they step on the gas early, and War Stopper often shows sharp early foot as well.
Among that speed brigade Ny Traffic seems most dangerous, between the sharp return at Belmont and the wonderfully gritty second he ran in the Haskell (G1) at Monmouth Park last year. He also has the added advantage of being able to run a very good race even if he has to sit just off the early pace. He also enjoys the riding services of strong local rider Paco Lopez.
West Will Power makes his stakes debut. He won both of his races at Monmouth last year, so he clearly likes the course, and has proven time and again that he can pass horses. An allowance win at Keeneland in April shows he is in good form this year, and with top local connections in his corner it would be no surprise to see him make the grade.
A couple of others are interesting for the underneath shares. Bal Harbour finished third in four Grade 3 races at Monmouth Park last year; though he has not won a race in two and a half years he reliably chases on for a share at this level. Croatian gets a class test in this but he has done his best racing at Monmouth and should be able to benefit from a snappy pace in front of him.
Salvator Mile Best Bets
Here are the best bets to make on the 2021 Salvator Mile.
- $20 Win: Pirate’s Punch
- $1 Exacta Box: Pirate’s Punch, West Will Power, Ny Traffic
- $1 Trifecta Key: Pirate’s Punch with West Will Power, Ny Traffic, Bal Harbour
- $0.50 Superfecta Key: Pirate’s Punch with West Will Power, Ny Traffic, Bal Harbour, Croatian