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Thoroughbreds

Horse Racing: Garrity heads to Sunland and Turf Paradise

It’s a slow Tuesday with most tracks closed, but Garrity still found some worthwhile races

Chris Garrity

Tuesdays are normally a pretty quiet day in the horse world, but today is even quieter than usual, as many of the tracks that are normally dark on Mondays ran yesterday because of the President's Day holiday. But we'll head back to our Tuesday standbys, Sunland Park in New Mexico and Turf Paradise in Phoenix: they are open for business, and we're going to take them up on it.

The 2nd at Sunland is a pretty good race: it's an allowance race, a dirt sprint at six and a half furlongs for horses three and up. That last bit is worth paying attention to, as only in the past week have races for older horses been reclassified from "4 and up" to "3 and up." This means that three-year-olds, who at this point in the year are like teenagers, can compete against the grizzled old veterans.

We mention this because we like a three-year-old here: 3-Knox Court, is a very well-bred (by Hard Spun, out of a Candy Ride mare) colt who seems to be improving. He's up against some salty and seasoned competition, including 3-1 morning line favorite, 7-Black Ops, but he gets a break in weight, and we think he just may be good enough to beat his elders. We'll bet $15 to win on Knox Court, and also play him in a $5 exacta box with Black Ops; that's a 3-7 ticket.

We're taking a stab in the 3rd at Sunland: this is a five-furlong $8k maiden claiming dirt sprint for three-year-old fillies. This is a weak field, filled with slow horses, so we're going with a first-time starter, 9-Southwestern Spice. She's by Southwestern Heat, who was a speedy horse himself (and whose dam was the all-time great sprinter Xtra Heat), and she's handled by a trainer, Jose Gonzalez, who has shown skill at getting first-time starters to fire. We'll take her at 8-1, and bet $10 on her to win.

At Turf Paradise, we'll take a look at the two turf races on the card, the 4th and the 7th. The 4th is a mile for conditioned, $8,500 claimer for older males (4 and up). We like 5-Big Hunk: this horse came to Turf Paradise after a summer campaign at Canterbury Park in Minnesota; his first race in Phoenix was rained off the turf, and he ran poorly. But we think he wakes up on grass, and we'll take a stab at him at 7/2. We'll bet $10 to win on Big Hunk.

The 7th is a one-mile optional-claimer for older males. We like 2-Playoff Bound: he's been knocking on the door at this level, and catches a field he can finally beat. He should rate mid-pack, take the lead at the top of the stretch, and hold off the late runners. We'll take him at 8/5, and bet $20 on him to win.

That's all for today. Good luck at the windows.