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Racing at Sunland Park in January. 
Racing at Sunland Park in January. |Sunland Park
Thoroughbreds

Horse Racing: Garrity goes to the dry southwest, and finds -- rain

Races from Sunland Park, Turf Paradise and Delta Downs

Chris Garrity

It's a South by Southwest kind of day: we're going to focus on the cards today at Sunland Park, Turf Paradise, and Delta Downs. We like playing midweek cards from these tracks because of the reliability of the weather, as we can usually be reasonably sure, many hours prior to post, what the condition of the track is going to be. But that's not the case today: It's supposed to rain all over the southwest, especially in Phoenix. We are planning on wet tracks at Sunland and Turf Paradise, but fast dirt at Delta. Let's go.

Race 3 at Delta Downs in Louisiana (post time: 3:04 pm Eastern) is a 5 furlong, $10,000 maiden claimer on the dirt for 3-year-old fillies. There are some pretty slow horses in here, which is why we like a first-time starter, 5-Lil Ms Bossy Pants. This girl has had some good works in the morning, and they suggest that she has some speed. Her trainer, Glenn Delahoussaye, is hitting at a 57% clip with firsters this year, and this, coupled with the relative weakness of the rest of the field, makes her the pick. The bet: Delta Downs, Race 3, $15 to win on 5-Lil Ms Bossy Pants.

At Sunland, the 1st (post time: 2:50 pm Eastern) is a $7,500 claimer for older horses at 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt. Most of these horses have never run on an off track before -- that's how rare a rainy-day card is in Western New Mexico. That said, we like 7-Ghostly Who. This gray 4-year-old has early speed, the breeding to suggest he will relish the slop, and a trainer, Sherry Armstrong, who hits at a very high rate in this spot (44% win rate first off the claim). That all adds up to go: we'll take him at 5/2, and we'll hammer him in the early double with our pick (see below) in the 2nd race. The bets: Sunland Park, Race 1, $20 to win on 7-Ghostly Who; $10 double, 7-Ghostly Who with 7-Yep Yep Yep.

Race 2 at Sunland (post time: 3:16 pm Eastern) is a five-furlong dirt sprint for $8k maiden claiming 3-year-old fillies. We like 7-Yep Yep Yep: she has very nearly already graduated this level: She finished first an $8k claimer at Sunland on Feb. 19, but was disqualified and placed second. We think she would have a good chance to repeat under any conditions, but on a wet track, we move her up: She's out of a sire (Decarchy) whose offspring excel in the slop. We pick her to win at 5/2 odds. The bet: Sunland Park, Race 2, $20 to win on 7-Yep Yep Yep.

Out at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, we're going to use the rain, and more specifically the fact that these horses virtually never run on a wet track, to try to find a big price. This is the desert, remember, and a rainy-day card in Phoenix is exceedingly rare. We think we've found such a play: Race 6 (post time: 5:45 pm Eastern) is a $3,000 claimer for older horses at 6 1/2 furlongs on the dirt. Because of the rain, we move down several horses who would be logical contenders on a fast track: the 2-1 favorite, 1-Flying Mr K., is a good example of this: his fast-track form is good, but on a wet track, he's had 6 starts, and has zero wins and five out of the money finishes. He's a toss.

We like 6-Beach Mode: You have to go pretty far back to find it, but he's won in the slop: In May of last year, he won a $10,000 claimer in the slop at Assiniboia Downs in Manitoba. We do not think that was a fluke: his breeding moves him way up on off tracks. He's the pick, and we hope we get anywhere near his 10-1 morning line price. The bet: Turf Paradise, Race 6, $15 to win on 6-Beach Mode.

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