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

Thoroughbreds: It’s Tuesday, so Garrity is at Sunland Park and Will Rogers Downs in search of dry tracks and deep fields

Post times are 2:15 EDT and 2:50 EDT

Chris Garrity

We're back for another Tuesday in the world of horse racing, and that means we will take a look at the secondary tracks that take center stage when the major tracks take the day off. And there's a new shooter today: it's opening day at Indiana Grand in suburban Indianapolis, which offers Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing for those of us who like to indulge our degeneracy in a mixed-breed fashion. Because there's a new dirt surface at Indiana, we will not be playing any of these races yet, but we will be keeping an eye on the results there for future days.

We're looking, as we do on most midweek days, for deep fields and predictable weather, and today, we've found both at Sunland Park in New Mexico and Will Rogers Downs in Oklahoma. Both tracks should be dry, with the dirt fast. Let's go.

We'll start with the 1st at Sunland Park, a Maiden Special Weight race for New Mexico-breds 3 and up. Eight horses will go to the post at 2:50 pm Eastern to run a mile on dirt. We like 3-Biblical Character in here. This horse has not run a bad race in three starts, and his speed figures project him as the top contender. With a couple of stretch-out sprinters who figure to gun for the early lead, we think the shape of the race will set up for a mid-pack, stalking trip for Biblical Character. As a 3-year-old, he should still be improving.

There's another 3-year-old in here, 6-Catch Ten, who we do not like at all as a win pick -- in fact, we hate him -- but we like the fact that he's in the field, because his presence should ensure a decent price for us on Biblical Character. Catch Ten has hit the board in a few minor stakes races, and we think that will get him plenty of parimutuel support, but he's winless in six starts, he comes from a low-percentage barn (trainer Gary Cross is 4 for 57 on the year, a 7% win clip), and his speed figures are inferior to Biblical Character's. When this situation happens -- when a "class" horse gets bet running against a horse with superior figs -- then it's time to take advantage of the class suckers and bet the figs. We'll do that with  Biblical Character. We will bet him to win at 9/2. The bet: Sunland Park, Race 1, $25 to win on 3-Biblical Character.

Race 4 at Sunland is a conditioned allowance race at a mile on the dirt for horses 4 and up. Post time is 4:08 pm Eastern. One does not need to be a particularly skilled, nor particularly experienced, handicapper to identify the top two contenders in this race. They are 2-Percy Fawcett, who's 3-1 on the morning line; and 4-American Dubai, the 8/5 favorite. These two have speed figures that tower over the other runners in the field: the last three figs for each are (these are Beyer figs, which are proprietary to the Daily Racing Form) are 82-70-80 for Percy Fawcett, and 89-78-82 for American Dubai. The other runners have figs in the mid-50 to 70 range, which suggests these two horses have a significant edge in ability to the rest of the field. We'll play them back and forth in the exacta, and key American Dubai on top of Percy Fawcett in the trifecta. The bets: Sunland Park, Race 4: $10 Exacta Box, 2-4 ($20 ticket) and $1 trifecta, 4 with 2 with all, and 4 with all with 2 ($16 total).

The 9th at Sunland (post time: 6:18 pm Eastern) is a conditioned $5,000 claimer at 5 1/2 furlongs on the dirt for older New Mexico-breds. There's a standout here, and it's 5-Dani's Choice. This 4-year-old gelding checks all the boxes: good recent form, best last-out speed figure, and he comes from the high-percentage barn of Justin Evans, who's winning at nearly a 30% clip on the year. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Sunland Park, Race 9, $20 to win on 5-Dani's Choice.

Over at Will Rogers Downs, the 9th race (post time: 6:15 pm Eastern) is a first-level allowance race for fillies and mares 3 and up at 5 1/2 furlongs on the dirt. We like 5-Promissory Note here. She's coming off a brief layoff, making her first start since December, but she starts for the high-powered Karl Broberg barn, who wins at a high clip with horses in this spot (and a high rate overall). A repeat of her last race gets her the money here. We will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Will Rogers Downs, Race 9, $20 to win on 5-Promissory Note.

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

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