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Tricky Escape edged Mom's On Strike to win the featured Ramsey Farm on closing day 2018 at Kentucky Downs.
Tricky Escape edged Mom's On Strike to win the featured Ramsey Farm on closing day 2018 at Kentucky Downs.|Kentuckydowns.com/ Reed Palmer Photography
Thoroughbreds

Thoroughbred Thursday: Garrity picks horses at Kentucky Downs and Belmont Park

Chris Garrity

We're are going, by way of the magic of simulcasting, to Kentucky Downs and Belmont Park today. Belmont has a pretty good Thursday card, and Kentucky Downs continues their run of slots-fueled races, running a couple of $500,000 stakes today. Though the weather forecast in both places is iffy, we've handicapped for fast dirt and firm turf, and we'll pray that the rain holds off until after the racing. Let's go.

Kentucky Downs, Race 6, 3:50 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 7 furlongs, turf, 3 & up

Big fields are the norm during the brief meeting at Kentucky Downs, and this race is no exception: twelve go in this tough second-level allowance/optional claimer. There's a lot of speed here, so we're looking for an off-the-pace runner, and the one who fits that profile, and the conditions of the race, best is 10-Hierarchy. Look for this runner from the Joe Sharp barn to sit well off the pace, and to be flying late. We will bet him to win at 6-1. The bet: Kentucky Downs, Race 6, $25 to win on 10-Hierarchy.

Kentucky Downs, Race 8, 4:53 pm ET

$500,000 Ramsey Farm Stakes, 1 5/16 miles, turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & up

Look for a very, very slow pace in this race: there's very little early speed in here. Moreover, Kentucky Downs has been kind to horses on or near the lead: while we think the recent social media scuttlebutt about a track bias is overblown, the recent results have been tilted toward horses in the first flight, at the expense of deep closers. With glacial fractions likely in the Ramsey Farm, we're going with a huge price, and the horse we think will set the pace: 7-Coco Chanel. This 5-year-old daughter of English Channel has not won in a while, but we are going to take a shot that she can get brave on the lead. We get a huge price -- she's 20-1 on the morning line, and her post-time odds may be even higher -- so we are going to bet her to win and to place. She should have the lead at the top of the stretch; we'll be yelling for her to hold onto it down the stretch. The bet: Kentucky Downs, Race 8, $15 to win/place on 7-Coco Chanel.

Kentucky Downs, Race 9, 5:25 pm ET

Grade 3 Nevada State Bank Franklin-Simpson Stakes, 6 1/2 furlongs, turf, 3-year-olds

A full field of 12 drew into the day's lone graded stakes. We didn't have to look very far to find the pick here: it's 1-Archidust, who breaks from the rail. This Jorge Navarro trainee has won three in a row, including stakes at Saratoga and Monmouth, and his stalking running style is a perfect fit for the way the turf course at Kentucky Downs is playing. We expect him to stalk the leaders from the inside, take over at the top of the stretch, and win going away. When you have the best horse, and the way the track is playing will favor him, you're supposed to bet -- and we will. We will bet Archidust to win at 2-1. The bet: Kentucky Downs, Race 9, $40 to win on 1-Archidust.

Belmont Park, Race 5, 5:08 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 1/2 furlongs, dirt, New York-breds 3 & up

Eight go in this one. It's an interesting group of state-bred veterans, and on paper, the field looks pretty evenly matched. We like 7-Zonic in this spot. We think there's going to be a hot pace in this one, and this 5-year-old son of Ghostzapper is by far the strongest closer. Look for him to sit toward the back of the pack early, and then make a big move at the top of the stretch. We will bet him to win at 9/2. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 5, $25 to win on 7-Zonic.

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

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