Racing at Lone Star Park
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Thoroughbreds

Friday at the tracks: Garrity picks races at Churchill Downs, Gulfstream Park, Lone Star Park, and Santa Anita Park

We expect fast dirt and firm turf for all six races — first post is at 4:40 pm EDT.

Chris Garrity

Lone Star Park in suburban Dallas reopens today, and for the first time in what feels like forever, the day’s lineup of races is stacked: there are playable cards in Kentucky, California, and Florida. We’ve selected six of them, all of which go off in a few hours’ time, during a cocktail-friendly window in late afternoon and early evening. We expect fast dirt and firm turf for all six, so let’s go.

Churchill Downs, Race 8, 4:40 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies

A full field of twelve goes to the starting gate in this first-level allowance dirt sprint for sophomore fillies. Two of them look like stakes horses, and maybe even future stars: 5-Center Aisle, who’s trained by Chad Brown, was purchased for $1.5 million as a 2-year-old last year, and won her debut at Gulfstream Park on March 29 in very impressive fashion; 6-Casual, who starts for Steve Asmussen, also has one career start, and it was a very impressive win, besting a tough field of maidens at Oaklawn Park on April 11. Both fillies earned very good speed figures for these wins, and the sky appears to be the limit for both of them.

With both likely to be a short price, we are going to look elsewhere for a winner, and it is to 7-Nayibeth, who starts for Wesley Ward. She also won her career debut, at Keeneland in the spring of 2019, and Ward thought highly enough of her abilities that he sent her to the Royal Ascot meeting last June, which is merely the most prestigious race meeting on the planet. Nayibeth ran a disappointing thirteenth in the Albany Stakes at Ascot and went on the shelf after that.

She made her 2020 debut on the synthetic track at Turfway Park on March 6, but today returns to conventional dirt for the first time since her first career start. We think she will improve on it, and at 10-1, we think she’s a real threat to beat the two favorites. We will bet her to win. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 8, $35 to win on 7-Nayibeth.

Gulfstream Park, Race 9, 4:52 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, Florida-breds 3 & Up

This first-level allowance for state-breds drew a field of eight. We like 1-Wild Medagliad’oro, who starts for trainer Mark Casse. He looked like a turf horse last year, finishing a good third in a grass sprint at Aqueduct in April, and winning a maiden race at Belmont Park, at a mile and a sixteenth, in May. He was rested after that, presumably because of injury, and returned to the races at Gulfstream on April 26.

That race was originally scheduled for the turf, but was rained onto the main track, and Wild Medagliad’oro ran very well in the slop, finishing an excellent second. Casse evidently liked what he saw that day, because he’s entered here, on conventional dirt, rather than in another turf race. He’s about as well-bred a horse as you’ll see, by Medaglia d’Oro out of a Distorted Humor mare, and based on that pedigree, we think the gray 4-year-old will thrive going around two turns on dirt. We will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 9, $30 to win on 1-Wild Medagliad’oro.

Churchill Downs, Race 9, 5:12 pm

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 mile, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

This very tough non-winners of three allowance drew a field of ten. 9-Malakeh is a strong play, as she looks to be a cut above the other entrants. She’s an English-bred 5-year-old mare who has run nine times, all on turf, five in Europe and four in the U.S, and she’s never run a bad race, hitting the board in eight of the nine. She comes into today’s race fresh, having last run at Saratoga in August, but she looks ready to fire off the bench. She has decent early speed and a powerful late kick; these two things together are lethal on the turf. Look for her to sit mid-pack, and to earn a trip to the winner’s circle with a move at the top of the stretch. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 9, $40 to win on 9-Malakeh.

Lone Star Park, Race 4, 5:35 pm

Allowance, 1 mile, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

Eight line up for this allowance for 3-year-olds. 5-Top Draw is a strong play: he comes into this race after running, and running well, in a couple of stakes races at Sunland Park. Those two races were his first around turns, and they were the best races of his life; we think he’s going to find the two-turn mile distance of this race very much to his liking. Look for him to press the pace and put the field away in mid-stretch. We will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Lone Star Park, Race 4, $35 to win on 5-Top Draw.

Santa Anita Park, Race 5, 5:37 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 mile, Turf, 3 & Up

This mile turf second-level allowance drew a tough field of eight. These runners all look capable, but we like the entrant who looks to have the most upside to us, and that is 1-Odysseus. Trained by Richard Mandella, he’s a lightly-raced 4-year-old son of Candy Ride who looks to be a budding star: he’s run twice, he’s won twice, and he’s improved in both. Further improvement by him here, which we expect, means the rest of the field is running for second money. Look for him to get a pace-pressing trip from his rail post, move to the front at the top of the stretch, spurt clear, and hold off the closers. We expect Odysseus to win today, and to see him in a stakes race next out. We will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Santa Anita Park, Race 5, $40 to win on 1-Odysseus.

Santa Anita Park, Race 8, 7:11 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 mile, Dirt, 3 & Up

Eleven go in this first-level allowance race at a mile on the dirt. We’re going with another Richard Mandella runner here, 7-Tizmagician. He’s a 3-year-old of Tiznow who was winless in five starts as a juvenile, burning a lot of money in the process, as he was favored in a couple of them. Mandella handled him patiently, as he handles all horses he trains, and was rewarded when Tizmagician broke his maiden on New Year’s Day at Santa Anita. He was good enough in that maiden race for Mandella to jump him to graded stakes company, the Robert Lewis on February 1, where he finished a close fourth to Thousand Words. He comes into this race laid off since the Lewis, but what we like about this colt is that he has slowly but steadily improved in his seven career starts, and we think he’s going to take another step forward today. That will earn him a trip to the Santa Anita winner’s circle; we will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 8, $40 to win on 7-Tizmagician.

That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.

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