In this Friday, May 22, 2020 photo, jockeys wearing face masks ride in the first horse race at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
In this Friday, May 22, 2020 photo, jockeys wearing face masks ride in the first horse race at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.|Ashley Landis | Associated Press
Thoroughbreds

Friday at the track: Garrity picks races at Churchill Downs, Laurel Park, Belmont Park, and Santa Anita Park

We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all tracks. First post is 4:46 pm EDT.

Chris Garrity

There’s a good Simulcasting lineup today, with good cards across the country. For today’s plays, we have selected four races, from coast to coast, that go off in the span of about 90 minutes late this afternoon. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them. Let’s go.

Churchill Downs, Race 8, 4:46 pm EDT

Allowance, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

A full field of ten goes to the post in this turf affair for first-level allowance females. We like a lightly raced 4-year-old filly, 7-Eternal Peace. She returned from a long layoff, over a year, to win her last race and break her maiden, at Gulfstream Park on April 19. She showed a very impressive turn of foot in that effort, closing from mid-pack to win by a head. She’s the best-bred turf horse we’ve seen this week, by War Front out of a Galileo mare, and considering her pedigree and how she won her last race, the sky appears to be the limit for her. We think she can get a good trip here, running in mid-pack early, and then blowing away the other runners with another late move. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 8, $40 to win on 7-Eternal Peace.

Laurel Park, Race 9, 4:55 pm EDT

Allowance 1 mile, Dirt, 3 & Up

Ten go in this first-level allowance. 6-Buddy’s Run is a strong play: he’s got an edge in speed figures, and he’s got a pace-pressing style that should suit him well in this one-turn mile. Look for him to stalk the pace early, move to the front on the far turn, squirt clear at the top of the stretch, and hold off the closers late. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Laurel Park, Race 9, $35 to win on 6-Buddy’s Run.

Belmont Park, Race 10, 6:08 pm EDT

Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, Turf, 3 & Up

This is a good maiden race at 6 furlongs on the turf; it drew a full field of twelve. We’re going with a first-time starter, and a big price, in 5-Arkaan. He’s a 3-year-old, and we think he’s live first out because of his pedigree -- sire Into Mischief is good at siring horses who can win at first asking -- and also because of his trainer, Michael Pino, is an ace (31% win rate on the year) with firsters. Arkaan has been working steadily and well on the deep racing surface at Parx in suburban Philadelphia, so he should be fit and ready for this. We also think that the six furlong distance will suit him well, as will running on grass. At 20-1, we will bet him to win and to place. The bets: Belmont Park, Race 10, $25 to win / $15 to place on 5-Arkaan.

Santa Anita Park, Race 6, 6:13 pm EDT

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

This first-level allowance/optional claimer drew a field of six. It may not be the boldest selection we ever make, but 9/5 morning line favorite 3-Kookie Gal is a very strong play. She’s lost at this level in each of her last three races, which would normally be an enormous red flag, but she’s come close in all of them -- her largest margin of defeat was 3 ¼ lengths -- and she had the misfortune of running into some pretty salty runners in those races. This field is the easiest she’s faced in a long, long time, and that is going to result in a trip to the winner’s circle for Kookie Gal. We will bet her to win at 9/5. The bet: Santa Anita Park, Race 6, $40 to win on 3-Kookie Gal.

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