Turf racing at Belmont Park
Turf racing at Belmont Park|NYRA

Garrity's Saturday Stakes: The stakes races are at Santa Anita, plus sprint picks at Belmont and and Churchill Downs

First post is 5:04 p.m. EDT.

Howard Gensler

Howard Gensler

With the rescheduled Belmont Stakes just a week away, the stakes schedule is light today. We have four plays (plus two picks in the PDJFund Charity Contest), allowance races at Belmont Park and Churchill Downs, and two minor stakes at Santa Anita. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them. Let’s go.

Belmont Park, Race 8, 5:04 pm ET

Allowance, 6 furlongs, Dirt, New York-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

This first-level state-bred allowance drew a full field of twelve. The play is 9-Behind the Couch. She’s a lightly-raced 4-year-old filly who has run well in all of her six career starts, and while she’s won only one of them, she’s been facing much, much tougher competition than she will face today. Look for her to get a pace-pressing trip from her outside post, and to win this one going away. We will bet her to win. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 9-Behind the Couch.

Churchill Downs, Race 10, 5:50 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies

A full field of fourteen sophomore fillies lines up for this first-level allowance dirt sprint. We like 2-Figure of Speech, who comes from the Chad Brown barn. She won her career debut, as a juvenile, in July at Saratoga, and was impressive enough doing so that she was thrown into the deep end of the pool next out, finishing third in the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes, also at Saratoga, on September 1. She’s been away since, but Brown is good at winning with horses coming off layoffs, and this filly appears to have a world of potential. Look for her to stalk from her inside post, and to move to the front at the top of the stretch. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 10, $35 to win on 2-Figure of Speech.

Santa Anita Park, Race 6, 6:34 pm ET

$100,000 Thor’s Echo Handicap, 6 furlongs, Dirt, California-breds 3 & Up

The field for the Thor’s Echo came up short, with only five runners, but we think we can grind out a profit with the favorite, 1-Desert Law. He’s got an edge in speed figures and high early speed, and he’s coming off an excellent runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Crosby at Del Mar. That race was last summer, so he’s coming off a layoff, but he’s been sizzling in recent morning workouts, which suggests that he is cranked up for this. We will bet him to win at 6/5. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 6, $40 to win on 1-Desert Law.

Santa Anita Park, Race 8, 7:38 pm ET

$75,000 Angel’s Flight Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies

Five go in the The Angels’ Flight. We like the 5/2 second choice, 1-Gingham, who starts for Bob Baffert. She’s run eight times in her career, and while they’ve all been in longer races at a mile or more, we think she’ll thrive sprinting. She has decent tactical speed in a race that doesn’t have much of it, so we think she will get an ideal stalking trip from her rail post. At 5/2, Gingham is the play. We will bet her to win. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 8, $35 to win on 1-Gingham.

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

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