Sunday at the track: Garrity picks the Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga, and the Graduation Stakes & Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar
We have plays in three stakes today: a rare dirt marathon at Saratoga, and two good stakes at Del Mar. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them. Let’s go.
Saratoga, Race 9, 5:46 pm EDT
$100,000 Birdstone Stakes, 1 ¾ miles, Dirt, 4 & Up
We don’t see many races at a mile and three quarters on the dirt, and consequently most of these older horses have never run this far. But there is one entrant who not only has not only done so but has won at the distance: it’s 4-Rocketry, who won the 2018 Breeders Cup Marathon at Churchill Downs. That makes him the pick. Look for him to sit mid-pack, behind what figures to be the slowest pace you’ll ever see in a dirt race, and to grind his way to the front around the last turn. We will bet him to win at 7/2. The bet: Saratoga, Race 9, $40 to win on 4-Rocketry.
Del Mar, Race 3, 6:00 pm EDT
$100,000 Graduation Stakes, 5 ½ furlongs, Dirt, California-bred 2-Year-Olds
Seven state-breds go in the Graduation. We like a first-time starter, 6-Scooby. While he’s not run in a race before, his morning workouts have been very fast, and he’s by a stallion, Fast Anna, who is good at siring first-out winners. He also gets an outside post position, which is an advantage. In a field where the colts who have raced before having not run all that face, we’re going with a fresh face. We will bet Scooby to win at 5-1. The bet: Del Mar, Race 3, $40 to win on 6-Scooby.
Del Mar, Race 10, 9:30 pm EDT
Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
The pace of the Hirsch, the day’s lone graded stakes, looks fast, which makes 2-1 morning line favorite 3-Hard Not to Love the pick. The John Sheriffs-trained 4-year-old filly should get a good trip just behind the pacesetters, and from that stalking position, be able to move to the front at the top of the stretch. She’s hit the board in all eight of her career starts, and we think she is going to become a Grade 1 winner in this spot. We will bet her to win. The bet: Del Mar, Race 10, $50 to win on 3-Hard Not to Love.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.