Garrity's Saturday stakes picks the Belmont Oaks plus three classy turf races at Woodbine
It feels like fall today here on the East Coast, with morning temperatures just over 40 degrees, and it looks like fall on the racing calendar, with Belmont Park’s championship meet underway, and a big race on the autumn stakes calendar, the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, on the docket in suburban Toronto.
We’re embracing our love of fall with plays in four stakes races today, all on turf, and we expect firm going in all of them. Let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 5, 3:04 pm ET
Grade 1 Belmont Oaks, 1 ¼ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies
Six go in this Grade 1 race at 10 furlongs on the grass. The headliner is 2-Magic Attitude, an English-bred filly with a glittering pedigree, who is coming out of some very, very classy races in France. She might have been 30-1 in her last start, but it was the Prix de Diane at Chantilly in France, one of Europe’s premier turf races, and the fact that she was good enough even to get to the starting gate in it makes her tower over the rest of this very modest group.
She’d probably be a play just based on that level of class, but we think she’s even better than that. The Euro imports that excite us the most are those who have been running on soft turf over there: the thinking is that sharp connections will send them to the U.S. to get the truly firm turf they almost never get in Europe. Magic Attitude looks like that kind of runner to us, as all six of her career starts were over boggy ground, and if she is even better on firm grass today than she was on soft grass in France, then she will demolish this field. We think she will, so we will bet her to win at even money -- and we will do so aggressively. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 5, $75 to win on 2-Magic Attitude.
Woodbine, Race 7, 4:27 pm ET
Grade 2 Singspiel Stakes, 1 ¼ miles, Turf, 3 & Up
Ten go in the Singspiel, and in a wide open, terrific betting race, we like 9-Nakamura. He’s a Graham Motion trainee and a deep closer, and like all deep closers, he needs a pace to close into, but we think he will get it here, as there are a couple of runners with some early speed. We see him sitting well back early, and flying late, and will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Woodbine, Race 7, $40 to win on 9-Nakamura.
Woodbine, Race 9, 5:39 pm ET
Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile, 1 mile, Turf, 3 & Up
This race has long been a top prep for the Breeders Cup Mile, and it’s also been a target for top European horses and trainers, so it’s odd to see that there aren’t any in this year’s field: Because of the pandemic, they’re not allowed to ship to Canada. All eight of the entrants are based either in the U.S. or Canada.
1-March to the Arch is the pick, and it’s a strong one: He’s in good form, having won the Grade 2 King Edward last out, he loves Woodbine, with two wins in two starts on its turf course, and most important, we think the shape of the race will favor him, as he’s a stretch runner, and on paper the pace looks to be fast enough to set up his late run. Look for him to be toward the rear early, and flying late. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Woodbine, Race 9, $40 to win on 1-March to the Arch.
Woodbine, Race 10, 6:14 pm ET
$135,000 Woodbine Cares Stakes, 5 furlongs, Turf, 2-Year-Old Fillies
This race looks like it will have a lightning-fast early pace, and a lot of juvenile fillies gasping for air late, which makes the pick 5-Souper Munnings, who starts for trainer Mark Casse. She’s got a win and a second in two career races, and earned competitive speed figures in each of them, and while both of those starts were over a synthetic racing surface, both her pedigree and Casse’s record suggest that she will take to the turf just fine. Look for her to stalk, sitting just behind the early leaders, and to move to the front in deep stretch. We will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Woodbine, Race 10, $40 to win on 5-Souper Munnings.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.