Garrity's Sunday Stakes picks races at Woodbine, Monmouth and Belmont Park, with American Pharoah colt American Monarch running in Toronto
American Pharoah son American Monarch, winning his debut race August 8 at Saratoga. He's racing today at Woodbine.NYRA / Chris Rahayel

Garrity's Sunday Stakes picks races at Woodbine, Monmouth and Belmont Park, with American Pharoah colt American Monarch running in Toronto

Garrity's first post is at 4:29 pm EDT and all four races go off within an hour if you want to take a break of football.

The stakes schedule is light today, but we’ve nevertheless managed to cobble together five plays, from New York, New Jersey, and Ontario. Like yesterday, the weather will be sublime for early fall, and the dirt fast and the turf firm. All four of these go off in about an hour’s time, so it will be a good way to get some action without waiting around too long between races. Let’s go.

Woodbine, Race 7, 4:29 pm ET
Grade 1 Summer Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 2-Year-Olds

The Summer Stakes drew a field of seven to run a mile on Woodbine’s sweeping turf course, and the race is a doozy: This is the best field of juveniles we’ve seen in a while, maybe the best we’ve seen all year. There are some extraordinarily well-bred, and expensive, colts in this group.

We like the horse with perhaps the most glittering pedigree: it’s 5-American Monarch, who’s by American Pharoah out of a mare by all-time great turf sire Giant’s Causeway. Even better than the pedigree was his lone career start, where he won a pretty tough maiden race on the Travers undercard at Saratoga on August 8. He looked like a runner that day, closing into a very slow pace to win by a smart half-length. He’s trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, and that’s another factor here: Mott does not win at an especially high rate with first-time starters, and that American Monarch won his first start anyway is a sign that he might be something pretty special. We will bet him to win at 9/2. The bet: Woodbine, Race 7, $40 to win on 5-American Monarch.

Monmouth Park, Race 10, 4:41 pm ET
Grade 3 Salvator Mile, 1 mile, Dirt, 3 & Up

A very good field of eight lines up for the Salvator Mile at the Jersey Shore. With very little appearing to separate the top contenders, we’re going with a runner we think looks ready to improve: it’s 4-Top Line Growth, who ships to Monmouth after winning an allowance race at Laurel Park on August 14. He earned a very good speed figure that day, but what we like even more than that was the fact that he stalked a very fast pace, and finished strongly: This is usually a sign of a horse who is in peak form. We also like that his last race was his first after a layoff of nearly a year, and he may be ready to run even better today with that race under his belt. Top Line Growth seems to have more upside than the rest of the field, and at 7/2, that makes him the play. We will bet him to win. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 10, $40 to win on 4-Top Line Growth.

Belmont Park, Race 9, 5:14 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Eight females line up for this second-level allowance turf sprint. The pick is 9-Olendon, who start for trainer Chad Brown. She’s burned a lot of money in her last few starts, finishing second in three straight races, including two as the prohibitive favorite, and while we generally dislike these kinds of “sucker horses,” against this group, she just appears to be too good to lose. She should get a good trip from her outside post position, just behind the pacesetters, and move to the front when the field straightens out for home. We will bet her to win at 9/5. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 9-Olendon.

Woodbine, Race 9, 5:35 pm ET
Grade 1 Natalma Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 2-Year-Old Fillies

Two races after the boys run in the Summer Stakes, the girls get their turn in the one-mile Natalma. We’re all in on morning line favorite 5-Alda, who’s won two of three career starts for trainer Graham Motion, including a very game effort taking the Catch a Glimpse stakes on the Woodbine turf on August 23. He showed a very strong finishing kick in that race, and that race, like prior two, were at a shorter distance than today, both his late-charging running style and his pedigree have us thinking that he will handle the stretch out to a mile very capably. Look for him to be toward the rear early, and passing horses late. We will bet him to win at 9/5. The bet: Woodbine, Race 9, $50 to win on 5-Alda.

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

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