On a busy Sunday, Garrity picks stakes and derbies at Monmouth, Santa Anita, Remington, and Century Mile — including the Tokyo City Cup
In this Friday, May 22, 2020 photo, bugler Jay Cohen blows "Call to the Post" to the empty grandstand, a tradition maintained for those watching via simulcast, during a day of horse racing at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Ashley Landis | Associated Press
On a busy Sunday, Garrity picks stakes and derbies at Monmouth, Santa Anita, Remington, and Century Mile — including the Tokyo City Cup
First picked race, the 1st at Monmouth Park, has a post time of 12:50 pm ET

In horse racing, Sundays are usually much quieter than Saturdays, and while there aren’t quite as many stakes races today as there were yesterday, there are still plenty to keep a dedicated railbird busy. We have plays in five of them, at four different tracks from one end of the North American continent to the other, and from early in the afternoon to late at night. It’s an all-day, all-stakes, all-dirt lineup today, and we expect a fast track in all five of these races. Let’s go.

Monmouth Park, Race 1, 12:50 pm ET

$75,000 Smoke Glacken Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Olds

Monmouth Park runs one stakes race today, and they quite unusually card it as the first race on the program. It’s the Smoke Glacken, which features a half-dozen juveniles sprinting six furlongs. We’re going with a pure speed play: it’s 2-Basso, a son of Cairo Prince who won his career debut at Monmouth on August 23 in wire-to-wire fashion. He’s got a pretty significant edge in early zip over the other runners, and he’s got an inside post, which means he’ll have to use it, so it’s a mortal lock that Basso will get the early lead, and we think he’s going to stay there all the way around Monmouth’s speed-favoring main track. We will bet him to win at 7/2. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 1, $20 to win on 2-Basso.

Santa Anita Park, Race 8, 7:12 pm ET

Grade 2 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up

Only five go here, and we’d normally pass on this race for that reason, as the mechanics of the parimutuel wagering system and short fields are a poor mix. Nobody likes to bet on a race where the favorite is 3/5, the second choice is even money, and three horses who appear to have no chance are between 3-1 and 6-1.

But the Santa Anita Sprint Championship is a good betting race, despite the short field, because the runners are so evenly matched. One could make a pretty good argument for each of the five -- in fact, the one we like, 2-Desert Law, is the longest shot on the board at a juicy 8-1. We like him for two reasons: he has by far the most early speed, and will be in front early, and he also has shown an affinity in the past for the Santa Anita dirt course. His recent races have been pretty lousy, but they were at Del Mar, and we think that coming back to a surface he likes, Desert Law just may get brave on the lead, and take this race on the front end. With the other entrants likely to get more attention from bettors, we also think he’s a better wagering proposition. We will bet him to win. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 8, $40 to win on 2-Desert Law.

Remington Park, Race 10, 8:12 pm ET

Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

A competitive field of nine 3-year-old colts lines up for the Oklahoma Derby. We like 5-Shared Sense, who will run in his third consecutive Derby today. He won the Indiana Derby two back, but finished 5th in his most recent race, the Ellis Park Derby. We’re willing to draw a line through that last race, partly because nobody was beating Art Collector that day, and partly because Shared Sense is a closer, and the shape of the race favored speed. There appears to be enough early speed in the field here to set up Shared Sense’s late charge, so we think he’s headed to the winner’s circle to get his picture taken. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Remington Park, Race 10, $40 to win on 5-Shared Sense.

Santa Anita Park, Race 10, 8:14 pm ET

Grade 3 Tokyo City Cup, 1 ½ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up

Seven go in the Tokyo City, a rare stakes race at twelve furlongs on the dirt. Evidence of how seldom races are run at this distance can be found in the past performances of the horses: the seven have a combined zero starts at a mile and a half on dirt. So, there’s some guesswork -- OK, a lot of guesswork -- in doping out which one can handle the distance.

With most of the entrants having established form, we’re going with a lightly raced 3-year-old who appears to have some upside: it’s 7-Azul Coast, who starts for trainer Bob Baffert. He has been a cut below the top 3-year-olds, in both California and in Baffert’s loaded barn, but he has both the pedigree and running style that to us suggest that he will thrive going long on the dirt. He’s a plodder, a grinder, and these kinds of horses usually do better in these long dirt races than horses with a flashier turn of foot. And perhaps most important, he’s not going to have to be the second coming of Seattle Slew to win here, as the rest of the field looks decidedly pedestrian. At 8-1, we think he’s a good pick and an even better wagering proposition. We will bet him to win. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 10, $40 to win on 7-Azul Coast.

Century Mile, Race 10, 11:55 pm ET

Grade 3 Canadian Derby, 1 ¼ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

The Canadian Derby, run at Century Mile Racetrack in Edmonton, drew a deep field of eleven. The pick is all the way on the outside, 11-Mongolian Wind. He’s a Kentucky-bred who started his career in Southern California for trainer Enebish Ganbat but was relocated to the Great White North at the beginning of the summer, and has done quite well there, with two straight wins in minor stakes at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg. He will have to improve to take this, as the competition is stiffer than he’s been facing, but as he’s a lightly raced colt with a good pedigree, we think he’s capable of moving forward today. He may or may not be the Phar Lap of the Canadian Prairies, but we think he’s good enough to take the prize here. We will bet him to win at 9/2. The bet: Century Mile, Race 10, $35 to win on 11-Mongolian Wind.

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

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